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President Uhuru Kenyatta must act decisively to wipe out graft

By CHARLES MULILA | February 23rd 2014


Whenever there is a change of regime in Kenya, fresh power brokers inevitably emerge.

Since President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto won last year’s elections, former President Kibaki’s “political orphans” have been running scared for fear of being driven out of town, and for good reason.

These orphans, called by whatever other name including “the kitchen cabinet” control unofficial state largesse through a web of influence peddling, arm-twisting and sometimes sheer blackmail.

It will be recalled that when Kibaki succeeded former President Moi in 2002, the first unofficial mission was to clear the Office of the President of staffers perceived to have been close to Kanu and specifically former President Moi. It must be mentioned for good measure that no proper official handover was done because the incoming officials were in a hurry to take over “and demonstrate how to run a Government….” to paraphrase the words of then powerful Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Kiraitu Murungi.

In the process, the Kibaki Government inherited the “poison laced” Anglo Leasing files, the Goldenberg leftovers, mind-bongling pending construction bills et al.

Make no mistake about it. The handover fiasco was a well-planned machination by crooked merchants who had put their ill-gotten loot to infiltrate the Narc Government. Once the Narc Government officials had dipped their fingers into the till of corruption, there was no turning back. It was truly “their time to eat” and eat they did until former Anti Corruption chief John Githongo spoiled the party.

Ironically, Kibaki had promised during his acceptance speech at Uhuru Park that corruption will “not be a way of life”.

 Fast forward to the UhuRuto Presidency. The President assumed power at a time when a new constitutional dispensation was being rolled out.

The new law, passed with aplomb and promulgated in style leaves the President with little room to maneuver and exercise total control like his predecessors.

But the crooks are yet to be promoted to glory or join priesthood. They are instead stalking the Government to exploit a window through which they can siphon off a few public billions for private use. The President has already accused an unnamed wheeler-dealer, who was fronting a rival consortium for the layout of the Standard Gauge Railway line of attempting to arm-twist his Government after losing out.

Uhuru has also declared in public that some of his OP staff are stealing public money through tenders. He has variously said that they will be dealt with decisively. The public is eagerly waiting for that action that will deal with the impunity of corruption and its associates. Like Kibaki before him, Uhuru inherited a system that needs some re-engineering if not total overhaul.

The writer is a journalist and media consultant. [email protected]

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