Saturday, August 23, 2008



By Jerry Okungu
August 22, 2008

I waited with baited breath the much hyped Githongo prime time interview with Basset Biyuka on Nation Television. I was expecting the much hyped bombshell from our former Ethics Permanent Secretary. I must admit I was thoroughly disappointed, less with John Githongo but more with Biyuka. The interviewer was not prepared. He had done no background work on Githongo and neither had he thought of his television audience.

I found it strange that a tested talk show host like Biyuka could ask Githongo mundane questions like whether he was a traitor or not, had principles dear to him, why he was washing Kenyan dirty linen in public, and why Githongo resigned from his plum job!

It was intriguing that after the NTV interview, 70% of Kenyans did not want Githongo back in government!

Despite this weakness in interrogating Githongo, the evening was saved by callers who took Githongo to task demanding to know if Githongo the former Ethics Permanent Secretary had any ethics himself!

I suppose callers were referring to his decision to secretly tape conversations with high ranking government officials which he later sold to BBC. Pressed by Biyuka whether he shared recordings with President Kibaki or received approval from the President to record conversations with cabinet ministers, all Githongo could say was that the President was in the picture of his activities.

Ordinary Kenyan television viewers wanted to see Githongo taken to task over specific corruption cases he investigated, who he investigated, the names involved and whether there were any more earth breaking details he had not given Kenyans through BBC. Kenyans wanted to be told his relationship with Edward Ambassador Clay, the former British High Commissioner and why by coincidence his choice of home exile became Britain
As much as he had recorded his conversations with cabinet ministers for proof of evidence, was it a legal act approved in the Public Service Code of Ethics? Did Githongo breach any government regulations as he proceeded to secretly to record conversations with his colleagues in government?

Kenyans wanted to know why John Githongo chose to flee into exile without first complaining publicly at home that he was receiving obstacles in the cause of his duty. They wanted to know why he could not resign in protest, remain at home and join other forces in fighting graft with other activists. They wanted to know what Githongo had achieved in the three and a half years in Britain as far as fighting corruption in Kenya was concerned.

On coming back home for whatever reason, it was good that Biyuka was blunt enough to ask him if he was on a job hunt which he half-heartedly denied. However, judging from his description of his life in Britain, it was obvious he was missing the good life in Kenya. Given a chance, he would not hesitate to come back, the question is; in whose office?

Callers challenged Githongo if he could be trusted with top national government secrets and whether he was on a vendetta mission. On both scores, Githongo left it to his former employers to judge him on trust while denying he was on a vendetta mission.

However, it was not lost on observers that soon after landing at the Nairobi airport, his first utterances to the media were that he had come to finish the unfinished business. The question is; does Githongo have any unfinished business other than proving to Kenyans that David Mwiraria, Kiraitu Murungi, Moody Awori and Chris Murungaru among others were involved in the grand Anglo Leasing scam? Haven’t Kenyans been waiting to hear from Githongo about the masterminds of the Anglo Leasing scam including whether President Kibaki was personally involved?

Githongo says he has come back as a patriotic Kenyan to help fight corruption, yet he again tells us that he does not want to rock the boat of a grand coalition! Does this mean that Githongo will have to wait until 2012 before he gets back work to catch his thieves?

In two weeks time, Kenyans will know whether Githongo has come to stay. Meanwhile, as a patriotic Kenyan, he must make full disclosure why he secretly recorded his colleagues in government, took off with the same tapes and released them to the foreign press in London. The question is; was BBC the only recipient of Githongo’s tapes? What about the M16 and the FBI? Were there some foreign embassies in Nairobi that had advance preview of the tapes before he fled the country?

Because of these vexing questions, Kenyans cannot agree more with Minister Oparanya that Githongo should not leave the country until he makes full disclosure of all the allegations he made three and a half years ago while in London because he owes Kenyans the whole truth and nothing but the truth.