DPP Haji: The Victor Wanyama of the fight against corruption

Written By: Godfrey Okoth
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The popular English Premier League has an array of skillful attacking midfielders gifted in technique and flair who are a joy to watch as they are the core of their teams.

Likewise there are a collection of defensive midfielders, who attract attention not for their skills but for the tackling and breaking down opponents attacks. Their role is to protect the defence and more often than not commit themselves in fouls to break up play.

Kenya has such a player: Victor Wanyama who plies his trade at Tottenham Hotspurs. Nicknamed “The Beast” by his teammates for his strength and aggressiveness, the man from Muthurwa who honed his skills on the streets of Nairobi, is feared by opponents across Europe.

Now imagine you are a corrupt minister, civil servant or business man. For years you have been stealing from the public – a bribe here, a dubious tender there. You know you will never be caught by the law enforcement bodies – you are too clever, too tricky and too connected. You have been doing this for too long, and are always ahead of the game.

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Just like football has Wanyama, there is a new sheriff in town; Noordin Haji the current Director of Public Prosecutions.

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On the surface, the parallels between the two men are few. The son of Garissa Senator and former Minister of Defence Yusuf Haji, Noordin grew up in relative comfort in Garissa. Both men left the country for Europe at a young age, but while Wanyama left for Sweden to begin his professional football career at 16, Noordin departed for Wales to study law, before returning to join the National Intelligence Service.

However when it comes to skills and no-nonsense mindset, the two men are very similar. Tottenham bought Wanyama from Southampton to shore up its midfield.

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Similarly when President Uhuru Kenyatta wanted a new Director of Public Prosecution, to spearhead his anti-corruption drive, he appointed Haji. This was a novel and brave appointment – such that a section of prominent individuals criticized President Uhuru for such an unexpected appointment.

Truth of the matter is President Uhuru was looking for something specific in his new DPP. An uncompromising, incorruptible figure, who would devote his very being to pursuing corrupt officials.

The results have been nothing short of remarkable.

In less than six months, we have seen hundreds of anti-corruption arrests spanning multiple sectors. Haji began his posting by prosecuting the NYS cases, a tough assignment, but after bringing charges against over 50 individuals, he has never looked back.

A sitting and a former County Governor have been arrested, as have the heads of Kenya Power, Kenya Railways, the National Land Commission and many others.

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Just like any tricky midfielder coming up against Wanyama, corrupt officials are now uncomfortably looking over their shoulders.

Some have been critical of Haji’s no nonsense style. He has been criticised for not smiling enough, and MPs have been overheard saying he is ‘bad news’. But just as with opposition players complaining that Wanyama is too physical in his tackles, these criticisms are wide of the mark and must be ignored. That is exactly what they are there to do!

Wanyama’s job is to stop opposition players from creating and scoring goals.

Haji’s job is to stop corrupt officials from defrauding the Kenyan people. Both are excellent at their jobs, and we Kenyans should cherish them.

The views expressed in this article don’t represent KBC’s opinion

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