By: PHILIP OCHIENG
Anne Waiguru is a central member of Kenya’s topmost constitution defence committee and — to jog your memory — Wanjiku was the name by which our constitution-makers symbolised the poverty-stricken ordinary Kenyan.
The question is, therefore, stark: Has Waiguru stolen money from Wanjiku? No, such is a charge I cannot make through a public medium.
First, I have no evidence of it and, secondly, even if evidence abounded, only in a court of law could I adduce it without libelling Ms Waiguru.
So how do you justify any of this week’s snide newspaper headlines about that Cabinet secretary?
I ask because, in Sodom and Gomorrah, you do not call “news” any item in the barrage of hearsay that hits the tympanum every hour from the corridors of power.
A New Testament story tells us why. It concerns certain Pharisees who catch a woman in “the act” (of illicit sex) and arrest and take her to Jesus for judgement.
But Jesus, a very Daniel in the judgement seat, does not even look up as he tells the accusers that, if any of them has never committed such a sin, he should take the first stone and stone the woman.
By: the time Jesus raises his eyes, all the accusers have — like Macbeth’s “Weird Sisters” — “made themselves thin air into which they have vanished”.
As a parliamentarian, Cabinet secretary and county councillor — and as a priest behind the reredos of any of your myriad of shrines — what to do if Jesus suddenly appeared along Nairobi’s Moi Avenue one afternoon to demand that those who have never “committed this sin” stand in a line to be counted?
Thus the trouble with those publicly accused of spectacularly robbing the public’s coffers is that the subsequent controversy usually succeeds only in drawing the public’s attention away from the real epicentre of the problem. What do you make of any situation in which the father — in all senses of that word — is both the prime culprit and the court judge?
At politically critical times, the French media often give you a gender-twisted clue by urging you to Chercher La Femme — an invocation which seeks to conceal the Eminence Grise, the area of social activity which, because the occupant is high-powered, remains so “grey” that the naked eye will never recognise him as the culprit.
Even if Ms Waiguru is eventually proved to have pocketed any public money in that way, naivete or artlessness is the only special sin I would accuse her of.
It would show merely that she is not as clever a human carnivore as the vultures who have systematically gnawed at Kenya’s ministerial coffers ever since Independence.
NONE AS CRASS
Numerous bigger cases of cash looting occurred during the (older) Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki regimes.
However, none of these heists was as crass as the reported rip-off of the fund that the UhuRuto government has recently earmarked for “youth development”.
But the question remains: Is it really feasible for anybody — even if she or he be as central as a Cabinet secretary — to steal the whole of King Solomon’s Mines without the knowledge and even involvement of certain other individuals both in her or his outfit and in the company’s own accounts department?
I ask that question because of the strong implication by the politicians that if Ms Waiguru resigns, that will be the end of that problem.
It will be like sacrificing the lamb, an old tactic by which official society deflected attention from itself by absolving even the guiltiest of its highest-ranking and other officials.
No, even if Ms Waiguru be the cog in the wheel of that transaction, she must never agree to carry all alone the whole back-breaking cross to Golgotha.
Like Samson of earlier Israel, she has the option of taking away with her everybody else who participated in this hideousness.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION