By Dr. Noah Akala.
My attention is drawn to Presidential Speechwriter Eric Ng’eno’s vitriolic statement to the press yesterday laced with bitter personality attacks against the Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga.
I will remain focused on the bigger picture – which is the deep permeation of corruption in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Administration – and seek to address that as it is. This, to me, is more meaningful to the daily lives of Kenyans.
No matter how warped his memory and grasp of reality is, Eric Ng’eno cannot rewrite history.
The Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga, when he served the Republic of Kenya as Prime Minister, did what President Uhuru Kenyatta has been unable to do; he took decisive and concrete action suspending Prof Sam Ongeri who was the Minister of Education overseeing the pillaging of Free Primary Education funds and now serving as Kenya’s Ambassador to the UN as an appointee of the President and William Samoei Ruto, who then served as the Minister of Agriculture overseeing the alleged maize scandal now serving as the Deputy President.
Ng’eno conveniently fails to recall the printing error at the Ministry of Finance that stood the risk of making Kenyans lose billions of shillings had the vigilant eyes of the Mars Group and other civil society actors not detected it.
Barely one week had passed before the error prone Finance Minister was headed for more trouble following fresh claims that there were new discrepancies amounting to Sh10.7 billion in the revised Supplementary Budget approved by Parliament the previous week.
Mars Group Kenya Chief Executive Mwalimu Mati said in memorandum to the National Assembly that the Budget “remained as erroneous and full of discrepancies as its earlier version.”
In addition to that, there was the single sourcing of the government vehicle tender to a company that his current employer allegedly had an interest in. This came in the form of a directive from the then Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta.
The list of white collar malpractice goes on and on illustrating just how deep the culture of corruption is entrenched in those currently in power. One wonders how the Uhuru Kenyatta of then has changed to become the ardent anti-corruption champion that Ng’eno so professes him to be.
Why did President Kenyatta unilaterally approve the payment of the ghost-owned Anglo Leasing to the tune of hundreds of millions late last year against the resolution of Parliament and the will of the people?
Especially after he had rejected the same payments as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee when he was leader of the Opposition? What has changed?
It is surprising that Ng’eno, a lawyer by profession, would refer to adherence to the law as “splitting legal hairs.”
Any legal mind worth its salt will tell you that you cannot enforce the law by subverting it.
First, there is no provision in the civil service code for “stepping aside.”Â There is only demotion, suspension, interdiction or termination. Kenyans would like to know what Supreme Law the President is guided by as he takes such action.
Secondly, Ng’eno, true to form, forgets that one of the President’s most frequent sound bites in his dealings with the ICC, was the pursuance of due process.
This is why it is so duplicitous for him to now turn around and by-pass constitutionally laid out procedures in purporting to receive a report from an independent statutory body. Contrary to Ng’eno’s misguided idea that he is opposing the fight against corruption, the Rt. Hon Raila Odinga remains the last bastion of hope as the Presidency elects to play politics with the battle against graft.
Kenyans must not be distracted from the real issues. Predictably, fifty eight days down the line, we will see the trooping back of those accused and it will be business as usual in the Uhuru Administration after their political sanitization.
A precedent set by H. E Uhuru Kenyatta himself when he stood aside as Minister of Finance without substantially resigning as Deputy Prime Minister.Â The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Dr. Noah Akala (M.B.Ch.B, MBA, MPA) Secretary, Science and Technology, Orange Democratic Movement.