CORD, Jubilee leaders react to Cabinet Secretary’s resignation and call for credible probe

KENYA: There were mixed reactions following the resignation of Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru Saturday.

Leaders from the Opposition and the ruling Jubilee coalition, some who had publicly asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to fire the minister on account of corruption allegations levelled against her, reacted immediately the embattled CS bowed out. 

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka welcomed Waiguru’s resignation, saying he has nothing personal against her.

“We welcome her resignation but this government is suffering from a systemic corruption. The Devolution Ministry should be scrapped because it has been used to kill devolution, weaken the opposition through inducing MPs with dubious projects and in the process compromising integrity.”

Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter said his prayers had been answered.

Speaking at Eldoret International Airport, a jubilant Keter said Waiguru had taken a bold step.

“My prayer and that of many Kenyans have been answered,” he said. He added: “It is a relief for even us MPs who have lately found ourselves in an awkward position while fighting graft through the National Assembly.”

Senators Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma), Wilfred Machage (Migori), Mutula Kilonzo Jnr (Makueni), Boni Khalwale (Kakamega), Hassan Omar (Mombasa), Moses Kajwang (Homa Bay), Joy Gwendo (nominated) and MPs Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja) Nicholas Gumbo (Rarieda) and Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay Town) commended Waiguru but argued that she should have quit much much earlier.

Jubilee leaders Martha Wangari (nominated senator), Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati MP) and his Njoro counterpart Joseph Kiuna supported Waiguru’s decision to quit and said it would redeem the image of the Jubilee government. The MPs, however, said her decision should not be misconstrued to mean she was guilty of corruption.

But for CORD MPs, Waiguru’s resignation was long overdue. “She has finally done what she should have done months ago,” said Wetang’ula.  “She is resigning after damaging President Kenyatta’s credibility in the war on graft,” said the Senate Minority leader.

Khalwale, however, doubted the reason advanced for Waiguru’s resignation.

“Waiguru’s juniors Peter Mangiti (Devolution PS) and Nelson Githinji (NYS director) have been cast as sacrificial lambs. Now that Waiguru’s conscience has not allowed her to stay, the President should not try to shield her,”  Khalwale said in Kakamega yesterday.

The Kakamega senator said Waiguru’s resignation was largely expected. “Kimunya (Amos, former Finance minister) said he would rather die than resign but the time came. Waiguru said the same thing and I knew it was just a matter of time,” he added.

Machage said: “It takes courage to resign and not step aside as “they” do. It is a culture Kenyans should adopt going forward.”

But Gwendo said Waiguru’s exit should pave way for a proper investigation at the NYS.

“I support her because we may hate her, but she is a worker and it is only in Kenya where your work ethic does not matter,”   said Gwendo.

Wandayi said the embattled CS must be subjected to a full probe and should not be handled with kid gloves. 

“She cannot give conditions for her belated exit and ask for lighter responsibilities. Let her submit herself to thorough and independent investigation,” said  Wandayi.

Mr Gumbo, who is the chairman of the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC), said Waiguru’s decision to quit was as a result of relentless pressure from leaders, envoys, the public and other stakeholders.

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” said Gumbo.

Senator Omar said Waiguru should not have waited  this long to resign.

“The President’s sentiments in the North Rift recently implied that Waiguru was here to stay. However, he realised that the public would not relent on the matter,” noted Senator Omar.

Kaluma claimed Waiguru’s exit strategy was crafted by the Jubilee administration.

“Her resignation was clearly choreographed as part of a cover up for corruption at the ministry. This is part of a wider plot to remove her from the public eye before she is appointed to another public office,” Kaluma said.
He continued: “She must undergo a lifestyle audit and must be kept away from public office.”

Senator Kilonzo Jnr commended Waiguru for her decision to resign.
“Her move is commendable albeit a little too late,” he said.

Kabondo Kasipul MP Sylvance Osele welcomed Waiguru’s resignation, saying graft had given Kenya a negative image internationally.

“Her exit will now give room for exhaustive investigations into the NYS scandal,” Osele told The Standard on Sunday on the telephone. Nyatike MP Omondi Anyanga said investigators should now do thorough job so that action be taken agaist culprtits. “Graft is ruining the economy. We want to know the truth of what happened at NYS. We also want the culprits charged,” Anyanga said.

Ngunjiri said those involved in the NYS scandal should be exposed.

“We want the names of all those involved in supplying items to the NYS made public, including some MPs. They should follow suit and resign,” Ngunjiri said. Kiuna asked the President to fill Cabinet positions left vacant by those who have stepped aside on account of corruption allegations.

The MP said Waiguru should be accorded a fair hearing and if exonerated, allowed to resume her duties.

“It is a timely move that has dispelled claims that she is a sacred cow enjoying protection from high places. Relevant offices should do their work so that Kenyans can know whether she is guilty,” Kiuna added.

Wangari said Devolution PS Peter Mangiti should resign after he was charged in court over the NYS scandal. “Mangiti, who has already been charged,  should do the honourable thing and leave office to allow for thorough investigations in the ministry,” she said.