By Muli wa Kyendo
Three people will share the embarrassment in the Anne Waiguru corruption allegations saga – President Uhuru Kenya, Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi and Anne Waiguru herself. For while the rest of the Kenyans, including Uhuru’s closest supporters, saw the need for the Devolution Cabinet Secretary (CS) to step aside, the three persisted in their claim that Anne Waiguru was innocent as if innocence was the issue.
In this, Mr. Muturi takes the greatest share. The speaker has become an unabashed activist for the Jubillee party, much to the detriment of the country’s social and economic progress. Twice he blocked a motion by the Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter to remove the CS from office in circumstances that the ordinary Kenyan interpreted as attempts to shield Anne Waiguru.
On his, President Uhuru Kenyatta played the deaf for all the time Kenyans discussed the issue of Waiguru, deciding to hear nothing and see nothing.
Obviously tempers were reaching a boiling point. And sooner or later, it was clear that “staring at each other,” as Uhuru would put it, would reached another level – possibly that of marching to forcibly remove Waiguru from office.
What was agreed was that massive amounts of money had been stolen in Anne Waiguru’s Devolution Ministry. The interpretation though was divergent. Everyone – expect the three – said Waiguru should take responsibility and resign. If the theft were a good thing done – as in the case of Huduma Centres – she would have gladly taken responsibility and accepted the accolades and fame that would come with it. Similarly, she should do the same when bad things happen.
Thankfully, it didn’t reach the matching point. Waiguru has now resigned citing health problems occasioned by the prolonged saga. “I have been advised by my doctor to take time off,” she told a press conference, adding that she had consequently asked the President to relieve her of her duties. Indeed, according her, henceforth, her health can only allow her to undertake light duties.
The CS becomes the sixth to step aside to allow corruption investigations in their ministries. The other five were either asked to step aside by the President or voluntarily did so. None of them has been returned to office, even when some of them have been declared innocent.
Waiguru said her stepping aside will allow for her name to be cleared adding that investigations into allegations against her are already revealing the “persons actually involved.”
It will be interesting to see how the story now develops. But if there is a lesson in it, it is that both the President and the Speaker of the National Assembly should pay more attention to the needs and wishes of Kenyans. Not to do so is to risk continued erosion of their respect and power and social and economic chaos in the country.