I often get a chill down my spine whenever I hear Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto repeat their now boring and tired rhetoric: “The Jubilee Government will crack the whip on corruption.” Take a look at Ruto’s past corruption allegations and Uhuru’s plush life, courtesy of his mom Mama Ngina’s and dad, Jomo Kenyatta’s alleged looting of public coffers, land grabbing, and massive killing of elephants for illegal ivory trade. Mama Ngina is listed online as the third richest woman in Africa worth $1 billion, with her family owning “Kenya’s largest dairy company Brookside Dairies, media company Mediamax, Heritage Hotels, Commercial Bank of Africa and hundreds of thousands of prime Kenyan land.”
Given the above background, Uhuru Kenyatta does not have the political will to fight corruption since his enormous wealth is based on it. Three foreign commissioners who were among Kenyan publishers of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) report in May 2013, mentioned in a statement that the Office of the President had pressured them to delete paragraphs from their final report which documented witness accounts of irregular land distribution by Uhuru’s father, first president Jomo Kenyatta, to his family, cronies and members of his Kikuyu ethnic group.
Some of the deleted paragraphs revealed Kenyatta had given his son “a large tract of government land which was, apparently, acquired without official approval and without compliance with legal procedures as a wedding gift in 1976.” Further, Kenyatta “unlawfully alienated to himself 250 acres of trust land on the coast that was supposed to be held by the government in trust for the people. Irregularly, President Kenyatta took all of Tiwi and Diani trust lands at the expense of local people who immediately became ‘squatters’ on the land and were subsequently evicted, rendering them landless and poor.”
With such allegations, Uhuru can never implement the TJRC report which directly implicates his family members and threatens his wealth, since it recommends repossession of all illegally acquired public land. It is also important to note that in 2013, the Jubilee-dominated National Assembly deleted a section in the TJRC Act of 2008, which had earlier prohibited MPs from altering the report, thus enabling political manipulation of its findings and recommendations.
Roots of corruption in public sector
Confusion reigns in Jubilee as each member shouts loud in defense of the government’s useless record against corruption. When you see Senator Kithure Kindiki, a distinguished professor of law kneeling down among Jubilee political thugs and praying that the International Criminal Court (ICC) should set free William Ruto, then you know Kenyan academics become stupid when they get elected as politicians. Another light-weight Jubilee debater is nominated Senator Beatrice Elachi, whose naïve take on corruption is just pathetic.
Corruption in the public service is traced back to the Ndegwa Commission, authorized by Jomo Kenyatta in 1970, and headed by then-governor of the Central Bank of Kenya Duncan Ndegwa, to investigate the appropriate structure and remuneration of the public service. A key recommendation of the Commission’s 1971 report was that public servants would be allowed to own private property and run businesses. However, it ran against the global trend that does not allow them to engage in private enterprise since “by owning private property or engaging in business, a public servant is likely to abuse his public position” (Odhiambo-Mbai, 2003, p. 121, in the African Journal of Political Science). Njonjo Kihuria avers that: “In fact, some of the richest people in this country were either cabinet ministers, permanent secretaries, provincial commissioners, districts commissioners, district officers and parastatal chiefs, because they used their offices to privatise public wealth.” (The Star Newspaper, November 2, 2015)
The public-private nexus
Sebastian Gatimu, a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, recently published a comprehensive article titled: ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Corruption’, which outlines the nexus between the public and private sector, in the perpetuation of corruption. “Kenya’s private sector has been listed among the world’s most corrupt. International audit firm Ernst & Young reported that one in every three Kenyan companies surveyed had paid bribes to win contracts. The survey, which is conducted in 59 countries, ranks Kenya behind Egypt, Nigeria and Namibia as economies where private sector corruption is most pervasive and tender award processes most distorted,” wrote Gatimu.
Meanwhile, an article in the Business Daily newspaper on November 9, 2015 titled: ‘Succession Wars Lift Lid on the wealth of Kenyatta Era Oligarchs’, mentioned that a Mr. Kathumba who was Jomo Kenyatta’s cook while he was prisoner in Kapenguria prison before independence, left a “50-acre prime land in Embakasi, next to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi estimated to be worth Sh3.5 billion.” It is only in Kenya where a mere cook can be a real billionaire, and not in Zimbabwean dollars.
The Standard newspaper has also run a piece titled: ‘Corrupt Kenyan Leaders to Face US Sanctions’ which states: “President Barack Obama’s government has warned Kenya’s leaders linked to corruption that they risked facing sanctions believed to include travel bans.” Obama has simply walked the talk he gave during his July 2015 trip in Kenya. Whereas Jubilee sycophants claim the West means nothing to them, and they do not care about American sanctions, they are internally bitter that Uhuru Kenyatta has engaged the former British prime minister, Tony Blair, as his chief adviser. However, they forget that Uhuru’s father had sucked up to the white folks and even sired a son, Peter Magana Kenyatta, by an English woman named Edna Clarke.
Uhuru belongs to the thoroughbred class: far from his die-hard peasant followers, and has married a half German, half Kikuyu woman. It is documented that Jomo Kenyatta was against the Mau Mau, who were Kikuyu freedom fighters whose large tracts of land had been grabbed by white colonialists. A report by journalist John Kamau indicated that Jomo Kenyatta had planned to deport hundreds of Kikuyus to the tsetse-fly infested Mpanda Settlement Scheme in Rukwa region of Tanzania, just 25 days after he had become prime minister in 1963. See http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/blob/view/-/683648/data/112144/-/yrf7yfz/-/seeds.pdf
It is pointless to remain academic about Kenya’s corruption because available documents indicate its pervasiveness, yet the political class fuels it for personal gain. All the legal instruments are in place, yet Jubilee keeps blaming Opposition leader Raila Amolo Odinga, for their inept strategies in fighting corruption. Uhuru and Ruto are “political sons” of former Dictator Daniel arap Moi, whose 24-year plunder of Kenya’s economy is a case study of how NOT to be a leader. Further, in 2002, then-presidential candidate and now former president Kibaki had promised to stem corruption, but his ten-year record beat that of Moi. Uhuru Kenyatta, the selfie, PR president, was in the beginning quite vocal about fighting corruption and even created a web portal to directly engage Kenyans, yet he has hit a dead end in the process. His personal anti-corruption web portal http://www.president.go.ke/en/category/corruption.php never took off.
Although Gatimu recommends that: “To end corruption, African governments must urgently re-evaluate the role of public and private sector and come up with stringent regulations to curb the menace” all the ethical provisions enacted to curb corruption during Kibaki’s tenure in office, currently mean nothing for Uhuru’s administration. In 2013, five out of the 18 Cabinet Secretaries (CSs) nominated by Uhuru and William Ruto and vetted by the National Assembly, were suspended in march 2015. Suspended CS Davis Chirchir, a Ruto ally linked to the Chicken-gate Scandal, has been vetted once again and cleared of all corruption allegations, yet the public money reportedly lost under his watch has not been accounted for. In conclusion, Uhuru and Ruto have no moral grounds to fight against corruption, since they personally continue to gain from it.