Kenya ex-prosecutor withdraws from presidential race citing campaign finances

Philip Murgor (Credit: UDM Kenya)

A prominent Kenyan lawyer and former director of public prosecutions under the Mwai Kibaki government has dropped out of the presidential campaign less than five months after declaring his bid.

Philip Murgor was running on a United Democratic Movement Party ticket with promises of cracking down on corruption, ending “ethnic exclusion,” and economic mismanagement.

In a statement on the UDM party website yesterday, Murgor decried the state of the ongoing presidential contest saying, “The presidential campaign in Kenya is largely driven by negative tribalism.”

During his presidential bid, he said, “I was repeatedly asked the simple question about where I would obtain the required support from a tribal base, and whether I had the billions of shillings required, to throw around in the countryside.”

Murgor cited lack of campaign finances as a factor in his decision to withdraw his candidacy saying, “to conduct campaigns for several months is unsustainable”

“Tragically, most Kenyans do not financially support political causes, and only do so when it appears likely to be successful. Matters have been further complicated by the ever-changing IEBC [electoral commission] timelines, making it difficult to plan or budget for a campaign,” he explained.

Murgor also complained that he had asked the Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett for an armed bodyguard, both as a former public prosecutor and presidential candidate, but the latter declined to consider the issue until after filing of nomination papers in May 2017.

The former prosecutor says he was concerned about not having police protection due to “the current violent nature of campaigns” and that this affected his ability to traverse the country to rally citizens. Murgor says he will reconsider a bid again for the next presidential elections in 2022.6404db_6e3f48f70feb4c01b8f386985a49b093~mv2_d_2000_1335_s_2

Working as an investigator for Kenya’s central bank, Philip Murgor played a role in the 1990s in the unraveling the Goldenberg scandal and recovering billions lost in the scam.

His success in the case led to his appointment in 2003 as Director of Public Prosecutions, a post he held for two years. Murgor has also worked in private practice and served as the chairman of Wildlife Direct Kenya (WLD) and was part of the team that initiated the Hands Off Our Elephants Campaign to help save endangered animals from poachers.