Members of the county assemblies have clashed with senators and officers from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) at the ongoing Second Annual Legislative Summit in Mombasa, accusing them of targeting them in corruption cases.
In the meeting being held at Pride Inn Beach Resort, the MCAs accused EACC and the Senate of targeting them and belittling them as illiterate and insignificant in Kenya’s politics.
Speaking during a discussion on legislation in the Senate and county assemblies, the MCAs claimed that when governors and other “big people” are involved in corruption where millions of shillings are lost, they are not investigated.
“But when we are suspected of stealing a little amount, you pursue us to our houses, arrest us arbitrarily and lock us up without any regard,” said Mr Bethwel Mwambu, an MCA from Bungoma.
The MCAs raised their concerns to panellists who included Nyandarua County Speaker Ndegwa Wahome, EACC Commissioner Paul Mwaniki Gachoka, ODPP Director Jacob Ondari and Kisumu Senator Anyang Nyong’o.
Meru Speaker Joseph Kaberia and his Vihiga counterpart Daniel Chitwah Chegenye joined the fray accusing the Senate and EACC of applying selective justice.
“You look down upon us and take us for illiterates who cannot become MPs or even talk in public. Even here you are giving us little time to air our views. This is the problem,” said Mr Mwambu.
Another MCA from Vihiga, Atsiaya Vincent claimed that EACC is prone to “prosecuting only the small fish in your selectivity”.
“When cabinet secretaries steal, the investigations conducted are shallow and all end up being left to go scot-free. It’s not so with us,” he said.
In response, Prof Nyong’o denied that the Senate has been targeting the MCAs, saying that it has summoned quite a number of governors before its disciplinary committee.
Mr Ondari also refuted claims that ODPP targets small fish, saying many governors had been investigated while a number of them are still on the radar of the office.
However, he said MCAs form the bulk of public service officers against whom more complaints have been raised.
Mr Gachoka said the EACC is overwhelmed by the huge number of cases and finds it a major challenge with a staff of only 500.
“We receive 300 complaints daily, 80 per cent of them which come from the counties. They involve MCAs, some governors and the county executive,” said Mr Gachoka.
He said that corruption is a major problem in the country which requires the efforts of all citizens to tackle.
“Unfortunately, whenever corruption is mentioned in this country, all eyes are on the EACC. But we cannot manage it alone.
“Let the MCAs, governors, MPs, senators and the public do their part for we are all duty-bound to kill this dragon in order to make our country better,” he said.