Wednesday, September 9, 2009



By Jerry Okungu
September 9 2009

Mr. Chris Obure, Kenyans are dying of hunger. The lives of 10 million Kenyans are at stake. The country is in dire need of every resource available. Please listen to the last words of the dying Kenyans if you are really a man of conscience. Don’t be blinded by cabinet decisions taken way back in 2006 when Kenya’s economy was growing at 7%. Now we are down to 1%

If the Finance Minister is cutting ministries’ expenditures to save money and buy food for Kenyans, we assume you too live in the same country that other Kenyans live in.

What sense would it make, even to a primary school kid, to see you go on TV to insist that the Ks 380 million budgeted for the Vice President must be spent even when Kenyans are dying simply because it was decided a long time ago? Was the cabinet decision cast in stone? Will Kalonzo Musyoka die or fail to perform his duties if this house is not built here and now?

Between Kalonzo Musyoka and the starving Kenyans in Mwingi, Kitui and West Pokot, who deserves the Ks 380 million more? If you were to choose between Kalonzo Musyoka and the starving children in Ukambani, Turkana, West Pokot and the IDPs in the Rift Valley, which one would you choose?

Charity Ngilu is spot on. Her mathematics makes more sense than your rationalization of this repugnant decision. Just think of the amount of food that this money would buy for our starving population! Just think of how many school children would be fed with this cash? Just imagine how many litres of water would be availed to the dying populations and livestock in arid Kenya.

Mr. Obure, we know and appreciate that you are the Minister for Works. However, we expect you to be a leader capable of using his common sense and are mindful of the welfare of ordinary Kenyans rather than your privileged colleagues in the cabinet.

Remember that you have been voted out before for one reason or another. It may happen to you again if public perception goes against you irrespective of whether you remain in ODM or not. In fact if the electorate feels that you are a liability to their preferred party, they may even stop your dreams of making it to the next parliament at the nomination stage.

Talking of the vice president, we have since 1963 had eight vice presidents and of all of them, except Jaramogi and Moi occupied an official residence at Kabarnet Road in Woodley Estate. The rest of the six VPs never occupied any official residence. It never hindered them from performing their duties. This makes this reckless expenditure misguided, extravagant and uncalled for.

This brings me to the next questions that many Kenyans have been battling with since the grand coalition was formed. Why do we have this large cabinet whose only visible performance is in gobbling up our meager resources for their own benefit? Do we really need a ministry of Works and a Ministry of Roads? Do we need a Ministry of Forests and a Ministry of Environment? Can’t we have a Ministry of Water, Environment and Natural Resources?

What is wrong with having a Ministry of Education; Trade and Industry; Foreign Affairs and Regional Corporation; Security and National Defence; Roads and Works; Lands, Housing and Settlement; Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and Finance and Planning?

What is wrong with this government? Here we are with a Vice President who ran for president and finished the race a distant third then conned his way into a unity government a t the height of civil unrest. Two years down the line, we want to spend Ks 380 million on his house even bigger than those mansions occupied by the two coalition principals!

What is wrong with paying him his Ks 200,000 house allowance that will cost the tax payer just Ks 12 million in five years? The bottom line is that these leaders do not deserve official residents. They should live in their personal houses and entertain state guests in public hotels that are abundant all over the city. This type of opulence is what Kenyans do not want at this point in time.

If Chris Obure cannot heed the voices of Kenyans on this issue then it will be appropriate for the civil society to organize IDPs and starving Kenyans to march on to Karen and lay a siege at the VP resident’s cite until the government rescinds this uncalled for wastage of public resources.