The National Assembly is gone rogue, aiding and abetting the evil scheme to silence all independent oversight voices. We must stop this now!
— Ababu Namwamb, EGH (@AbabuNamwamba) April 22, 2015
Ababu Namwamba said it. We have suspected it. Remember how parliament dealt with the Salaries and remuneration Commission (SRC)? Recent collapse of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) under claims of bribery point to an active corruption network in our legislature. The PAC has now been reconstituted with different members of parliament replacing the disgraced committee members.
Are we going to see a different PAC that works for the interests of wananchi only? Is there hope in the August House when it comes to fighting corruption. If there were any doubts, then these have been multiplied many times over when parliament swiftly dealt the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) a body blow by removing the Chairman Mumo Matemu and Vice Chairman Irene Keino. The vote was resounding 130 MPs against 52 and there were few voices speaking for the EACC leaders in parliament.
Their removal, follows the publishing of the “list of fame” which may deal permanent blow to some careers. Question is, is the removal of the top officials purely coincidental or is there a plot by parliament to stop the commission?
Our history has never favored anti corruption commission chairmen. John Githongo tried to fight it, he recorded the damning evidence for all of us to hear, yet in the end he had to flee for his life. Patrick Lumumba took on an M.P Cecily Mbarire who allegedly tried to bribe him to scuttle corruption investigations into the Ministry of Water. Swiftly, KACC was disbanded and Lumumba sent home, parliament killed the commission’s momentum and put yet another dent into the anti corruption fight.
Hon. Jeremiah Kioni was quoted:
“We must deal with them because this is an opportunity that may not come our way again.”
Suspended lands cabinet secretary Charity Ngilu who was an MP then could not hide her joy at Lumumba’s dismissal.
“I am very happy that we all seem to be united that we are not going to allow the same body to investigate and prosecute because they can abuse those powers.”
Come 2015 and the same “divided” parliament unites to send home the Anti Corruption leadership. Is he getting too close for parliaments comfort or did the masters call for his head? If he got too close to the navel of corruption, then it is possible that the corrupt networks could be behind his removal, just as they did with PLO Lumumba.
Another possibility is that Matemu is not the right man for the job considering that he has been accused of of meeting Anglo leasing suspects privately. It is also alleged that Matemu habitually bypasses official channels in requesting for files of ongoing investigations.
Will Kenya ever have a strong and independent anti-corruption commission which will fight graft without fear or favor?
“I find it ironical that there was a tribunal set up to investigate Matemu almost immediately after the National Assembly passed a motion to form the tribunal. It doesn’t matter if they find out that Matemu is corrupt or not, we never see that kind of hasty action against corrupt politicians,” said Steve a businessman.
However, the suspension of the two could be the beginnings of a strong anti-corruption commission.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has already appointed a tribunal consisting of Judge Jonathan Havelock as chair, Juster Nkoroi, Margaret Shava and Muathe Issa. The tribunal will present its findings in 30 days. If the findings recommend the sacking of Matemu and Keino, then we can confidently expect a bolder commission leadership that will carry out its mandate without interference from parliament.