Dominion versus Raila: Let the truth come out

Extortion claims against former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his family and political associates by the American-owned Dominion Farms offers vital lessons about how not to treat claims that touch on key political figures.

Calvin Burgess, the alleged whistle blower and the Dominion Farms's CEO allegations are those of a seemingly frustrated businessman. According to him, Mr Odinga and his rent-seeking associates have made his life unbearable. From the political tangent the issue has taken, it might be hard to separate truth from lies. Whereas those on the ruling Jubilee side have leapt on the opportunity to get even with the Opposition luminary, Mr Odinga's associates have lined up to defend him, the facts therein notwithstanding.

If nothing is done this will surely degenerate into another circus of political ping pong. At worse, a wild goose chase. Established in 2003, Dominion Farms Ltd has engaged in long grain rice production and fish farming. It is also involved in community-based rice and aquaculture farming. Thousands of farmers around the Yala Swamp are also trained in modern farming techniques.

And so the claims matter more because they are about extortion than because it involves one of the country's senior most politician who could as well be the next President. And what message it sends to those willing to invest their hard-earned capital in our economy.

The only way to stop what is seemingly a peekaboo is to establish the veracity of the claims through a sanctioned investigative process. Calls by the Leader of Majority Aden Duale to have Parliament carry out an investigation sound great but ill-thought-out because it is too much to expect from a deeply divided institution.

Also because the claims border on the criminal, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission should swing into action. It is only just fair for Kenyans to know the truth behind the claims.

An investigative process also accords Mr Odinga with the opportunity to tell his side of the story away from the press conferences. The proof of innocence means he can then seek court redress for character assassination.