Pressure mounts for Kimunya s resignation

July 3, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, July 3 – Public pressure continued to mount Thursday for the resignation of Finance Minister Amos Kimunya who was censured by parliament Wednesday over the way he handled the Grand Regency sale.

Association of Professional Societies in East Africa chairman Daniel Ichangi urged all those involved in the transaction to step down immediately.

Law Society of Kenya chairman Okongo Omogeni, on his part, urged Parliament to maintain pressure on the issue.

More pressure came from the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya whose chairman Steve Lugalia said their threat to strip Kimunya of his certificate of practice still holds, if the minister is found to be on the wrong.
The force doubled when a group of protestors against the controversial sale of the Grand Regency Hotel gathered outside Parliament asking for the immediate sacking of the beleaguered Minister.

Hundreds of Opposition supporters and Human Rights defenders were tear gassed as they planned to stage mass protests in Nairobi on Thursday to press for the sacking or resignation of Finance Minister Amos Kimunya who was censured by Parliament on Wednesday over the ‘secret sale’ of a luxurious city hotel.

Kimunya was censured after a motion of no confidence against him received overwhelming support from MP’s who demanded his sacking or resignation.

On Thursday, legislators agitating for a Grand Official Opposition party in Parliament led hundreds of their supporters ready to participate in what they termed ‘peaceful protests’ in the city.

They were however, dispersed outside Parliament buildings and some of their supporters arrested, prompting another demonstration to the Central Police station.

They had intended to march to the Treasury to press for Kimunya’s resignation over the sale of the Grand Regency hotel.

"We want to know why police are harassing us by arresting our supporters who are demonstrating over a ‘corrupt’ Minister," posed Cyrus Jirongo of Lugari constituency who led the protests.

The demonstrators then marched to the Central Police station where they demanded the release of the protestors in vain.

"Our supporters have been arrested without any valid reason. They were not violent at all. This is harassment and intimidation by the police," another legislator Ababu Namwamba of Budalangi said.

After the arrest of the youths, police successfully managed to disperse the group that chanted slogans and waved placards of Kimunya must go, Sack Kibaki today and Stop Impunity.

"We have resolved to call off today’s protests but let Kimunya know that he has until Tuesday to quit office," Jirongo said.

Elsewhere, however, Ndaragwa Member of Parliament Jeremiah Kioni and PNU activist Mary Wambui say Wednesday’s motion to censure Finance Minister Amos Kimunya over the sale of the Grand Regency hotel was aimed at diverting debate to have MPs allowances taxed.

The two said it was unfortunate that MPs were united to pass a vote of no confidence against Kimunya yet they were so divided on the issue to have them pay taxes.

Speaking in Ol-Kalou, Kioni lamented that while the Grand Regency matter was of great national importance, MPs had forgotten that some internally displaced persons were yet to be resettled back to their homes.


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