Uproar over Anne Waiguru probe at NYS exposes political storm in Jubilee

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru
The image of a coalition united under the iron fist of its two principals has been shattered of late by various sub-plots emerging within the Jubilee government.

The uproar over an investigation initiated by Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, into possible fraud in the National Youth Service has blown the lid on political storms brewing inside the Government.

With diverse political interests at play, the saga rekindles another controversy involving the CS a year ago that shook the Jubilee government to the core. In June last year, it reportedly took the intervention of President Uhuru Kenyatta's close aides to have a censure motion against Waiguru, for which over 170 MPs had signed up to, and which had caused anxiety in Government, dropped at the last minute.

But the aftershocks of that futile Motion are being felt to date after Deputy President William Ruto's chief of staff Marianne Kitany was forced out of office to allow investigations on claims she diverted Sh100 million from the Legislative and Inter-Governmental Relations Office to mobilise MPs in the abortive campaign to censure Waiguru.

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The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) dossier that the President submitted to Parliament in March claimed MPs were bribed to back the ouster motion, but Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi who failed to show up in the House to move the motion, claims President Kenyatta's aide Jomo Gecaga and Solicitor General Njee Muturi pushed him to drop it.

Investigations on what exactly happened are underway, but Waiguru finds herself in another firefight linked to spending of billions allocated to the National Youth Service (NYS).

Waiguru has said she invited the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to investigate reported irregular activities involving over Sh800 million on the electronic platform, Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS), in the NYS.

Step aside

The CS has insisted no money was lost, but a wave of criticism ensued, headed by the Opposition which demanded that she step aside to allow investigations.

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Sunday, nine TNA MPs from Nairobi and the larger Mount Kenya region claimed the Opposition was alleging corruption at the Devolution ministry as part of a smear campaign to discredit the NYS programme that is changing the face of informal settlements in urban areas of Nairobi and Kisumu, among others.

The Opposition is jittery about the NYS youth initiatives that have engaged youths in slums in its strongholds in Kibera, and Kisumu, interpreting it as a ploy by Jubilee to secure votes for 2017 elections and discredit the ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau called the attacks on Waiguru pure "propaganda aimed at discrediting the NYS programme of transforming informal settlements."

He said Jubilee would "stand by Waiguru and not allow her name dragged in corruption where she is not involved."

Mount Kenya Parliamentarians Group chairman Dennis Waweru challenged former Prime Minister Raila Odinga to account for the Kazi Kwa Vijana initiative that was run by his office when he was in the Grand Coalition Government with President Kibaki.

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"We want to ask Raila where did the money for the Kazi Kwa Vijana meant for the youths during the Grand Coalition Government go to?" Waweru asked.

MPs Waweru, Kamau, Benson Mutura (Makadara), Ndirangu Waihenya (Roysambu), Samuel Gichigi (Kipipiri), Priscilla Nyokabi (Nyeri), Rachel Shebesh (Nairobi), Esther Gathogo (Ruiru), John Njoroge (Kasarani) spoke after a church service at Githurai Catholic Church in Nairobi.

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria separately said it was ironical for the Opposition to call for the sacking of Waiguru who had invited police to probe the alleged fraud.

"I think CORD is looking for politics to play. They have been talking about Okoa Kenya, corruption and now it’s Waiguru. Waiguru has changed Kibera," Kuria said.

And four MPs from Kakamega County also told Raila to stop criticising Waiguru as she has done a great job to improve the lives of Kibera residents through the NYS.

SEE ALSO :Anne Waiguru reshuffles Cabinet

Lugari MP Ayub Savula said that in the 20 years that Raila was an MP, nothing happened in Kibera but he is now calling for the sacking of Waiguru whose performance in upgrading the slum is exemplary.

"Hon Raila Odinga should be the last one to criticise Waiguru. In the past one year she has done in Kibera what the former Prime Minister could not do in 20 years," Savula said at a Press conference held at the United Kenya Club in Nairobi Sunday morning.

Savula was accompanied by MPs Bernard Shinali (Ikolomani), Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo) and Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East). The four MPs were once allies of Raila.

They added that the Opposition leader should allow the government to conclude ongoing probe on corruption.

"Let investigations be carried out and anyone found culpable be shown the door. We are also saying that if there are skeletons in Waiguru's office, let investigators establish that and then she is charged if found culpable," Washiali said.

But United Republican Party's (URP's) Baringo North MP William Cheptumo insisted that thorough investigations should be carried out to establish if the payments made by NYS to contractors were made for services that were actually rendered.

Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetang'ula took to twitter to demand Waiguru's resignation saying, "Waiguru must step aside to give way to investigations. No sacred cows Mr President."

ODM MPs John Mbadi, Opiyo Wandayi, Fred Outa, Syllvance Osele and Andrew Toboso kept up the pressure insisting Waiguru must step aside to pave the way for investigations.

Wandayi questioned why Waiguru only came out to talk about the matter after public uproar. "Uhuru should tell Kenyans what is going on," said Mbadi, the ODM chairman.

"Remember they started by replacing Kiplimo Rugut with Nelson Githinji, a home boy at NYS which was well choreographed," said Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale.

"We should first get facts before condemning anyone. We do not want to be seen as fighting women as has been portrayed of late on what is happening to women in power. So let us take time to study facts and get them right before making a decision on what should be done," Sotik MP Joyce Laboso.

URP chairman Bare Shill (Fafi) said both TNA and URP should share a collective responsibility but said judging the embattled Devolution CS was wrong.

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Anne WaigurucorruptionNational Youth Service (NYS)