As a summary, the year 2006 was characterised by high voltage political rhetoric but very little action to eradicate corruption. Opposition politicians were as usual the most outspoken condemning the government for inaction and spread of corruption among its ranks. Angloleasing scandal was the main corruption baggage the government could not get rid off and it gave President Kibaki’s government the most unwanted label of corruption. The government did not hesitate on its part to throw a few salvos to the opposition politicians reminding them that most of them were suspect in corruption scandals of Moi government especially the Goldenberg scandal and even the new Angloleasing scandal. This culminated with the publishing of the Anglo-Leasing and Kitale Prison Land lists of shame by the government.
The year 2006, however, started with the damning Githongo Angloleasing report, made public internationally in the late 2005 by the author. The report immediately claimed its first casualties when two ministers in the Kibaki government were forced to resign. Kenyan Finance Minister David Mwiraria and the Minister for Justice and Constitutional affairs Kiraitu Mirungi resigned after being linked to the corruption scandal. A third Minister David Murungaru, Minister for Security had been dropped from Kibaki’s government reshuffle after the ill-fated constitutional referendum vote in November 2005. The Anglo Leasing scandal also triggered the suspension of four senior civil servants. But the Vice President who was also implicated refused to budge to resignation calls claiming that he was innocent. Kiraitu has since been reinstated, as the Minister for Energy, after the allegations against him could not be supported by evidence.
The Githogo report also saw members of two public institutions, the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) led by the Official Leader of the opposition Uhuru Kenyatta and the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) led by the Director Justice Aaron Ringera travel to London to interview the author. The PAC report recommended prosecution of those involved. The KACC proposed charges against some of the culprits but the Attorney General returned the files to KACC for lack of adequate investigation. The year 2006 was also characterised by counter-accusations between the KACC and Attorney Generals office which only contributed to slowing down the resolve to fight corruption.
In the ending year, the investigation by an Inquiry Commission on the longest financial scandal in Kenya, the Goldenberg was handed to the government. The report claimed that the former President Daniel arap Moi must have been aware of a scam which cost some $600m. It also recommended the prosecution of Education Minister George Saitoti – the then finance minister under Mr Moi among other personalities. Saitoti was relieved his ministerial job to pave way for prosecution but he moved very fast to the court and had the prosecution against him dismissed. He has since bee reinstated to the same position an action. The reinstatement has been highly condemned national and internationally. Whether Kibaki's action deserves condemnation, when the court has given its decision, depends on the weight we put on our democratic institutions.
One institution that has been on the spotlight in 2006 is the KACC. It has been accused of impartiality, incompetence and laxity. As a consequence, some opposition leaders had threatened to demonstrate to the Directors office and remove him from office. KACC has countered these accusations by referring to cases, that it has dealt with in its website, which was not available at the time of this writing. A glimpse of site reveals a lot of activities that are not brought to the public awareness by the media or politicians.
The courts have handled a number of court cases against corrupt officials but this has not resonated well with the public. High profile candidates seem to miss from the list of the accused. Kenyans love high drama and therefore they would like to see a couple of Ministers in the dock and sentenced to prison. Whether this will happen in 2007 we wait to see. But the electorate should always remember that they have the power to hire and fire their elected leaders. Use your vote to get rid of corrupt leaders.
We take this opportunity to thank our readers for your confidence in us. We promise to continue giving you incisive commentaries and analysis on corruption the coming year.
WE WISH OUR READERS A HAPPY NEW YEAR - FREE OF CORRUPTION.