Kibaki swifter than Uhuru in axing allies

The exit of Ms Anne Mumbi Waiguru from the Devolution Ministry follows a beaten path many before her have walked.

Those who served former President Mwai Kibaki tell Sunday Nation that he had his pulse on the beating heart of the Kenyan people and when National Intelligence Service (NIS) reports informed him that public opinion had turned against a public officer he would quickly force them out.

“He used to tell us that we are servants of the people and when at least half of Kenyans believe that you are guilty you must exit,” said a serving undersecretary who did not want to be named.

Then Ministers David Mwiraria, the late Professor George Saitoti and Mr Kiraitu Murungi stepped aside at the height of the Goldenberg scandal inquiry and Anglo-Leasing Scandal.

However, the most dramatic of them all happened in 2008 when then Finance Minister Amos Kimunya resigned only a day after he declared he “would rather die than resign.”

Kimunya was embroiled in a scandal involving the controversial sale of Grand Regency Hotel, now Laico.

It was said that the hotel, which owned by Goldenberg scammer, Kamlesh Pattni, was transferred to government before being sold to Libyans at a below-market price.

Before Mr Kimunya’s incident, the only time the government was shaken by corruption claims similar to on-goings at the Devolution ministry was during President Kibaki’s regime when he had to let go Prof Saitoti, then Education Minister, Mr Murungi, then Constitutional Affairs Minister, and their counterpart at Finance Mr Mwiraria over Goldenberg and Anglo Leasing scandals.

TENDERING RESIGNATION

Those privy to the events revealed to Sunday Nation that President Kibaki called in the ministers early morning to State House, Nairobi.

He is said to have informed them that the public mood had swayed against them and they “should all have their finger on the pulse of the public.”

Prof Saitoti, who had been in government for over 20 years, perfectly understood the President.

However, Mr Murungi was said to have pleaded his innocence.

It is at this point that the President told the two that he wanted their resignation letters by close of business that day.

Prof Saitoti obliged and they were all dismissed.

Those privy to the ongoing told Sunday Nation that while Saitoti delivered his resignation in less than an hour, President Kibaki could not wait for Mr Murungi before going on live television.

After Kibaki read Prof Saitoti’s statement, he added: “I have also accepted the request by Hon Kiraitu Murungi to step aside from his responsibilities in order to allow full investigations into allegations made against him in regard to the Anglo Leasing affair. I urge all Kenyans to exercise patience as the relevant arms of the law carry out investigations into these issues’.

In recent months, President Kenyatta, who was praised for his boldness in asking 175 public officers to step aside in an address to Parliament in March, has come under strong criticism for shielding Ms Waiguru.

Her departure may allow the President to usher in a new Cabinet and conduct a long-delayed reshuffle.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION