Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has warned that more fraudsters could make their way to Parliament in this year’s General elections.
He referenced ‘Wash Wash’ in particular – a catch-all term for fraud schemes common in Nairobi targeting unsuspecting indviduals with promises of quick, massive cash. Millions have been lost to the schemes which include currency and gold scams.
Matiang’i was speaking at the 2nd National Conference for Criminal Justice Reforms in Naivasha on Tuesday, May 10.
“We could end up laundering criminals of unprecedented standards into our elective offices. We might have over 40 per cent of elected officeholders becoming our leaders if we allow all the ‘wash wash’ gangs and other criminals to bribe their way in the coming elections,” he stated.
His comments came amid a fierce debate on the seeming inability of the electoral and anti-corruption agencies among other bodies to stop individuals with integrity questions looming over them from running for office. The debate has been amplified by the moves of former Governors Mike Sonko and Ferdinand Waititu, both of whom are battling corruption charges in court, seeking to return to office.
Matiang’i however shifted blame away from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), stating that a multi-sectoral approach was needed to strengthen regulatory structures on campaigns including financing and integrity.
The National Assembly recently approved changes to election financing laws, scrapping limits on the amounts candidates can spend in a bid to win various seats.
Wash wash fraudsters have the bucks to sustain campaigns in addition to connections to powerful and influential figures. Many Kenyans fear that they might be on the ballot in a bid to protect their loot.