By: B M J MURIITHI
Following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s televised address to the nation on Monday, many Kenyans in the diaspora welcomed the raft of measures he announced in an effort to stem the runaway corruption in the country.
While most took to the social media to react to President Kenyatta’s speech, others sent their messages directly to media houses.
Washington DC-based activist Peter Makanga – who has for a while been very critical of the President’s style of leadership – was among the first Kenyans to send a statement to the Nation Monday.
“On behalf of Kenyans for Kenya, USA Chapter, I wish to state that we fully support President Uhuru Kenyatta’s latest effort to rid Kenya of corruption,” the statement read in part.
On Monday, Mr Kenyatta declared corruption a national security threat as he delivered a statement announcing a raft of measures to stem the plunder of the nation’s wealth through fraudulent tenders and other malpractices.
His statement was quickly be greeted by a barrage of online comments, many of them from Kenyans living abroad whose remittances have reclined in the recent past with some raising concerns over the economic situation in the country.
Juliet Kananu, a resident of Birmingham, UK wrote: “At least Mr Kenyatta is no longer living in denial. If unchecked, high level corruption may very well be his waterloo.”
MaritimJ wrote the following on Instagram: “All Kenyans of goodwill must now acknowledge Uhuru’s willingness to take the ugly bull by the horns and support his efforts.”
Njoroge John of Kennesaw, Georgia said: “The guy seems genuine. We’ve bashed him for far too long. Let us now give him a chance.”
@GraceHg was however a little sceptical. “We have heard those statements before. But let us give the President the benefit of doubt this time around,” she said on Twitter.
“We must see convictions and subsequent recovery of the lost billions soon. Otherwise this will just pass as another window-dressing exercise,” said Cape Town-based businessman Jonah Kasuku.
“Corruption is in the very DNA of the country and her people. Tinkering around the edges will not stem its spread,” wrote Washington Osiro on Mwakilishi.com, a US based online publication.
Maggie Marika, an Atlanta-based political commentator wrote: “Those responsible for the wanton looting of public coffers must be charged and the money tracked to mitigate the loss.”
Some, under the hashtag #saynotocorruption, even invoked the Pope’s name in their online comments.
@MosesK wrote: “That’s what you do if you’re planning to seek blessings from a Pope like Francis.”
@MbuguaAnne said: “I get a feeling of Déjà vu. Shortly before the US president visited, Uhuru talked and acted tough albeit momentarily. I hope this is not another PR exercise to hoodwink the Holy Father.
Elsewhere, some of President Kenyatta’s avowed critics welcomed his anti-graft efforts.
Speaking separately on Monday, Dr PLO Lumumba and Mr Okiya Okoiti Omtata said the president had demonstrated that he is serious in the fight against the vice.
“We must be careful not to always whine about what has not been done and yet do nothing about it. We must not be enslaved by history,” Lumumba, a former director of the defunct Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC), told the Voice of America in a phone interview shortly after President Kenyatta delivered his statement.
“Let us give credit where it is due,” said Mr Omtata.
“I feel an unprecedented optimism and goodwill on the part of the President and I sincerely wish him well in this fight,’ he added.