By Salim Lone
Speaking in Kirinyaga yesterday, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto claimed that NASA was being financed by a cartel of corrupt businessmen who have been fleecing Kenyan taxpayers.
Ironically, they made this wild and totally unfounded allegation while campaigning for Anne Waiguru, who the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly has recommended be debarred from holding public office.
These allegations were repeated today in Embu.
We are absolutely delighted that the Jubilee leadership itself has placed the subject of corruption so forcefully on our national agenda. It is clearly just not possible for them to deny that such destructive cartels exist and are impoverishing our nation.
Corruption is unfortunately not new in our country. What is new is its breathless and unbounding scope in the last five years.
Such now is the reach, impact and “state capture” by these cartels, Kenyans have come to know how corruption directly leads to the skyrocketing costs of all essential commodities and plunges us into ever deeper indebtedness.
Unable to contain the relentlessly building anger of voters against Jubilee, and staring at electoral defeat in six weeks, Jubilee is now clutching at straws and trying to deflect attention from failures which hang around its neck like the albatross.
NASA has been in the forefront of putting corruption front and centre, joined by scores of other institutions and groups. As we stated in our Manifesto two days ago, corruption is a cancer in our society and a national security threat that exists as a result of impunity.
Addressing it starts where the buck stops, at the Presidency. Whatever corruption currently exists cannot possibly be laid at the feet of the opposition. NASA has no authority nor power to deal with it, not can it prosecute anyone. It is only this government which has abysmally failed at curbing corruption.
Kenyans are suffering acutely from multiple woes which only government can cure BUT HAS NOT.
This failure is grave enough but to now turn corruption into a witch hunt against NASA shows how totally out of touch Jubilee is with reality and what Kenyans believe.
These accusations against NASA have nothing to with NASA, and no accusation has in fact been laid at NASA’s feet! There is no prohibition against political leaders meeting Kenyans and receiving assistance from them if they have no charges against them.
And while we appreciate the support we receive from many people, NASA is not receiving large amounts of money from any one person.
We are supported primarily by taxpayers and contributions by party members and other supporters, including businessmen. If there is evidence against any of these supporters about alleged crimes committed, including on as the Anglo Leasing scandal, why has that person not been charged in court, as has Deepak Kamani and James Magari, among many others?
Indeed, so many other implicated senior officials such as CSs were not prosecuted but just asked to leave office.
Kenyans know that billions of shillings of public resources were looted. There long list includes the NYS, the Sh5.3 billion Afya House scandal, the Eurobond and the Chickengate scandal.
The last struck at the very heart of our democracy and yet its architects roam free while their counterparts in the UK have faced justice.
In recent months, especially in the face of mounting hunger and anger over high food prices, scores of elected leaders have abandoned Jubilee and joined NASA, turning a number of former Jubilee strongholds into swing regions, knowing that Jubilee is thoroughly discredited and will not form the next government.
What is at stake here is, whom do Kenyans trust to fight corruption, but even more important, make food affordable, unite Kenyans into one nation, attend to pressing needs in healthcare, housing and education. Jubilee
Salim Lone is Adviser to the NASA Presidential Candidate Raila Odinga