NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 22 – Lands Minister James Orengo has threatened to name government officials behind the food and oil shortage in the country if action is not taken.,
He said on Thursday that those behind corruption in government must be punished in order for Kenyans to have confidence in the current administration.
“In Kenya today, impunity has gone beyond bounds and the crisis is not just about corruption; it’s now a crisis of confidence in the leadership of this country. And we have to show that we are up to the mark in regard to fighting corruption.”
He said the public was growing increasingly impatient with the government over its apparent inability to deal with graft issues.
“If we go the same way we have in the past then we are not dealing with the problem, and in the next six months we will not have a place to move in this city or in this country because the political class has been lumped together as being party to the grand corruption we are now seeing.”
“I have said that at a certain stage if things continue the way they are, then some of us will be prepared to say things that probably as a member of the Cabinet, may be inappropriate for me to say,” he stated.
During a forum to discuss a Draft Strategic Plan for his constituency, the Ugenya MP said those implicated should take responsibility for their conduct and resign.
Mr Orengo argued that setting up anti-graft systems or institutions and prosecuting junior officials will not address the problem, until this happens.
He said he would use his Cabinet position to press for action from President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
“I want to say in clear words what I mean… corruption in Kenya has reached such a magnitude that if you don’t see heads rolling in the next two weeks or so, then Kenyans will be right in forming the conclusion that this leadership has been part of it,” he said.
Also at the function, Planning Assistant Minister Peter Kenneth called on Kenyans to demand transparency and accountability from their leaders.
“We are in a country where we cannot even explain where the strategic reserves went to; which is meant to be the last resort of grains in the country. And if you are in a country where you cannot provide food for your people, something must be terribly wrong somewhere.”
“My challenge to you is that governments that have worked all over the world, are in areas where citizens have demanded services for their taxes,” he said.
They were commenting on the Kenya Pipeline Company Sh7.6 billion oil scandal and the unfolding maize scam, estimated to cost the taxpayer Sh825 million.
Their statements came ahead of a Cabinet meeting, where the government directed that investigations into suspected cases of corruption in maize distribution be concluded expeditiously.
“Any culprits should be dealt with as a matter of urgency,” said a statement by the Presidential Press Service, after the meeting in State House Nairobi.