Interior Cabinet Secretary, Fred Matiang’i has warned that money launderers and other criminals could flood Parliament after the 2022 general elections.
He also expressed worry with regards to the frail regulations surrounding the campaign funds, especially the amount and source which could hurt the credibility of the polls.
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Speaking during the 2nd National Conference on Criminal Justice Reforms in Naivasha, Nakuru County on Tuesday, May 10, Matiang’i noted that the crooks were taking advantage of the vulnerable financial regulations to influence the election process.
In simple terms, the country risks having a large number of criminals in Parliament who can buy their way into their seats with proceedings from criminal activities.
“We could end up laundering criminals of unprecedented standards into our elective offices. We might have over 40 per cent of elected office holders becoming our leaders if we allow all the ‘wash wash’ gangs and other criminals to bribe their way in the coming elections,” he warned.
He also cautioned on the emergence of digitally-driven crimes and the failure to amend relevant laws on intelligence gathering and prosecution which was also giving an escape window to repeat offenders.
He also expressed frustrations regarding the process of prosecuting suspects roped in social media abuse cases and cited the easy access to bonds as a big hurdle 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 added.
Also, he identified the abuse of social media as another worrying source of concern on election security and credibility.
Matiang’i however excused the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from blame for the weak regulatory framework on campaign financing saying an ideal stringent legal administration would need a multi-sectoral approach.
The National Assembly recently amended the Elections Act to delete sections that sought to limit the amount of money that could be spent by political parties and candidates while canvassing various electoral positions.
The meeting was attended by the Chief Justice Martha Koome, the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, the Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai, the Commissioner-General of Prisons Brig (Rtd) John Warioba, National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) chair Rev Samuel Kobia and DCI boss George Kinoti and senior judges among others.
In terms of security, the CS said at least 10,000 specialised officers had been mobilized and deployed under a multi-sectoral approach involving the police, prison officers and wardens from the Kenya Wildlife and Kenya Forest services among others ahead of the elections.