Friday, February 6, 2009




First lady Lucy Kibaki was on Thursday cleared of any wrongdoing in the maize scandal. Her accuser, Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba (ODM), beat a hasty retreat, offered an apology to Mrs Kibaki and the documents he produced to support his claims were ruled to be fakes.

However, Agriculture minister William Ruto was not cleared of all the allegations directed at him by Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale (New Ford Kenya) and all the documents bearing the National Cereals and Produce Board seal that linked Mr Ruto to the sale of maize were upheld by Parliament’s deputy speaker.

They included those from managers of the board allocating maize to some individuals allegedly on the strength of a call by Mr Ruto. Others included tables showing that the cereals board had in store 2.6 million bags of maize in June last year and those that allocated maize to companies and individuals that Dr Khalwale described as undeserving.

Mr Ruto had informed the House that the maize in the stores at the time was 1.6 million bags. Mr Khalwale wanted to know what had happened to the one million bags. It also emerged that though Mr Ruto has announced reforms in which he claimed to have removed 14 of National and Cereals Board’s 17 managers, he at the same time appointed the managing director of a milling company allocated more than 600,000 bags of maize to NCPB’s board of trustees.

Both the minister and the appointee when contacted denied any conflict of interest and said the appointment was in accordance with the law. Many of the managers announced to have been removed in the restructuring are still in office, according to a spot check by the Nation.

Mr Namwamba’s apology came after a day in which he came increasingly under fire from the Kibaki family. Four of the President’s children published an advertisement stating that the company Gingalili (1968) Limited which the First Family owns, “is not and never has been in the business of buying and selling maize or any other commodities.”

Mr Namwamba claimed in Parliament on Wednesday that Gingalili was among firms that bought maize from the National Cereals and Produce Board, which is in charge of maintaining strategic food reserve and relief supplies. It is not illegal to buy maize from the board but in times of famine the sale of maize is restricted to millers only.

On Wednesday, the First Family through the President’s press service described the allegations as “false” and “meant to deflect public attention from a serious matter of availability and affordability of food.”

On Thursday, President Kibaki’s children Judith, James, David and Anthony went public to state that Gingalili is a farm owned by the First Family in Subukia, Nakuru, but said it focused on dairy and vegetable farming.

Mr Namwamba on Thursday made a personal statement in the House to say he never meant to drag the name of the First Lady into the maize-buying scandal. He said his real intention was not to ‘cast aspersions’ on the character of Mrs Kibaki, for whom he said he had great respect but “to ensure that the full disclosure of the matter was done.”

He went on: “However, the impression that has so far been created has been misleading and a gross misinterpretation of the facts. “I therefore take the opportunity to correct the facts and save the First Lady the pain and embarrassment that to me is regrettable.”

Mr Namwamba said the fact that the company associated with the First Lady was only allocated ‘a mere’ 500 bags of maize by the cereals board did not suggest any impropriety in the matter. He at the same time said there was nothing illegal to hold shares in a company or purchase maize from the cereals board.

Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim later ruled that the documents produced by Mr Namwamba were not genuine and that only documents bearing the seal of the cereals board would be considered valid. That meant that the allegations raised by the Budalangi MP against the First Lady were expunged from the official records of the House and cleared Mrs Kibaki of any wrongdoing.

He did not make a ruling on what punishment, if any, the House was to impose on Mr Namwamba for introducing the name of the First Lady, who can not defend herself on the floor, into the debate. Nor did the Speaker rule on the sanctions for producing fake documents.

However Mr Maalim’s ruling freed Mr Ruto from being linked to the contents of emails between the managing director of African Merchants Assurance Company (Amaco) – a company associated with the minister – allegedly showing there were plans to purchase two million gunny bags worth Sh153 million from an Indian Company and sell them to the board.

It also annulled the notes that were written by the minister’s Personal Assistant to the cereals board supposedly advising the managers to allocate maize to particular individuals and companies.

Be accepted

Said Mr Maalim, “Only documents with the official National Cereals and Produce Board seal will be accepted. All other documents are to be expunged from the Hansard.” Immediately, Dr Khalwale protested at the ruling arguing that his documents referred to more people apart from the cereals board.
Maize scandal: The lies and the facts
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February 5 2009

“The documents I presented here have references to more people than the NCPB and I feel they should be accepted,” he said. But Mr Maalim warned that he had made a ruling and any member who challenged it risked being thrown out of the House.

Before the ruling, Mr Ruto and Lands minister James Orengo urged the Deputy Speaker to reject all the documents because they had not been presented to him before they were tabled in the House.

Mr Maalim said it was the responsibility of MPs to ensure that the documents they tabled were genuine and directed that the Speaker must be made aware of their contents before they were presented.

The Kibaki family responded vigorously to criticism of the First Lady, terming it unprecedented, undignified and exceedingly shameful. The family said it was a sad day for Kenya “when an MP can use his Parliamentary privilege to cast dishonest aspersions on the character and dignity of innocent Kenyans who do not have the opportunity to defend themselves in Parliament.”

They added: “We humbly request the Speaker of the National Assembly to give the nation direction on this issue, as it is not the first time a Member of Parliament is maliciously maligning Kenyans from the floor of Parliament.” The Kibakis said even going by the current low political standards among certain politicians, the attack on the First Lady was uncalled for.

Cannot hide

The family challenged Mr Namwamba to repeat his allegations outside Parliament “where he cannot hide behind the Parliamentary privilege.” The Kibaki children urged their mother to remain steadfast and strong in her service to the nation. The First Lady, they said, should continue speaking out for the many Kenyans whose voices are never heard.

“Given her known attributes of tremendous integrity, courage and determination, especially in the face of adversity, we are certain that she will prevail,” they said. They also thanked Kenyans for their “kind words of support and encouragement.”

Mr Namwamba’s attack on Mrs Kibaki came just a day after President Kibaki contradicted her on the performance of Internal Security Minister George Saitoti. While the First Lady had called for the removal of the Kajiado North MP for allegedly failing Kenyans on the Nakumatt and Sachang’wan fire tragedies, President Kibaki affirmed his confidence in the former mathematics don.


Submitted by kotiato
Posted February 06, 2009

Another classic example of reaping where you sow. Kenyans have known Ruto to be thoroughly corrupt since his days at the helm of YK92. So what has changed? When did he become a statesman? We were conned in 2007 by mercenaries posing as revolutionaries and all of them have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Never again, Kenyans

Submitted by makavelli1
Posted February 06, 2009

Dis-Honourable Namwamba must be an idiot! Why is he playing games with a weighty issue such as starvation....there was once a politician who had been accused of some serious indiscretions. He resigned and was later cleared of any wrong doing. After he was cleared he asked the committee that cleared him "WHERE CAN I GO TO GET MY GOOD NAME?". The moral of the story is the damage has been done.

Submitted by kamokim
Posted February 06, 2009

Ndugu Orengo you are known to fight for truth and justice. What has happened all over sudden that now you support those that you fought against for so many years? Ruto of all the people! God have marcy for Kenya, and Kenyans for that matter. Those who fight for them are getting swallowed by corruption and innuendos. Kamotho Kimani.

Submitted by pat2007asc
Posted February 06, 2009

I am appalled by Hon.Namwamba's sheer lack of respect for the Head of State and First family. Last year he wouldnt swear by the President's name, he is on record for imputing that even a dog could have been elected in Central Province which was an insult not only to the Central Province electolate but also to the President. Now he has shamelessly decided to drag the name of the First Lady to the floor of the house and imputed she was in the maize scandal.For posturing and playing to the gallery for cheap publicity. Shame on you Namwamba!!

Submitted by SJ502
Posted February 06, 2009

For the trigger happy Ababu he bit more than he could chew this time round,for unlike many Thatchers I know, Lucy can handle her own turf and will be equal to the task dealing with some of these MPs.

Submitted by Obwakemwatugul
Posted February 06, 2009

Tribalistic corruption. Shame on all political leaders. Double standards will not lead us anyware. This issue should not scare Ruto, it is all a network of subortours who are jealous of the Minister's success as a young political entity. Those culprits are strengthening him politically. The media should equally reveal the deals in the Oil scam etc etc

Submitted by murigi
Posted February 06, 2009

Coalition: Keep your bad boys and I will keep mine. After those forest plots he sold NSSF why would Ruto not go for more? Asking him to step aside is 'finishing my people', No?. Our selective requirement for accountability is what will ensure that we never make a dent on corruption. You would have seen the hullaballoo if Ruto was from Mt. Kenya

Submitted by mawuololo
Posted February 06, 2009

There is no law that Ababu has to face. The truth of the matter is that a company associated with the first family was allocated 500 bags of maize from the NCPB, and that fact remains irrespective of whether Maalim invalidated the evidence or not. The weird thing with Kenyans is that they always complain about their leaders being corrupt but when the evidence is produced, they are the first to dismiss it as mere rumours. What do you Kenyans want? All that said, lets not forget that the maize scandal lies squarely with Ruto.

Submitted by bobcat
Posted February 06, 2009

Hey mza,Its not a flimsy technicality when documents are dodgy and with no clear indication of having come from an office; we are trying to prove that the guys are abusing office,do we want to run an anti corruption campaign on rumors? You probably don't mind Lucy being cleared on the same technicality,but Y'ur mad at Ruto gettin the same justice right?

Submitted by pmuriu
Posted February 06, 2009

Namwamba must be a mercenary on hire on character assassination mission while enjoying the immunity of parliament. Is this the grand opposition that he champions?

Submitted by muthinja1
Posted February 06, 2009

In this country you never know how far the truth stretches, or how deep the lies are, but there is some truth in every rumour. Kibaki regime won't assist British SFO on Anglo Leasing,so Kiraitu was truthful, it is 'THEM' Everyone is compromised, God help the starving Kenyans!

Submitted by mza
Posted February 06, 2009 1

Did I hear Orengo was on his feet urging the speaker to throw away corruption documents on a flimsy technicality? These men are on a mission. They will steal everything not bolted down as the look for campaign money and then blame Kibaki for it!

Submitted by asma_756
Posted February 05, 2009

Namwamba needs to face the law. Isn't he the same one who went ahead and trashed Waki report. And now produced fake information in the face of 37 million people? Remember Kreigler stated that Kenya is rUn on rumours and disinformation - even on serious matters