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Kibaki’s bloated list of dumped friends

BUSINESS
By | October 4th 2009

Standard Reporters

Aaron Ringera, former KACC Director

President Kibaki chose Ringera to lead his zero-tolerance on corruption pledge soon after his election in December 2002. Prior to his appointment to the plum job where he pocketed a whopping Sh2.5 million salary every month, Ringera had assisted the new Kibaki administration in the abortive radical surgery of the Judiciary where several judges were sacked. The former KACC director brought vast experience from the Court of Appeal and High Court where he served as a judge. Ringera had also headed the defunct Kenya Anti-Corruption Authority. To help Ringera were Fatuma Sichale, who doubled up as his deputy and assistant director (legal services directorate), and Smokin Wanjala as the assistant director (research, education, policy and preventive services).

KACC was criticised for not going for the big fish in the President’s circle, although Ringera tabled reports showing they had investigated Cabinet ministers and top civil servants.

Critics cite the Anglo Leasing scandal in which several top State functionaries were implicated but none convicted as example of the laxity. The scandal threatened to end President Kibaki’s first term prematurely, since all his key men in and outside Government had been adversely mentioned.

When their terms ended this year, the Head of State, afraid that Parliament would strike out Ringera’s name, unilaterally reappointed them to office. The President, however, remained silent as the trio was attacked by all and sundry, leaving only Ringera, Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi and Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo to fight a losing battle. Along the way Kiraitu gave up and only Mutula was left desperately fighting for the embattled team. Unconfirmed reports claimed that State House slammed the doors shut on the KACC team when public opinion turned against them. Ringera and Sichale quit on Wednesday, about a week after Wanjala resigned.

Martha Karua, Gichugu MP

The Iron Lady of Kenyan politics fearlessly guided Kibaki to the presidency and robustly shielded him from his adversaries, early last year. But she is now a mere spectator to the presidential fanfare.

She resigned as Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister in April, citing frustration in discharging her official duties. The resignation came a few days after Kibaki appointed judges without consulting her.

A close ally of the President since their days in DP in the 1990s, Karua has undoubtedly been the President’s strongest supporter since 2002.

She never blinked an eye as she shielded the President from ODM bullets at KICC before the presidential results were declared on December 30, 2007, amid claims of rigging.

But her troubles set in late last year when she declared her 2012 presidential ambitions, prompting a fight back from other members of the Kibaki camp who felt threatened by her ambitions. Instead of supporting her, the President warned against premature campaigns. Sources says things came to ahead when she was denied direct access to State House as her rivals Uhuru Kenyatta regaled in Kibaki’s company.

The Gichugu MP has dedicated her energies on popularising her party, Narc-Kenya.

Samuel Kivuitu, former ECK chairman

He had a sparkling global reputation by December 2007. But after controversially declaring Kibaki the winner of the election and swearing him in darkness, he is today a lone ranger.

That single act swayed the public mood against the ECK and when the commission of inquiry into the conduct of the election returned a guilty verdict against Kivuitu and his team, MPs swung into action demanding the disbandment of the commission. True to form, the President kept quiet and eventually Parliament disbanded ECK, replacing it with Interim Independent Electoral Commission in December last year. The last time he spoke two months ago, Kivuitu said he was writing his memoirs, which could make good reading.

David Mwiraria, ex-Finance Minister

A founder DP member and one of Kibaki’s friends from the Makerere University days, Mwiraria enjoyed one of the coziest relations with Kibaki, first as his student, then his PS at the Treasury and later deputy DP chair. When Kibaki ascended to power, he rewarded the former Imenti North MP with the Treasury’s top job. But Mwiraria’s bright star was stopped in its tracks after he was implicated in the Anglo Leasing scandal, forcing him to resign.

His opponents used the scandal to edge him out of Parliament in the 2007 General Election. Today he is the Kenya Wildlife Service chairman.

John Githongo, former Ethics PS

Kibaki made a policy statement when he appointed him Permanent Secretary for Governance and Ethics in 2003. His prime duty was to lead the war on graft but a few months into his job, Githongo—as quoted in Michela Wrong’s book, It’s Our turn to Eat — discovered he did not have the President’s support against the lords of graft. He resigned in February 2005 and fled to exile in the UK only to return last year. Kibaki has never commented on Githongo publicly.

Mukhisa Kituyi, former Trade Minister

He was the perfect parody to Kibaki. As the ODM wave swept through western Kenya in 2007, Kituyi cheered up the master. Unfortunately, he forgot to campaign for his Kimilili seat, which he lost to a greenhorn. His star dimmed when PNU nominated his nemesis Musikari Kombo to Parliament. Some claim he has turned his energies on farming.

Moody Awori, former Vice-President

He is Kenya’s second sitting Vice-President to lose a parliamentary election, and many people say his biggest mistake, politically, was to stand by Kibaki against an ODM tsunami. Unlike other Kibaki acolytes who complain in public of being scorned, Uncle Moody has kept a studious silence and is involved in many charity activities.

Joseph Munyao, former Livestock minister

Were it not for the former Mbooni MP, DP, the party that President Kibaki founded in 1992, could probably be part of Kenya’s history.

Munyao is the President’s old pal who has stuck with the party since it was founded, and notably, even when the founder himself denounced it in favour of PNU. He is not on the President’s radar currently.

Matere Keriri, former State House Comptroller

When the going was smooth, the former Ndia MP and Kibaki confidant was appointed State House Comptroller in 2002.

But he soon ran out of favour with First Lady Lucy Kibaki and a lot of the misdeeds at State House started being blamed on him.

Before their public spat in 2004 when Lucy declined to shake his hand, the First Lady is said to have demanded his resignation. He was replaced at State House and given a soft landing as executive chairman of the Electricity Regulatory Board from where he made a vain attempt to reclaim his seat in 2007. Not much is known on his whereabouts, but it is definite he keeps his distance from Mama Lucy.

Alfred Getonga, former PA to Kibaki

Thanks to this man, Kibaki rarely picked telephone calls when he was both the chairman of the Democratic Party of Kenya (DP) and as leader of the Official Opposition in Parliament between 1997 and 2002. Getonga was the man to call when one needed to talk to the Othaya MP.

Such was the strength of the bond between Kibaki and his long serving personal assistant. Getonga had also served as a vocal activist for DP since 1991, playing the key role of strategic planning in the 1992 and 1997 campaigns.

But he was unceremoniously dumped from State House after being implicated in the Anglo Leasing scam. He is into business.

Stanley Murage, Kibaki’s former Policy Advisor

He left the State House as mysteriously as he entered. Murage was sent packing in January last year at the height of post-election violence. Just like many other officials sacked before him, State House remains tight-lipped on why he was relieved of his duties.

Little is now known about his engagements since his departure, but the big money is on him running his business empire.

Kalembe Ndile, former Kibwezi MP

Could we get a better disciple of Kibaki in the recent past than this self-declared son of a squatter? Probably not. Kalembe prioritised Kibaki’s re-election campaign at the expense of his own. Today, he might even have forgotten the direction to State House.

Recently he sent the President’s son Jimmy to tell his father "Kalembe is jobless."

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