Exposed

‘Wash Wash’, Drug Lords Could Fill Up Next Parliament, CS Matiang’i Warns

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Interior CS Fred Matiang’i has asked agencies clearing candidates for the August 9 polls to tighten the standards or criminals could overrun Parliament.

Matiang’i said money launderers and other criminals were taking advantage of lax financial regulations to manipulate the electoral process.

Speaking on Tuesday at a panel discussion in the NCAJ conference, the CS said intelligence shows up to 40 per cent of aspirants for elective office were commanding rackets of ‘wash wash’, drug trafficking, money laundering and corruption, among other criminal acts.

He said the intelligence showed the alleged criminals were the most popular on the ground, hence stood highest chances of winning those offices.

“We could elevate laundering criminals of unprecedented standards into our elective offices,” he said.

He went on, “We might have criminals as over 40 per cent of elected office holders, if we allow all the ‘wash wash’ gangs and other criminals to bribe their way into the coming elections.”

The CS said the criminals were using their illegitimate money to bribe voters and sway them to clinch their ambitions.

He warned that once in office, the criminals will use their influence to bastardise their offices and compromise investigations into their crimes.

The CS asked the agencies clearing the candidates to tighten the ring and ensure only those who meet the integrity test are allowed to contest. 

Matiang’i said the role should not be left to the electoral agency alone, adding that it requires collaborative working from all the Chapter Six institutions for the vetting to be effective. 

The complaint by the CS follows recent public uproar over clearance of former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko by Wiper party to vie for Mombasa governorship. 

Sonko had been impeached as Nairobi governor over graft and is facing a retinue of corruption-related charges in court. 

IEBC commissioner Abdi Guliye this week said the commission will not clear the former governor to run for the seat, if he has exhausted all his appellate options. 

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati was present during the panel discussion that brought together all players in the criminal justice and elections sector. 

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The commission has said it does not have the legal capacity bar anyone from vying in the coming polls, citing a 2013 court judgement that allowed President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto to vie for presidency despite the duo facing crimes against humanity at the Hague based ICC. 

The court had ruled that the rule of innocence until proven guilty had protected the two and that the electoral agency could not invoke the case to bar them from the ballot. 

The government has identified weak regulations on the amount and source of campaign funds as a major threat to the credibility of the August general election.

The CS also identified abuse of the social media as another worrying source of concerns on election security and credibility.

He expressed frustrations with the process of prosecuting suspects in social media abuse cases and cited the easy access to bonds as a major drawback to discouraging the vice.

“We have the challenge of multiple bonds issued by our courts. Some of the people who have been arrested are enjoying their eighth, ninth or tenth bond. This of course does little to deter others from engaging an army of bloggers to character assassinate others,” he said. 

Matiang’i said the emergence of digitally-driven crimes and the failure to amend relevant laws on intelligence gathering and prosecution was also giving an escape window to repeat offenders. 

To secure the general election, the CS said at least 10,000 specialised officers had been mobilised and deployed under a multi-sectoral approach involving the police, prison officers and wardens from the Kenya Wildlife and Kenya Forest services among others.

He said more officers and equipment would also be made available to the IEBC on need-to basis.


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