, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 8 – A political analyst is warning that politics is likely to overshadow accountability over the loss of millions of shillings under the Free Education Programme at the Ministry of Education.
Dr Adams Oloo, a political scientist at the University of Nairobi on Monday said that real issues are likely to be lost in the political tussle between the Party of National Unity and the Orange Democratic Movement as they seek political mileage.
Dr Oloo regretted that Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s public request to President Mwai Kibaki to ask Education Minister Sam Ongeri and Permanent Secretary Karega Mutahi to step aside made the matter more of a political one than a governance issue.
“Kibaki would like to be seen as his own man and his advisers would most likely tell him to avoid acting like he is taking orders from Mr Odinga,” Dr Oloo opined.
He said throwing the ball into the President’s court could have won the hearts of the public but inversely diverted the attention to a political duel.
“Whether action is taken or not the PM will be glad he made his point to the public that if he was in charge he would have done it,” Dr Oloo added.
Prof Ongeri on Friday fiercely fought Mr Odinga’s blast calling it a personal attack and witchhunt. The PM however on Saturday said his recommendation was based "in accordance with the proper and accepted best practices."
After Friday’s statement PNU politicians over the weekend came out fighting in defence of Prof Ongeri while their ODM counterparts supported the PM and insisted that the Education Minister and his PS must resign.
Dr Oloo opined that the ‘public gallery’ declarations and intra-government wars are back as “we are getting into the next election cycle.”
“ODM seems to be saying it is ready to take corruption head on. PNU on the other hand is keen to defend its own,” he said.
Previous scandals pitting Ministers Amos Kimunya (then Finance Minister), William Ruto (Agriculture) and Kiraitu Murungi (Energy), divided the coalition government right in the middle. While Mr Kimunya resigned, Mr Ruto and Mr Murungi stayed put and got support from their political friends.
Over Sh100 million is said to have been misappropriated in capacity building programs while text books worth over Sh1.4 billion are also uncounted for. The Kenya Anti Corruption Commission is currently undertaking investigations into the matter. Prof Ongeri and Prof Mutahi have resisted resignation calls from a section of politicians and the civil society.
Both Britain and the American governments have withdrawn their support for the program ‘until credible investigations and accountability are undertaken.