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Opposition leaders turn the heat on President Uhuru over Sh5b scam at Afya House

By Jacob Ngetich and Kamau Muthoni | October 29th 2016
ODM leader Raila Odinga

Opposition leaders yesterday launched a scathing attack on the Jubilee administration over the reported Sh5 billion scam in the Ministry of Health. The leaders sought to place the blame right on the lap of the President; demanding decisive action and/or resignations of top public officers named in the scandal.

Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) co-principals Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang'ula, and ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi separately called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve his government, accusing the Jubilee administration of either being unwilling or unable to fight corruption.

In a press briefing yesterday at his Capitol Hill office, Raila sensationally claimed that the scam at Afya House involved individuals in President Kenyatta's social circles.

"We are getting a feeling that President Uhuru Kenyatta is not as innocent as he has tried to portray himself in public in the massive theft crippling the country," he said.

He said the President cannot claim to know nothing about these individuals, while Kenyans know who these people are to the President.

Odinga said it had emerged that one the companies mentioned, Estama Limited, which was paid to provide 100 container clinics with supplies worth Sh1million for each container, never provided these supplies; he said this company was associated with people around the Presidency.

The opposition leader went ahead to name those behind the companies. The Standard on Saturday could, however, not independently verify the ownership of some of the firms and names tabled by the former Prime Minister.

The former Premier mentioned Life Care Medic, which was paid Sh201 million, as being associated with Richard Ngatia and Paul Ndungu. Both Ndung'u and Ngatia, while acknowledging ownership of the firm, dismissed claims that they had not provided supplies.

The duo said the contract awarded to their firm was fully delivered according to the contractual agreement and that the firm had met all its tax obligations.

The former premier said: "Is the President silent on this and the many other thefts in the country because of this conflicted position? Is he giving up on the war against corruption because it has now entered his own inner sanctum? We have reasons to believe so," Odinga claimed.

Former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said the opposition would not relent until heads roll at the ministry.

"It is heart-rending that this has become the norm. It (corruption) has become a daily affair. Kenyans are seriously hurting from this pilferage of tax payers' money by the Jubilee government. And what is worse? Uhuru has thrown up his hands," said Kalonzo.

On his part, Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi called on Uhuru to resign, arguing that the President had failed Kenyans and the trust bestowed on him.

In a statement sent to newsrooms, Mudavadi said President Kenyatta lacked the political will and commitment to fight corruption and had thrown in the towel.

"Only recently at his residence and for once, the President was honest with Kenyans; that he is defeated, he has given up on corruption. Unless heads begin to roll, Kenyans are on their own because the shepherd ran for cover with the wolves. Kenyans are in dire need of a new shepherd," said Mudavadi.

The former Deputy Prime Minister dug in and charged: "The money was meant to save mothers and their children during and after birth. Sh5.3 billion is not just numbers but money that would have bought 10 mobile health clinics for each of the 47 counties. A government that allows its officers to steal from these vulnerable Kenyans can only have wished them death. The only redemption is for Kenyans to ask the reluctant President to vacate office for absconding a Kenya CEO's duty," said Mudavadi.

A week ago at a State House summit on governance, Uhuru said he had taken the actions he was allowed within bounds of the Constitution to fight corruption, and that he should not be blamed.

"When I challenge all the agencies supposed to fight corruption, they say we don't have the resources, we don't have this and that... but yet I stand accused that the Executive is not doing enough. Ladies and gentlemen, what do you want me to do?"

Wetang'ula said corruption seems to be the only manifesto that the Jubilee administration was implementing, adding that the Health ministry scam was just a tip of the iceberg.

"The Sh5billion scandal is just one in the many under Jubilee's armpit. Corruption has become the government's modus operandi and every single day, one scam or the other is unearthed in what has become a looting spree," said Wetang'ula.

He said Kenyans had lost confidence in President Kenyatta to lead the country and called on him to resign honourably and allow Kenyans to pick a new CEO to take the country forward.

"The country is bleeding with corruption. Jubilee leaders are only interested in enriching themselves. Why would the government hold onto funds for health which is a devolved function? They are holding onto the functions simply because they want to loot," said Wetang'ula.

Wetang'ula said the national government was only in charge of policy and five referral institutions.

"Jubilee is holding onto the devolved functions to steal. Health, water and roads, despite being county functions, continue to be controlled from Nairobi because of the lucrative tenders," said Wetang'ula.

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