How can governments retain our confidence when they keep recycling and rewarding political losers, or leaders linked to graft, to “bigger” offices?
I find it a mockery of democracy, the rule of law and an onslaught on the voter’s right to choose when we go to the ballot to vote out a leader in an election, only for the same politician to be rewarded with a ‘bigger’ seat. I believe it’s this among other factors that is contributing to low voter turnout in recent elections. The 2022 elections for instance had the lowest voter turn-out in 15 years according to election observers.
President Ruto has been publicly criticized for going the extra mile to reward his political cronies and expanding his cabinet to create even more room for his ‘foot soldiers’. Ruto recently doubled the number of Chief Administrative Secretaries, consequently ballooning an already outstretched public wage bill.
The public resentment has also been stirred by his most recent appointment of former Treasury PS Kamau Thugge, who is among the high-profile individuals charged with the dams scandals, as CBK Governor.
Allegations against Kamau Thugge: Kimwarer and Arror Dams’ scandal
Kamau Thugge and former Treasury CS Henry Rotich were among 28 top government officials charged in the multibillion-shilling Kimwarer and Arror dams’ scandal in 2019. They were facing 24 charges among them abuse of office and conspiracy to defraud. (acquitted)
An Italian construction company, CMC Di Ravenna-Itinera JV, failed to construct the Arror and Kimwarer dams despite being paid billions of shillings. The firm filed for bankruptcy in the heat of the scandal.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in July 2019 ordered the arrest and prosecution of Treasury CS Henry Rotich and his Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge over the multibillion-shilling Arror and Kimwarer dams scandal. According to the DPP, Rotich and others were facing 8 counts of charges each under economic crimes for “having flouted procurement procedures, and for misleading the public about the state of national finances, in order to award the tender to the bankrupt Italian firm CMC Di Ravenna”.
In March this year, Ruto announced the resumption of the construction of Arror and Kimwarer dams following discussions with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, who was on an official tour in Kenya.
According to President Ruto, the Government of Kenya and three Italian firms, that have been contracted for the project, agreed to withdraw a pending court case over the cancellation of the May 2017 contract to construct two multi-purpose dams in Kerio Valley at a cost of Sh66 billion.
Graft and greed gets you a leg up: political appointments
In a previous article, I authored in October last year titled, It’s Obscene For Ruto To Appoint Ministers With Active Court Cases, I opined that “when the need to reward political cronies takes center stage at the expense of the constitution and the will of the people, then it’s not business as usual”!
Ruto’s hiring spree of politicians who have had active court cases does not in any way “promote public confidence in the integrity of the office”, as enshrined in Article 73 of the constitution of Kenya. On the contrary, it undermines the authority of the judiciary and other state agencies such as the Office of the Public Prosecutions and the anti-graft commission.
Unless and until waananchi are satisfied that these appointees have the skills and qualifications for the stewardship of the country, then the people will continue to feel shortchanged.
As citizens, we have a moral and civic responsibility to hold leaders accountable and when the president awards individuals with ongoing court cases to bigger offices, he erodes us of that responsibility!
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‘It’s obscene for Ruto to appoint ministers with active court cases pending against them’