Thursday, July 3, 2008



By Jerry Okungu
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
July 2, 2008

Parliament has passed its verdict. It has found Amos Kimunya wanting. It has leveled several charges against Amos Kimunya the Finance Minister. It would appear, according to the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of the tenth Parliament, Amos Kimunya has been violating a series of regulations regarding privatization procedures in Kenya.

The Grand Regency saga was just the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Parliament had had enough of Kimunya’s arrogance that seemed to emanate from nowhere considering his sudden rise from obscurity in Kenyan politics.

Surprisingly, as Parliament was declaring Kimunya persona non grata in the Kenya government, Amos Wako led team of legal experts put together by the Prime Minister to investigate the conduct of Amos Kimunya in the Grand Regency saga also passed a similar verdict. That team comprised at least three of Kimunya’s colleagues in the Kibaki government.

As the team handed its recommendations to the Prime Minister late in the night for cabinet decision the following day, all indications were that only a miracle would save Amos Kimunya’s job. And it was possible a miracle could still happen. The President could receive the recommendation, hold it for awhile and reach some compromise with the Prime Minister and save Kimunya from the gallows.

Yes, and this is the heart of the matter. All eyes are now turned on the two principals of the Coalition government. Here is a blatant and arrogant disregard for the law, generously displayed by a key member of the cabinet. Here is a blatant theft of public property and funds. Here is a corrupt scheme planned and executed by a senior member of the cabinet! Can the coalition government afford not to act? If it fails to act, what are the consequences?

To be fair, Amos Kimunya must not go alone; if he is going that is. Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u, the man in charge of the Central Bank must go too. He has shown that he was brought to the Bank by Kimunya for a purpose. He is an accomplice to this public fraud. He too must quit or be sacked and charged in a court of law for abetting a crime against the Kenyan public.

Did I hear that Aaron Ringera claimed to have advised the Central Bank against the deal? How come he witnessed the sale and even appended his signature to the fraudulent documents? How can someone of Ringera’s standing witness a theft, approve it and later stand aside and disown the deal? Didn’t we all see Ringera at the Grand Regency gleefully witnessing the handover of the hotel to the Central Bank by Kamlesh Pattni? Who is fooling who?

Now that we know the truth, let us turn our attention to the Coalition government. Both partners promised in their manifestos that they would deal decisively with corruption. Later on at the swearing in of cabinet ministers, President Kibaki swore to Kenyans that from then on, he would no longer tolerate corrupt individuals in his government.

In equal manner, Raila Odinga made corruption his rallying call in his 2007 presidential campaigns. Now is the time for Kibaki and Raila to prove to Kenyans that they can preach water and drink water. Now is the time for the two leaders to walk the talk.

Boniface Khalwale has shown the way. He has stated candidly the reasons for the punishment of Kimunya. He has cited the sale of Telkom Kenya, Safaricom and now Grand Regency as just but three reasons why Amos Kimunya is not fit to hold the office of Finance Minister. These reasons are grave enough to make the most insensitive head of state wake up from deep slumber and act because Amos Kimunya has lit fire under the feet of President Kibaki.

It is for these reasons that we get worried when a man of the caliber of Kalonzo Musyoka, a whole vice president of the Republic of Kenya can stand up in Parliament and attempt to stall the motion of no confidence against the Finance Minister. It goes to prove that some of our leaders have abandoned rational thinking. Had he not done so, he would have remembered that his own deputy in the house had long ago condemned Amos Kimunya’s arrogant corrupt deals. That person was none other than the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs. Again if Kalonzo Musyoka was an astute politician, he would have realized that his ardent supporter in ODM Kenya, Mutula Kilonzo had already taken a stand and was part of the team under the Prime Minister probing the conduct of their fellow colleague!

Right here in Tanzania where I am writing this article from, the Prime Minister, several cabinet ministers and the governor of their central bank were all shown the door when they were discovered to be involved in similar deals. President Kikwete even went further; he sacked the entire cabinet and appointed new ones when he realized that the majority of the old guard were tainted one way or another.

In Rwanda, Paul Kagame has made it a rule that any public officer suspected of being on the take must relinquish his office with immediate effect pending further investigations. In Kagame’s Rwanda, even if the investigation finds no wrong doing on the part of the accused, chances of going back to public service are next to zero. This is because Kagame believes that not guilty verdict may not necessarily mean one’s innocence. Some crooks have been known to perfect the art of covering their tracks so well.

In the Kenyan situation, if the President fails to act on Amos Kimunya, Njuguna Ndung’u and Aaron Ringera, it is incumbent upon Parliament to rebel against the executive by failing to pass any bills brought by the government. Parliament must reject the Budget presented a few weeks ago by Amos Kimunya because it cannot be trusted anymore.

If the President fails to act on Kimunya, it will be incumbent upon cabinet ministers of conscience including assistant ministers to resign their positions and deal with the executive from the benches because unusual circumstances such as this one must call for unusual measures.