Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta finally threw in the towel and conceded that there was nothing he could do to fight corruption in his Jubilee government and Kenya writ large.
During the "State House Summit On Governance And Accountability", the man whose extensive familial wealth supposedly inoculated him from the scourge that has bedeviled Kenya since his father Jomo opened the government for (personal) business deflected responsibility and accountability for the corruption that is rife in his government to everyone else but himself.
Mr. Kenyatta slammed the Legislature, Judiciary and the Constitution. He even took a shot at an absent John Githongo (the country's first anti-corruption czar who fled the country for fear of his life) and some hapless panelist whose name he allegedly couldn't remember for asking pointed questions. Kenyatta, whose office the buck supposedly stops at, argued that he had "done his part" and asked "people (implicated in corruption scandals) to step aside", supposedly at "great political risk" to himself.
Overlooked in Mr. Kenyatta's self-congratulatory contortion is that his deputy Mr. William Ruto, who has been implicated in more than one scandal DURING his deputy presidency, is still in office.
Also overlooked by the "'good' man surrounded by 'bad' people" is that it took him a lifetime (in political terms) to acquiesce to his Secretary of Planning and Devolution Ms. Anne Waiguru's request for "lighter duties" after yet another round of millions went missing from the department.
The latest episode of gross malfeasance under Mr. Kenyatta's presidency involves the alleged misappropriation of KSh.5Billion (~$50Million) intended for free maternity care in hospitals across the country; a cause near and dear to the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta.
The electronic payment system at the Ministry of Health was manipulated to make double payments to vendors and divert funds to individuals and private companies.
And the clincher?
The individuals and private companies implicated in the scandal are members of the president's immediate and extended family and companies associated with them.
So, with this latest in a long and odious string of scandals since Jubilee took office, even the party faithful are now crying foul. To paraphrase a good friend, the family dog has finally created a hole big enough for the hyena to enter the compound and devour the family livestock! If ever there was an apt metaphor for the Uhuru Kenyatta's stewardship of Kenya over the last 3+ years, this is it.
This article, yet another one detailing corruption and gross malfeasance during President Uhuru Kenyatta tenure, was prompted by a colleague who wanted to know if I was one of those "band of brothers" who thought Opposition Leader Raila Odinga is the answer to corruption in Kenya. Without waiting for my response, the colleague went on to "forewarn" (his very word) me that if my answer was "Yes", then "all (my) credibility and passion for a corruption-free Kenya simply vanishes. Poof!!!!"
It was a sad but telling exchange on corruption in Kenya between two ostensibly intelligent, rational and concerned citizens: It was also an exchange akin to one I had before the ill-fated 2007 Presidential Elections that birthed the post-election violence. In that exchange with a different colleague, I was asked how the-then foreboding Raila win "would benefit me".
In responding to the question re: whether I was one of those who thought RAO was the solution to corruption in Kenya, I offered that were he in office and corruption was its current level, my criticism of Raila would be even more relentless given his self-proclaimed brand. I added that the fact that I had to point out what should have been elemental was a sad commentary on Kenya's political discourse; only made worse by the fact that I had to point that out to someone who typically waxed eloquently about ethics and spirituality repeatedly.
Given his already-implied position re: Raila's ability to fight corruption, my colleague offered a rather Chinua Achebe-esque response and proceeded to congratulate President Kenyatta for doing his job i.e. organizing the summit! On how the illusory and non-existent Raila win of 2007 was going to benefit me, someone else responded bitingly to the questioner: "Why don't YOU tell us how Jomo's and Kibaki's presidency benefitted you?"
The foregoing sequence of exchanges offer a window into the cognitive dissonance that is Kenya's fight against corruption. The scourge, just like tribalism, is fully embedded in the country's DNA. Not surprisingly, President Uhuru Kenyatta has followed in his predecessors' "nyayos" or footsteps and allowed family and friends to partake in "matunda ya uhuru"; an inevitable outcome given the non-existent firewall between political office and business in Kenyan politics. Given the amount of money at stake and the inability of Kenya's nascent, weak and malleable institutions (legislature, judiciary, law enforcement etc.) to act as honest brokers, the reaction of Kenyans to the struggle for the top job offers the textbook definition of projection as well-intentioned people reveal their raison d'etre for pursuing and fighting to retain political office and power.
With Kenya's elections fast-approaching, Uhuru Kenyatta's war on corruption that Mr. Githongo calls the "theatre of the absurd" and his myriad other failures have not compelled a tipping point of Kenyans to look for leadership outside their ethnic cocoon; away from a government led by scion of a dynasty whose patriarch created a hole in the fence for his progenies to engorge themselves.
"Because "Raila will "nefa" be president".
By Washington Osiro | firstname.lastname@example.org