Friday, October 05, 2007
Raila's Meeting With John Githongo
Sources close to former Ethics PS confirm that the meeting took place recently
As the country hurtles towards the general elections in a couple of weeks, Kumekucha can now authoritatively report that high drama has been unfolding behind the scenes.
My trail of this amazing story started with a hot tip from a trusted source in London that ODM presidential candidate Raila Odinga had a meeting with former ethics PS John Githongo in that British capital very recently. Impeccable sources close to Githongo not only confirmed that such a meeting actually took place, but they added a number of sizzling riders;
- That the former ethics PS is intrigued by the seven point governance agenda Raila announced at the airport on his return to the country on Saturday 22nd September. Especially the part that touched on restitution fo the nation's missing billions.
- That Raila Odinga discreetly approached John Githongo as early as March 2006 to discuss the issue of coming up with a just system for recovery of assets looted by past and present administrations and closing these past corruptions through restitution. Their meetings and contacts have been ongoing.
But what has been even more fascinating has been the reaction all round to Raila's blistering statement on corruption released at the airport on his return. Contrary to what the president's campaign team must have been hoping for, this issue of corruption and especially the Anglo Leasing scandal will just not go away and is shaping up to be a major campaign issue, in a country where previous general elections have hardly addressed issues.
This issue of restitution and the returning of vast amounts of wealth looted from the people of Kenya has provoked statements from heavyweights like President Kibaki himself, former president Moi and his son Gideon amongst others. There is no doubt that Raila's speech more than ruffled a few feathers.
However the whole issue of Kenya's looted billions is a very complex issue indeed. Analysts are asking searching questions as to how possible it will be for the ODM presidential candidate to keep his promise on corruption, if he is elected. Can he really turn the stones that have always proved to be too heavy to budge (let alone turn)? This point was illustrated by a recent Gado cartoon in the September 29 th issue of the Saturday Nation.
What has caused even more doubts is the fact that some of the people involved are powerful office bearers within ODM.
On the other hand the Hoo Ndii Emm presidential candidate has clearly stated his stand on this issue which is that the country should forget the past and move forward. In other words, Kenyans should let the looters off scot-free so that they and their future generations can enjoy their ill gotten wealth in peace, even as most Kenyans struggle to put food on the table. Hardly surprising coming from a candidate whose previous campaigns in the Rift Valley have included assurances to the Kalenjin that looters from the community would be protected under his administration.
Clearly the kind of excess baggage being carried by the country cannot allow for Mr Musyoka's policy to be feasible. For instance in 2002 the Kenyan people elected a new administration in the belief that corruption was a thing of the past. What followed was that the new administration used the model from looting that had been used by previous governments the fleece the exchequer of well over Kshs 50 billion in a series of about 18 fraudulent contracts, most of them to non-existent companies. It is that administration that is now appealing to Kenyans to re-elect it for another 5 year term. And their slogan is rather ironic; na Kazi iendelee (roughly translated to mean; and let the work continue). This obviously implies good work.
President Kibaki's campaign so far does not dare address corruption except to make carefully worded meaningless declarations. Sadly many of his supporters have not pushed their candidate for a stronger and more decisive stand on this very critical issue but have instead fully subscribed to, na Kazi iendelee which would seem to imply and let the work (which includes corruption) continue.
Posted by Chris at 9:35 AM