You’re way off the mark on graft, presidency tells Raila

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ERIC NG’ENO

For long, Raila Odinga has styled himself as a champion of our new constitutional dispensation and the midwife of the constitution. In fact, prior to the referendum, Raila Odinga went to town with the virtues of the constitution. It is, therefore, quite dismaying to observe his discomfort over its implementation and observance. It is becoming quite obvious that Raila Odinga is acquainting himself with the Supreme Law for the first time years after its promulgation.

First of all, the Constitution is Agenda 4 of the National Accord in concrete, living, comprehensive form. Agenda 4 cannot be implemented outside the constitution.

Finally, the war on graft is off on a strong, systematic and large-scale footing. Understandably, the loudest protests against the President’s recent move are from those who have skeletons in their closets. As a co-principal of the immediate former administration, Raila Odinga’s office was frequently buffeted by enormous scandals where Kenya lost lots of money.

The Kazi Kwa Vijana and maize scandals are just two of these colossal frauds on the people of Kenya. This is the source of Mr Odinga’s discomfort. Discrediting the anti-corruption process is, therefore, at the heart of his short, medium and long-term personal interest.

So apprehensive is he that he has deliberately misconstrued the plain meaning of Article 254(2) of the constitution. He is splitting legal hair so finely that he has missed the wood for the trees. For the record, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has not taken issue nor disowned any part of the report. The report was duly submitted to the President and to Parliament in accordance with the Supreme Law. Mr Odinga is not opposing the war on corruption on any meaningful point of principle, or as a matter of public interest. He is not standing with the people.

The President’s apology, on behalf of the present and past governments in connection with various known injustices, was appropriate and welcomed by Kenyans. There is a clear process to proceed with the justice and accountability agenda in regard to these injustices through restitution, restorative justice and reconciliation. The apology was for many gross and regrettable offences against the Kenyan public, some of which Mr Odinga is intimately associated with. The 1982 attempted coup and 2007 post-election violence are some of the matters to which closure will never happen without Mr Odinga standing before the nation and explaining himself.

In the Grand Coalition Government, Mr Odinga was big on stepping aside as a remedy for perceived integrity lapses in government. All of a sudden, he sees the process as cruel and a joke.

Mr Odinga’s self-contradiction, obviously defective and deceptive take on the law, evasion of accountability for his role in various matters of grave national concern and constant nay-saying are nothing but the tantrums of a leader whose ideology, strategy and understanding of the aspirations of Kenyans has been overtaken by time. He is out of step with the temper of the moment. He no longer speaks the same language with the people of Kenya. He has lost it.

(Ng’eno is the Senior Director of Messaging at the Presidency)

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