The latest news of misappropriated public funds barely raised hackles among WaKenya Halisi. The near-inaudible public and official reaction to reports that KShs.8.3billion was â€œsuspiciously transferred into and out of the governmentâ€™s secret security accountsâ€ is proof positive that corruption and impunity is absolutely engrained as the de facto modus operandi at the very highest level of the Kenyan society; a mode wholly accepted by said society. The latest â€œscandalâ€, and I use the term â€œscandalâ€ pejoratively given the regularity with which the public kitty is raided by Kenyan officials, is alleged to have occurred right under Mr. Uhuru Kenyattaâ€™s nose i.e. in HIS Office of the President â€“ OP!
The Daily Nation piece titled â€œTop officials on the spot over transfer of Sh8bn from Stateâ€™s secret accountsâ€ went on to write that â€œa source with close knowledge of the workings of the OP said that the large cash transfers were part of the reason President Kenyatta transferred senior officials and procurement staffâ€.
Boringâ€¦Tell me something new.
The president has previously talked about people in his office (OP) who made it â€œtheir business to cut deals and make money through government tendersâ€. Mr. Kenyatta has also charged that there were â€œpeople in his office who think they went there to make deals to enrich themselves and their friends through corruptionâ€. The president then concluded that the behavior â€œâ€¦wonâ€™t happen and they better know itâ€.
So does the supposedly displeased and resolute President Kenyatta fire those accused of using his office to â€œmake deals and enrich themselves and their friends through corruptionâ€™ or ask the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) to investigate the allegations?
He transfers them out of his office.
Gone from their hitherto cushy perch and access to Mr. Kenyatta are the former director of finance and administration in the OP Mr. Joseph Kirubi, former PS of Interior Mutea Iringo and former Head of Public Service Francis Kimemia. And in a development that would raise the ire of lawmakers in most societies aspiring towards good governance and accountability, all except Mr. Kirubi appear to have landed jobs that still allow them to â€œcut deals and make moneyâ€. One can even argue that Mr. Iringo scored the mother lode in his new position as PS of Defense: Anglo-Leasing Part Deux.
So who, according to the Daily Nation got the â€œbig jobâ€ in the latest Jubilee shuffle?
The â€œwinnerâ€ was Mr. Joseph Kinyua.
Yeap, that Mr. Kinyua who was Mr. Kenyattaâ€™s Permanent Secretary (PS) during his tenure as Minister of Finance back in 2009.
Now why would one fault Mr. Kenyatta for bringing along and promoting his former PS to a new position/assignment; a standard and benign practice among professionals and technocrats?
Jubilants (and others jivuniaring kwa WaKenya Halisi) can correct me if I am wrong but it was during Mr. Kenyatta AND Mr. Kinyuaâ€™s stint at the Treasury when another round of billions of shillings â€“ KShs. 9billion to be exact â€“ could not be accounted for. The president actually characterized the missing billions as a â€œtypographical error or whateverâ€! His acolytes rallied around him and effectively thwarted any credible investigation on the missing billions before it gained any traction!
Along with his predecessors, Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta has perfected the ritual of announcing the impending end to corruption and impunity with the precision of a Swiss timepiece and the religiosity of folks with a direct line to God. It is a ritual that is also rendered absolutely meaningless when he fails to take decisive (disciplinary) action when those under his charge who â€œhave made it their business to cut deals and make money through government tendersâ€ are actually accused of doing that.
My perspective, some would say tainted by my perch in the diaspora and â€œlast nameâ€ doesnâ€™t think transferring individuals implicated in the suspicious transfer of KShs. 8billion lines up with Mr. Kenyattaâ€™s contention that the practice â€œâ€¦wonâ€™t happen and (the perpetrators) better know itâ€.
It boggles my mind that government officials implicated in the foregoing levels of malfeasance; some would say outright theft of public resources are not called to account. That they are effectively repackaged and transferred to other positions where they are free to begin the cycle of misappropriation of public funds all over again oftentimes with the blessing of a public eager to protect of those from their own community.
In light of the optics of the latest re-shuffle of his administration, Mr. Kenyatta has further belied the claim peddled by his supporters when he first took office that he would not partake in nor condone the endemic corruption his father, mentor and god-father perfected during their regimes â€œbecause he has his own moneyâ€ even if said money was ill-gotten (by Jomo).
Even more troubling but not surprising in the least is the deafening silence of WaKenya Halisi whose muted reaction to the inexplicable and suspect movement of their money is divided along partisan and regional lines, at least based on the less-than-scientific sampling of the reactions and comments in cyberspace; a partial window into the soul of most societies.
By Washington Osiro | firstname.lastname@example.org