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  • Writer's pictureOrina Ontiri

Raila’s letter to Uhuru on Kenya’s state of ‘total confusion’

Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta in August 2010 when they were Prme Minister and Deputy Prime Minister respectively, during a meeting at the KICC in Nairobi. Photo/FILE


Even without the benefit of any opinion polling, we are deeply convinced, and we believe many Kenyans are equally convinced, that there is total confusion in the country, that there is no shared understanding of where we are trying to go as a and what we are trying to achieve as a nation, by when, and by what means.

So today, we just want to make a single appeal to our president, Uhuru Kenyatta, in absolute good faith, in all humility and in the interest of our nation.

Mr President, we sense you are lost. But you are not alone. Many Kenyans who had pegged their hopes on your stewardship are equally lost and feeling abandoned in a wildernesses we have created for ourselves.

It is one of those rare cases where the leader should essentially tell the followers, do not follow me, I am also lost.

The centre is failing to hold. Anarchy and collapse lurk around the corner. Things are certainly falling apart.

The war on corruption is lost. The cost of living is rising. Our neighbours are closing in on us and challenging the economic advantage we long held over them.

Our teachers are back in classrooms but they are a bitter and betrayed lot, yet we have placed the fate of millions of our children in the hands of these bitter teachers.

Our soldiers, long the undisputed first choice of the world for trouble spots are now being challenged to prove their professionalism by none other than Somalia.

Mr President, Kenyans are no longer at ease because Kenyans know they deserve better than this.

Two recent developments capture the confusion emerging out of this know-it-all presidency and the quagmire is engulfing the entire nation.

This week, Planning Principal Secretary Peter Mangiti and Director General of the NYS Nelson Githinji were arraigned in court over improprieties at the Devolution Ministry.

The two are being made to bear the cross for the mess at Devolution. It is a mess we long said existed but which your administration dismissed as non-existent.

As Mangiti and Dr Githinji take the blame, we have a reminder for you Mr President.

Mr President, on December 2, 2014, you chaired the 11th Cabinet meeting in State House which resolved to widen the roles of cabinet secretaries.

That meeting gave cabinet secretaries greater oversight in sanctioning procurement in MDAs and state and government agencies.

That meeting also noted accurately that the role was formerly a preserve of principal secretaries, but it now shifted to cabinet secretaries. From that day, cabinet secretaries were mandated to approve work, procurement and cash flow plans.

Cabinet secretaries were also mandated to lead major transformation strategic initiatives in their ministries, including approval and attainment of targets and managing integrity and accountability matters.

That is why we will follow the case against Githinji and Mangiti with deep interest.

The December 2 resolutions of the Cabinet are currently not reflected in the decisions regarding crimes committed at the Ministry of Devolution.

Yet these resolutions appear to have influenced decisions regarding the ministry of Lands, Ministry of Energy and Ministry of Agriculture where Cabinet secretaries were forced to step aside to facilitate investigations.

Mr President, what kind of government goes against the resolutions of its own cabinet, adopted under the chairmanship of the president? We have no words to describe this state of affairs other than confusion.

Mr President, last week you appointed a team to advice on how to fight corruption in the country. Fair enough but what is the role of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission now? Why are we paying salaries to EACC when the job has been outsourced?

What did the President have in mind when he allowed the sacking of the EACC commissioners against our advice? This, to us, is confusion and lack of direction.

In the case of NYS, it is no longer possible for any government agency to independently audit its transactions. All the persons under investigation have been in the office at the times when the probing was being done.

In fact, both Mangiti and Githinji are being charged with interfering with the investigation by dissuading one of their juniors from pursuing the matter with the criminal investigation department

The government is alleging that the investigations were being compromised by both Mangiti and Githinji yet wants to assure us that credible investigations have been completed.

The DCI is totally compromised in this matter. When he completed his initial investigation a few weeks ago, he went and submitted his report to Devolution CS Anne Waiguru.

How can the DCI submit his investigation report to the suspect? It is unheard of in the history of Kenya.

Mr President, you cannot serve two masters at the same time and succeed. That is a key doctrine of the Christian faith that we know you profess. It is a key element of virtually all faiths and even the law of nature. It has to be one master a time.

Either you are serving Kenya or serving your personal friends, relations and interests. It cannot be both.

Mr President, you have engaged the nation in a dangerous ping pong, trial and error game for more than two years.

The Alice in Wonderland scenario makes for great fiction but it cannot and will not work for running a country, at least not for Kenya.

Under these circumstances, our people are tempted to agree with John Githongo who told the New York Times two weeks ago we don’t have a government. We have a scandal.

This state of affairs is not sustainable. It is not acceptable. It is creating hopelessness and despair. It is creating self-doubt among our hard working and confident citizens.

It is energising our competitors in the region who are smelling opportunity to leave Kenya behind. It has to stop. We are here to help you stop it and help you restart and re-engineer our vibrant Kenya.

We appeal to the president to embrace a bipartisan approach to our problems as a nation. As Opposition and civil society, we embarked on an initiative to change our constitution by popular initiative. Join us.

It is part of our culture in Africa to stop along the way and ask for directions and change paths if you realise you may have taken a wrong turn. In other cultures you are encouraged to buy the map and retrace your steps.

In Africa, it has never been a weakness to ask the way. Let’s do it. Mr President, we are here to help.

The letter was signed by Cord leader Raila Odinga, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula on November 18.

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