The Timing of Release of Raila’s Dossier is Rather Suspect [opinion]

This weekend, Kenya hosted the world’s most powerful man, the President of the United States of America Barack Hussein Obama. And as the Jubilee government and US embassy in Nairobi prepared to receive him, Cord leader Raila Odinga embarked on a smear campaign aimed at portraying President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration in bad light.

Raila released his corruption dossier that mainly targeted the Devolution CS Anne Waiguru and Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Issack Hassan. He sensationally claimed the names of the two had been listed in original graft list of shame but were edited out. This, he said, happened before the list was tabled in Parliament by Uhuru when he delivered the second annual State of the Nation address.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission denounced Raila’s dossier and insisted that Waiguru and Issack were not in the list of shame and are not under investigation. However, the EACC said if it receives credible information showing that the two could have played a role in scandals in their respective dockets, it would take action. On its part, the Jubilee leadership dismissed Raila as a publicity seeker.

In his dossier, Raila dragged Issack into the ‘Chicken scandal’ and Waiguru into an alleged scam that occurred between 2011 and 2012. Raila argued that, as the brain behind the conceptualisation of the Integrated Financial Management Information System, Waiguru ought to be held responsible for the questionable deals that saw the system used to inflate the contracts to the tune of Sh1 billion.

Notably, Raila was the Prime Minister and co-principal to President Mwai Kibaki during that period when Waiguru served as the acting director of IFMIS. So how does Raila expect Kenyans and the world to take him seriously if he did not speak out or raise the red flag at the time? Why wait until the eve of Obama’s visit? It is true Waiguru provided leadership that culminated in the rolling out an online system meant to ensure transparency and accountability in government financial transactions. However, if officials recruited and appointed to manage the system later decided to play some mischief, how does she come in?

It is time the opposition stopped playing to the public gallery by politicising matters and making all manner of unsubstantiated allegations on corruption. Instead, they should provide reliable and credible evidence that would help anti-graft bodies track down the culprits.

Notably, Raila initially exerted pressure on Waiguru to step aside and be probed in connection to the attempted theft of Sh826 million at the National Youth Service. It is hard to tell how he ended up changing the goalpost.

This weekend, the opposition leaders had a raft of issues to discuss with Obama. Besides the challenges of security, corruption, perceived threats to freedom of civil society and the media, human rights and alleged extra judicial killings, the discussions also focused on electoral reforms.

I disagree with the opposition’s agenda. First, I highly doubt some of their concerns were genuine and made in good faith. For instance when they talk about extra judicial killings, one would expect them to single out incidents where the government security agencies have been involved in such criminal activities. Do they have the statistics? Second, the other issues are internal matters that would require home-grown solutions.

It does not make sense to wash our dirty linen in the presence of the world leader just because you do not like the President and the Deputy President. Obama does not have the cure for such raw disdain and hatred.

The author is a social commentator and political analyst.