Jubilee, Nasa tussle over source of campaign funds

Saturday July 01 2017

Kenya's anti-corruption crusaders hold a demo. PHOTO | FILE


Sources of campaign funds has put Kenya’s opposition and the ruling Jubilee Party on a collision course, with claims that businessmen linked to financial scandals that cost the country billions of shillings are actively involved in mobilising campaign resources.

The National Super Alliance (Nasa), which has been vocal on the war against corruption, has found itself between a rock and hard place, defending the role of businessman Jimmi Wanjigi, a wheeler-dealer accused of being the architect of key financial scandals in previous governments, in its campaigns.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto have told opposition leader Raila Odinga to remove the proverbial log in his eyes before accusing the government of abetting corruption.

The war of words between the two parties has propelled the anti-corruption crusade to the top of the campaign agenda. Tellingly, the manifestos launched last week detail various ways each team hopes to employ to end corruption if they win the August 8 election.

READ: Millions of dollars at play as Kenyans go into their most expensive election yet

Nasa, led by Mr Odinga, has pledged a raft of measures to stem corruption, among them blocking civil servants from doing business with the government and pushing for a Bill in parliament to fast-track payments to contractors.


“A strong commitment to fighting corruption will facilitate reconstruction of the national psyche and bring about a shift to servant leadership at all levels of governance, for the well-being and benefit of all citizens,” reads the Nasa manifesto.

The Jubilee manifesto promises to expand the capacity of Judiciary to conclude hearing of corruption cases within six months and push for harsher penalties for economic crime offences.

In addition, Jubilee said it will invest in technology to allow release of details of tenders awarded and their beneficiaries.

President Kenyatta’s administration has been hit by several mega scandals where taxpayers’ funds running into millions of dollars were embezzled, yet no high-profile conviction has been made.

Some scandals which have shaken the regime are an unaccounted for Ksh5.3 billion ($50.3 million) at the Ministry of Health; Ksh791 million ($7.97 million) skimmed off the National Youth Service and the so-called “hustler jet” aircraft that was hired for Mr Ruto’s shuttle diplomacy at a cost of $1 million.

Last year, President Kenyatta sacked Cabinet Secretaries Kazungu Kambi, Charity Ngilu, Michael Kamau, Felix Koskei and Davis Chirchir after corruption allegations were reported in their dockets.

The president has publicly admitted that corruption is rampant in government but that his hands were tied by provisions in the Constitution to punish the suspects.

Watchdogs The Open Society for International Development and Transparency International say the war against corruption has been lost.

“Over the past four years, the seeds of corruption have grown into trunks of impunity. Voters must choose county and national leaders with clean records on August 8. Otherwise we should stop expecting mangoes from falling from lemon trees,” Houghton Irungu, executive director of The Open Society told The EastAfrican.

Transparency International executive director Samuel Kimeu said Kenya’s ranking in the war against corruption is not impressive at position 145 out of 176 in the Corruption Perception Index last year with a score of 26 points.