, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 24 – Supporters of embattled Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula want the minister to be given a chance to defend himself over corruption allegations involving the sale of embassy property in Japan.
Ford Kenya\’s Secretary of Human Rights and Democratisation Chris Mandu Mandu told a press briefing on Sunday that Mr Wetangula should be given a fair hearing before he can be asked to step aside.
"As a party, we are saying that Honourable Wetangula should be given time to give his statement before anybody can judge him about the Tokyo saga," Mr Mandu Mandu said.
He said the minister should only be asked to pave way for investigations when and if Parliament finds him culpable.
"The Constitution is very clear; Wetangula has not been taken to court. The matter is still at the parliamentary stage. Once Parliament or anybody finds him guilty of any wrongdoing, he will be taken to court and that\’s when he can be asked to step aside," he argued.
Parliament last week commenced debating a report which details how billions of shillings were lost in various transactions involving the purchase of diplomatic missions abroad.
The party officials however took a swipe at Parliament\’s Defence and Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Adan Keynan who led the team that prepared the report on the impropriety, accusing him of being malicious.
"Keynan is being malicious; he\’s being personal and people should disregard his report and wait for the (report by) professional investigators, the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission whom Wetangula himself has invited," they charged.
Earlier, civil society members had called on President Mwai Kibaki to demonstrate his commitment to uphold the rule of law and ask Cabinet Ministers who have been mentioned adversely in questionable deals to step aside.
The civil Society activists issued a two-week ultimatum to the Head of State to take action against five Cabinet ministers over alleged corruption, failure to which they would mobilise countrywide mass action.
"Immediate and unequivocal action must be taken against Minister of Education Sam Ongeri, Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi, Moses Wetangula, Former Special Programmes minister Naomi Shaban and Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang," the head of communications at the Name and Shame Communications Corruption Network Benji Ndolo who read the speech threatened.
They added that they were working closely with the KACC to gather more evidence against other public officials whose integrity is questionable.
The civil society organisations underscored the importance of fighting graft in the country saying it would not only reduce the cost of doing business and enhance wealth creation but also restore confidence in the civil service.