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CORD launches tirade against Uhuru, threatens to call mass action soon

 Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale (left) dances with his Siaya counterpart James Orengo during a CORD rally in Kibera, Nairobi.  [PHOTO: gOvedi asuTsa/sTaNdaRd

By RAWLINGS OTIENO

Kenya: The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy stirred the political arena with a fiery attack on President Uhuru Kenyatta, and a declaration of mass protests against his regime. 

Despite the absence of their leader, Raila Odinga, the CORD leaders retreated to Kibera Grounds where they roundly criticised Uhuru’s administration.

They criticised Uhuru’s administration on four fronts; corruption, “unconvincing electoral victory” in the March 4, 2013 election, public appointments they argued were driven by ethnic tagging; and Jubilee’s “determination” to sabotage and bring down Devolution.

The CORD MPs took issue with Uhuru’s resolution to pay Sh1.4 billion to Anglo Leasing firms and delegating executive powers to officials of the former provincial administration, now renamed County Commissioners. This, they argued, was meant to undermine the 47 governors.

Siaya Senator James Orengo rallied Opposition supporters to get ready to take to the streets against the perceived unpopular decisions and declared the rally at Kibera’s Kamukunji grounds as the beginning of a “Grand March”.

Orengo told the cheering supporters that CORD was planning a grand welcome for former Prime Minister Raila Odinga on May 31, when he returns from a month-long programme at a university in the United States.

The opposition also threatened to impeach President Kenyatta over his directive to Treasury to pay Sh1.4 billion for two of the Anglo-Leasing contracts. They warned State officials that they would personally be held liable for the payments.

“I am now getting rid of my suits. We are getting back onto the streets and we shall fight up to State House,’’ declared Orengo, an outspoken confidant of Raila.

Sovereign Bond

“There is a time for everything. The Bible says there is a time to plant and a time to uproot… We have been slapped many times. We can’t keep turning the other cheek,’’ said Orange nominated Senator Elizabeth Ongoro.

The President, in a televised address from State House on Saturday, explained the controversial Sh1.4 billion payment holds the key to a Sovereign Bond his government intends to float to raise hundreds of billions to fund massive infrastructure projects.

Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale wondered why the Jubilee government was keen to pay the Anglo Leasing “ghosts” instead of implementing a report of the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee that branded as a scam the 18 security-related contracts.

In 2006, Uhuru, then the Leader of Official Opposition, chaired the PAC, which authored the report that described the more than Sh50 billion contracts as a  system hatched by a few individuals to continually fleece taxpayers.

Khalwale claimed Anglo-Leasing companies were owned by two Indians and two Kenyans (which he named by ethnic orientation), whose names are in the report which Uhuru submitted when he was the PAC chairman.

“We are the representatives of the people, and if he goes on doing this he will be the first President in Kenya to be impeached,” warned Khalwale.

The vocal Senator claimed that Uhuru’s administration was hell-bent on killing Devolution by introducing the “powerful monster” of County Commissioners. Khalwale, who indicated he would work with CORD, said the Jubilee government had failed to fight corruption, unemployment, poverty and inequalities to improve the lives of majority of Kenyans.

“The oppressive governance started by the Founding Father of the nation Mzee Jomo Kenyatta will also end with Uhuru Kenyatta,” said Khalwale.

Senator Hassan Omar of Mombasa said Kenya had gone full circle, with the unfairness and discrimination allegedly started off under the Founding Father, had popped up under Uhuru. He singled out corruption as the supposed hallmark of both regimes.

The coalition wants Attorney General Githu Muigai, Treasury PS Kamau Thugge, Solicitor General Njee Muturi and his Deputy Muthoni Kimani to resign immediately if the government pays the Sh1.4 billion Anglo-Leasing debt. The four high-profile government officials, CORD said, should resign over their failure to properly advise the President on the debt.

In particular, the opposition coalition dared National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich to authorise the payment and face a censure motion in Parliament and Senate.

Deputy Minority Leader Jakoyo Midiwo termed the authorisation to Treasury by Uhuru as unconstitutional. “This will be the final onslaught to bad governance. Our people cannot keep on suffering because of a few individuals at Harambee House. If Rotich pays this Anglo-Leasing money then, we will jail and humiliate him… because this is people’s money,” said Jakoyo.

Jakoyo tore into Uhuru’s declaration that Kenya has no option but to pay, saying that the President does not have any mandate in law to authorise the release of money without passing through the Parliament.

Jakoyo, who is also the Gem MP and a close ally of Raila, accused the Jubilee government of entering into suspicious deals with Safaricom to set up CCTV cameras in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu allegedly at a cost of Sh14 billion without seeking approval from the public.

“President Uhuru has no power to spend the tax-payers’ money on the cameras. Is buying the cameras at a cost of Sh15 billion more important than improving sanitation and the lives of people living in Kibera,” asked Midiwo.

Midiwo dismissed the Jubilee administration’s claim it will be in power for the next 20 years, adding that Kenyans were overburdened by the high cost of living and inadequate security.

Orengo said the constitution gives power to the people and not the presidency or any other person. “The power is with the people. Institutions have wronged us; the judicial process keeps on changing depending on who takes the case. Let nobody be intimidated because people can force change,” declared Orengo.

Parallel position

Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama said that every time they question the ills and wrong of the government, they are told that Kenya is bigger than any of them. He then told President Uhuru and his Deputy William Ruto that they were not indispensable.

“Kenyans are bigger than any institution because power comes from the people of Kenya. If they have failed to better the lives of Kenyans, then they should pack up and ago,” said Muthama.

Omar accused the Jubilee government of creating a parallel position for County commissioners and giving them executive powers. He said that the mandate of the national government is to send resources to the counties to spur economic growth and development and not trivial issues.

“We want resources to go the counties to improve our people’s lives and not paying “ghosts” money that is meant for the public. This government is digital outside and analogue inside,” declared Hassan.