By Eliud Owalo
The belated resignation of former Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning Ms. Anne Waiguru is most welcome.
For the past few months, there has been hue and cry from the wider Kenyan Public that the Ministry of Devolution and Planning at the helm of which she sat has been the fulcrum and otho-centre of corruption in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Government.
Most disturbing was the wanton siphoning-out of a whopping Ksh.791 Million from the National Youth Service (NYS) through fraudulent Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS) transactions. There was also the glaring purchase of mundane items, including “customized” condom dispensers, by the Ministry at highly exorbitant prices.
In the interest of the public, her departure from the Ministry by way of resignation, although coming too late in the day, can therefore only be termed as good riddanc
It however, remains of great concern and conspicuously alarming that Waiguru is expected to appear in Court as a State witness against her hitherto junior officers, namely PS Eng. Peter Mangiti and the former NYS DG Nelson Githinji,amongst others.
The last time I checked, the 2010 Kenyan Constitution conferred Executive Powers within line Ministries on Cabinet Secretaries. The implication is that any acts of omission or commission within the Ministry and/or its departments lies squarely on the table of the respective Cabinet Secretary. It was therefore largely expected by the wider Kenyan public that Waiguru would be in the dock as a key suspect as opposed to merely being camouflaged as a State witness in the criminal case/s.
More appalling is the fact that Ms. Waiguru has asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to “assign her lighter duties” if the head of state deems it fit to do so. The inference one would give to this is that the “assignment of lighter duties” is tantamount to seeking re-deployment in the Public Service. However, this would be a great disservice to the Kenyan Taxpayer who are likely to view it as transfer of a corruption suspect from one public entity to another.
Moroever,it is too early in the day to discern the dimension that the cases in Court will take. Nobody as yet knows the angle of defense or type of evidence that the so called suspects will submit or lay bare in Court.
My position remains that looting of public resources with impunity in total disregard to the principles of Good Governance as well as the dictates of Chapter 6 of the Kenyan Constitution on Leadership and Intergrity; remains unacceptable and can only be termed as a tragedy of epochal dimensions.
In conclusion therefore, my considered position is that so long us the Kenya public remains suspicious of Ms. Waiguru’s role in the NYS scam, among other ills committed in the Ministry of Devolution and Planning, she can not seek re-deployment in the Public Service upon her resignation as Cabinet Secretary. She must wait to be declared innocent by the Sovereign Court of Public Opinion, whose decree should prevail over and above that of any other Court. If however the “lighter duties” Waiguru is seeking is not in the Public Service, it remains the personal and unfettered discretion of Uhuru Kenyatta to assign them, and rightfully so.