Nairobi, Kenya: 1st April, 2014 - Transparency International Kenya strongly opposes the effort by Kiharu MP, Irungu Kang’ata to amend Section 48 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act to impose the death penalty on those who are found guilty of corruption. While we appreciate the zeal of the MP, we find it misdirected and diversionary.
Our position is informed by two reasons. First, the imposition of the death penalty for any offence has been a divisive issue in Kenya. Even though the death penalty is still in our statute books, there is very strong sentiment against it. So strong are these sentiments that despite the legality of the death penalty in our laws, no one has been executed for any offence in Kenya since 1984. There exists an effective moratorium on executions that tilts the balance in favour of those against the death penalty in Kenya.
Secondly, the debate on the death penalty unnecessarily diverts attention from the important work of strengthening our justice system to ensure there are no gaps that the corrupt use to escape justice. So far, the frustration of many Kenyans is that there are very few people who are being held to account successfully through the legal system. The effectiveness of any legal system is founded not on the extremity of the sanctions thereof, but on the consistency of enforcement. There is very little utility in allowing for extreme sanctions even if the seemingly lenient ones are hardly delivered. The sanctions for corruption in our statute books if stringently enforced, coupled with upholding the principle of equality before the law are sufficient in helping Kenya succeed in fighting corruption.
We thank and welcome Hon. Irungu Kang’ata’s concern to strengthen the legislative framework for the fight against corruption but disagree that we should pursue the death penalty for offenders at all. We urge him to drop the quest and invite him for a discussion on how the fight against corruption in Kenya should be strengthened.
Samuel Kimeu Executive Director
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