While he has in recent weeks faced criticism over blunders in the prosecution of Kenya Power officials accused of engaging in graft, DPP Noordin Haji is among public figures who managed to endear themselves to Kenyans in 2018.
Haji became the face of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s renewed war against corruption that dominated headlines throughout the year.
Here are some of the reasons Kenyans became such fans of the DPP appointed in March after Uhuru’s re-election for a second term in 2017.
Going after the ‘Big fish’ in Graft War
2018 saw parastatal heads, Principal Secretaries, former and sitting governors and even a Supreme Court Justice among several others hauled to court to face various corruption charges.
Among the names in the long list are former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, ex-Kenya Power MD Ben Chumo and Agriculture PS Richard Lesiyampe.
Despite the high-profile arrests, his success will, however, be judged on convictions secured which Kenyans expect in 2019.
Friday Arrests of High-Profile Suspects (Kamata Kamata Fridays)
Kenyans in 2018 started anticipating arrests of high-profile corruption suspects to be arraigned in court, coining the term ‘Kamata Kamata Fridays’.
The arrests, mostly on Friday evenings, meant that the suspects were sure to spend entire weekends in police cells.
Some politicians, however, have accused the DPP and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) of seeking to degrade them using arbitrary arrests.
Seeking to Have Corruption Suspects Barred from Holding Public Office
Haji recently moved to court seeking to have corruption suspects barred from holding public office as they could interfere with witnesses, investigations and evidence.
He complained once out on bail, officials would manage to return to their offices and flex their muscles in order to compromise the cases.
He has also consistently opposed bail terms for top suspects in major corruption cases.
Teaming Up With DCI Chief George Kinoti
DCI Chief George Kinoti and DPP Haji have been at the forefront of the renewed war on graft, earning Head of State Commendations (HSC) in the process.
They’ve displayed a good working relationship in co-ordinating investigations, arrests and prosecution of suspects in various cases.
The duo has also reiterated on several occasions the need for collaboration between agencies including theirs and others such as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) for the graft war to be successful.
Helping Kenyans Better Understand the DPP’s Role
Many Kenyans in 2018 observed a stark difference between Haji’s time in office and that of his predecessor, Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko.
It boils down to Haji’s zeal in prosecuting high-profile cases, making him a constant feature in local dailies’ front-pages.
The DPP’s office also kept Kenyans engaged constantly updating them on the progress of several investigations and ongoing cases.