Social media pressure ‘led Waiguru to quit top job’

By: BERNARD NAMUNANE

Ms Anne Waiguru resigned as Cabinet Secretary to protect her children from social media, according to her staff.

Publication of her family’s photos on social media platforms was the last straw that led her to ask the President to relieve her of her duties as the CS for Devolution and Planning, according to ministry staff who asked not to be named because they are not authorised to speak on her behalf.

Ms Waiguru, perhaps the most powerful CS in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government, has been under pressure from the Opposition and a section of Jubilee MPs who warned her that her continued stay in the Cabinet was jeopardising the coalition’s re-election chances in 2017.

“Once pictures of her family started getting into social media, she decided it was too much. She could no longer handle the threat that it posed to her family,” said the source on her staff.

One of the photos showed her son driving an expensive car — which he has since denied owning.

“She was emphatic that she was quitting because some people were after her family. The CS feared that some cartels, whom she had stopped from getting money from the National Youth Service were after her family,” the source said.

NYS lost Sh791 million to fraud and another Sh695 million was almost gone when Ms Waiguru call in the police to investigate.

“She feared that the cartel was fighting back by going for her children, her family and harassing her. She could not handle it,” said the source.

FIGHT ALTERED

At the Saturday press conference during which she announced her resignation, she said a corruption cartel at NYS had decided to fight her personally.

“The fight against corruption eventually mutated into a fight against Anne Waiguru, with the focus shifting from the real purveyors of graft. This should not come as a surprise to anyone who understands how corruption networks, their underwriters and patrons operate,” she said.

“This whole experience has caused a lot of pain to me personally and my family,” she added.

Coalition for Reform and Democracy (Cord) leader Raila Odinga, Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi and Jubilee MPs who were pushing for her resignation welcomed her decision to quit.

While Mr Odinga said her resignation was overdue, Mr Mudavadi said the Jubilee administration had been given a platform to tackle graft in government.

Revelations of profligate public expenditure at Devolution sparked public anger and has seen Devolution Principal Secretary Peter Mangiti charged in court.

On Sunday sources revealed that the pressure started taking its toll on Ms Waiguru last week when the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) summoned her to record a statement regarding the scandals at the NYS.

WAIGURU’S REASONS

The former CS was then advised by her doctor to check into hospital but she is understood to have expressed fears that it would be interpreted to mean that she was running away from being questioned by the EACC detectives.

“She decided to go for interrogation by the EACC because failure to do so could have caused another storm. She was not okay, though,” another government source said.

However, when it was brought to her attention that pictures of her children had surfaced on social media, Ms Waiguru took the decision to quit and, on Saturday morning, she called President Uhuru Kenyatta who was in his Gatundu home.

“She called the President to explain the woes that she was facing. The President was in Gatundu the whole day attending to family matters,” said the source.

After briefing the President, Ms Waiguru summoned her aides to her Harambee House offices at 1pm the same day to deliver the news.

“The CS said she had made a decision and she was not ready to be dissuaded. She warned those around before saying: “I have to go and I am going”. We all sat there helpless,” the source said.

President Kenyatta, who now has six CS out of his Cabinet due to corruption allegations, was said to have already started plans to replace Ms Waiguru.

On Sunday, President Kenyatta declined to speak about Ms Waiguru when he attended a church function in Karen, Nairobi.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION