This graveyard scandal...who is fooling who?

Now now now, these scandals are coming in doubles. Even triples. The media is the sure winner, but then there are politicians leveraging from this.

So, ODM deputy party leader Musalia Mudavadi is implicated in the Sh283 million cemetery scandal. The Prime Minister, Raila Odinga (the ODM leader) says his deputy cannot be sacked unless the investigation report is complete.

He says the PricewaterhouseCoopers report was complete and implicated Agriculture Minister William Ruto. Mr Ruto is a a co-deputy leader in ODM, but he has since fallen out with the Prime Minister and gone ahead to “apologise” to his Kalenjin community that he was sorry for pleading with them to vote for Mr Odinga in 2007.

Mr Odinga, then said the Kenya AntiCorruption Commission had sent the report to the Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura and him, when the procedure was to have the report go to the AG.

This is politics! ‘Double M’ insists. Ouch! I remember Amos Kimunya used the same argument –this is politics—when he had ‘secretly and hastily sold Grand Regency to the Libyans (my goodness that deal was clean legally, but morally opaque). Parliament was a little tough on him and he was censured, he resigned and after a few months, he got back into the fold. As Trade Minister! So he can bring in the Foreign Direct Investment from all millionaires including the Libyans.

Well, the controller and auditor general, the Kacc and the parliamentary committee on Local Authorities came up with similar findings. But then someone will not step aside. The politics and the tribal lens has now come up and surely the Sh283 million will surely not be recovered.

But as George Thuo, (the Juja MP who could lose his seat if the courts rule against him in the coming few weeks), sought to know: Why did the PM, as the “nyapara” (supervisor of government functions) had to suspend education minister Prof Sam Ongeri despite the fact that no report mentioned prof Ongeri by name?

The PM added that he was not himself under investigation and so there was no need for him to step aside. But Mr Mudavadi is under investigation over the graveyard sale! Yet, the PM wants the investigations to be completed with “double M” in office.

The basic facts are that whether this is political or not, Kacc goes where there is a whiff of corruption. There was a little in the PM’s office over the maize saga, another in the Agriculture docket, now Mr Mudavadi’s, pentagon members Charity Ngilu (National Water Corporation scandal—Ms Ngilu is the minister for water), Mr Joe Nyaga (why did he stay complacent to the extent that milk was being poured when young kids were complacent? It goes back to some Sh600 million due to the Kenya Cooperative Creameries. The money was diverted to import maize in 2007. The Cabinet took the money away, it will be refunded this year, I guess it has already), then there is Najib Balala (that he took family members on a government paid trip to the world-famous Maasai Mara, he denied this). So the whole pentagon is tainted? I guess so. In politics it is hard not to see this. Someone is deliberately trying to discredit ODM, but then as a staunch supporter of the party, I know that as the fingers are being pointed and proof being recovered (even if for neglect of duty or some ‘shame’ for failing to stop pilferage) something drastic has to be done.

We cannot just point back to PNU saying there is Triton, Angloleasing, Free Learning money, the Grand Regency scandals that stay unresolved. No! Neither can we say that it is political. Money has been stolen, people denied government services.

Ha! On Triton, the PM is on record saying the theft was by some private businessmen and the minister (Kiraitu Murungi) was not to blame. The other two we know the President just refused to act! He has to protect his people and that’s what we call cronyism. Thank You Mr Prime Minister for pointing that out in your Wednesday speech in Parliament.

But the dilemma is: If the ministers resign, there will be a “feel good effect”, but will we get the money? If they stay in office, we’d know they perhaps stole, but will we get the money? Still, if they resigned or were suspended and are later cleared (they always get cleared) won’t it be a case of having wasted time on non-productive investigations? But perhaps they are innocent. Maybe, and this is my hunch, they are not innocent.

PS: Having studied the public mudslinging between the two coalition partners, I guess the cemetery saga is playing out with a view to letting the real culprits take home the money. That’s what I think. And that, does not mean Musalia is innocent, it just means that perhaps he knows too much and the only way to keep him mum is to link him to the scandal. If he ate or not, we may never know. My job, really, never gives me the luxury to trust anyone.


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