Kenyan PM told he must take blame

February 12, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 12 – Pressure continued to mount on Prime Minister Raila Odinga to resign over the free education and maize scandals, this time from Cabinet colleague Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo.

He said Mr Odinga should resign since corruption had taken place under his watch as the coordinator and supervisor of government functions.

“If the Kenyans have lost money in the free education programme funds or the maize saga; he is the supervisor and coordinator of government ministries’ functions.  He is answerable directly… I am not interested in a witch-hunt.  If one of them has to resign all of them ought to resign,” said the Justice Minister.

Mr Kilonzo said that it would be unethical for the PM and other government officials to continue holding office while investigations are going on.

He cited the case of India’s Security Minister who resigned in the aftermath of the Mumbai bombings last year even though no evidence had been adduced to place him personally responsible.

“As long as integrity issues are raised you ought to resign,” Mr Kilonzo said.

An independent audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers has indicted officials in the PM’s office in the maize scandal but Mr Odinga has refused to act instead asking for more time to study the findings.

Mr Kilonzo questioned the Prime Minister’s move to form a technical committee to study the report before any action is taken. He said it gives the perception of a cover-up within government.

At the same time Mr Kilonzo claimed politicians were taking advantage of the vacancy at the helm of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) to perpetuate corruption.

He instead called on the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs to speed up the vetting of a new director for the anti graft body.

“I feel so betrayed because these people are taking advantage and you saw even when we went to Naivasha KACC was removed (from the Constitution) and I objected.  The fact of the matter is that we don’t have an efficient system for handling graft and they are all taking advantage,” he said.

 “If you notice when a minister from ODM is accused he then accuses another one in PNU.  It’s embarrassing but the country must accept responsibility because I warned you that you were leaving a vacuum by removing former director Aaron Ringera arbitrarily.”

Mr Ringera was hounded out of office last year after renewal of his term by President Mwai Kibaki caused public uproar. He bowed to the public pressure after Parliament rejected his reappointment saying due process was not followed when he was handed the second five year term by the President.


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