The renewed vigor in the fight against corruption and the ongoing demolition of structures built on riparian land is all thanks to the mind of none other than the enigmatic Raila Odinga as a close confidant, ally and special advisor to President Uhuru Kenyatta.
He might have lost friends for a just course as he aptly averred, but he has gained a much more valuable person in his knit circle.
Crucially, he has earned the necessary political goodwill he needs to establish a legacy during his final term.
The fight against graft has painted a more vibrant rapport between the President and opposition leader Raila Odinga, the effects of which have trickled down to Nasa co-principals Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula, who have also lauded the efforts.
Within no time, the mood in the nation has changed.
Suddenly, there is optimism in the streets, guarded, though, by the experience of the lessons of history, when such crusades died down as soon as they started.
Still, even the President’s biggest critics have noted with considerable admiration the dedication with which his administration, in his second and last term, is going for corrupt officials and their illegally acquired wealth.
“Let us lose our friends and do what is right in the eyes of God. We shall gain other friends. Let us create a society that respects and treasures hard work and integrity, a nation with a conscience,” he said.
And then he wrapped his message with an ominous promise: “No matter how powerful you think you are, no matter how much money you have, it will not save you now.”
Raila now want public wealth recovered in lifestyle audit and graft purge to be used to fill funding gaps in national development projects and repay Kenya’s huge foreign debt.
“Partly because of wanton theft of public funds, including those from donors, taxes are going up on virtually everything. Ordinary Kenyans must not continue to bear this burden while the corrupt keep their loot,” Mr Odinga said.
“Depriving corrupt actors of this ill-gotten wealth and returning it to the public will support development and economic growth and restore confidence in the current crackdown. Corruption must be made a painful crime.”
The Orange Democratic Movement party leader also challenged the international community, which has been complaining about entrenched corruption in government, to join the crusade and help the country recover the loot stashed in their countries.
“About three months ago, the DPP appealed for the collaboration of the Federal Bureau of Investigations in the fight against corruption. We are anxiously waiting for that support, preferably in more practical ways than routine capacity building and training.
“Already, Switzerland has promised to probe their banks and trace Kenya’s assets and funds hidden there. All our other partners should do the same,” Mr Odinga said.
Mr Odinga credited his political alliance with the President for the renewed effort against corruption, saying corrupt individuals who have been hiding behind the disgraceful armour of ethnicity whenever their integrity was questioned now have nowhere to run or hide.
“The political atmosphere has enabled us to look at our problems minus the usual ethnic lenses. Attempts by suspects to appeal to their ethnic bases have therefore generated near-zero support,” he said.