The Political Standoff Over Waiguru Is Justified [opinion]

Leaders allied to URP are slowly turning against the party that sponsored them to victory in 2013, albeit in a veiled hit-and-run manner. Some URP MPs can no longer keep quiet and are coming out boldly to spit out the bile raging inside. The gloves are out, and the corruption purge is the agile heel of the Jubilee coalition which could put it asunder.

After all, the ICC case that joined Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto on the hip is now history after Uhuru’s case was terminated. It is, indeed, the dawn of the proverbial night of the long knives but the centre has to hold for the sake of 2017 general elections. After all, the two coalition partners have an MoU that must work or be seen to be working until 2022.

Until April, the only vocal and consistent URP politician criticising the coalition’s wrong moves was Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter, and now new faces are joining his bandwagon. The queue is getting longer and longer. Even the loquacious Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, a fierce defender of the coalition, has unbuckled. He is taking no hostages and he no longer sings praises for the coalition blindly.

In April, he fired the first salvo at Devolution CS Anne Waiguru during the much hyped Kisumu Devolution Conference. Murkomen, the chairman of Senate Committee on Devolution dismissed the meeting saying it was full of rumbling, self-praise and massage egos. He gave the meeting a wide berth. From then on, it has been one complaint after another by URP orchestra. The heated political pool is nowhere reaching a cooling point. What with the corruption allegations on CS Anne Waiguru, a woman many see as the apple of the eye of President Uhuru Kenyatta?

Waiguru’s holier-than-thou attitude burst when allegations of corruption pointed at her direction three weeks ago, opening a huge can of worms in the coalition. All along, behind the scenes, there were intrigues of vicious fights over the list of shame Uhuru Kenyatta presented to the National Assembly in March. It is evident, the URP side of the coalition is the worst hit.

Pundits say the names – including DP’s chief of Staff Maryanne Kaittany, CSs Felix Koskei (Agriculture), Davis Chirchir (Energy), Kazungu Kambi (Labour) and Charity Ngilu (Lands) – were inserted in the list to drive a wedge between the Head of State and Deputy President.

If indeed that was the reason, the authors must be watching keenly as URP politicians tear into unwavering Waiguru. URP MPs want the CS to step aside to allow for investigations following the attempted siphoning of Sh828 million from the National Youth Service coffers.

Word is, Ruto met the angry URP MPs on Tuesday morning at his Harambee Avenue office to tell them to tone down the war of words triggered by the NYS saga. The MPs have a point. Why is Waiguru sitting pretty at the helm of the ministry when other ministers whose dockets are suspected of underhand dealings are home cooling their heels awaiting to be cleared? Is the war on graft lopsided? Why the double standards?

But those telling Waiguru to step aside should find something else to do since, from the look of things, she is not about to go anywhere. The President himself has come out, not once, not twice guns blazing in defence of his “hard-working” CS. It is no wonder some Rift Valley MPs say the CS is acting like the Prime Minister of Kenya, and is overshadowing the Deputy President. But as always, the DP has resisted temptations to jump into the blame game preferring instead to stand with his boss. Ruto is on record defending Waiguru when the then NYS boss, Kipruto Rugut, was suddenly transferred through an SMS.

But on the graft allegations against the CS, the DP has chosen to remain mum. This is a clever move since he has not come to the defence of all the CSs under probe. If he does, he would be seen as condoning graft. But then again, Uhuru is defending Waiguru saying the graft allegations in NYS are politically motivated. It is alleged that instead of reporting to the DP as stipulated, she reports directly to the President! This is one of the reasons why the DP’s allies are breathing fire. They think Waiguru is demeaning the second office in the land.

Their argument that Waiguru has not filed her ministerial report and yet other CSs have done it is not petty. The rules should apply to all. The miffed MPs believe Waiguru is the one who roasted Kaittany. Did the letter forwarded to the Office of the President accusing the DP’s chief of staff of diverting Sh100 million from the Legislative and Inter-Governmental Relations, originate from the Devolution ministry? The MPs believe so. This is the money purported to have been used to lobby MPs to impeach Waiguru last year.

To URP, this is payback time for Waiguru. It balances the equation.