Will Wetangula-Mudavadi Pact Work In 2022?

Nasa Co-principles Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetangula.The two are planning to form one party that will unite the Luhya community. (Image courtesy)

The turn of events in the political scene is taking a different shape with leaders laying ground for their future political positions in different capacities in preparation for the coming 2022 elections. The presidential seat is no exception.

Ford Kenya party leader and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula and ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi have resorted to merge their parties and form one political party that would unite the Luhya community especially in the coming general election.

Both Wetangula and Mudavadi affirmed that their disunity in the past is what has been robbing them of victory when everyone of them vied for presidency single headedly. They agreed to effort to make the region strong so it could not be a subordinate to anyone as it has always been in the past.

They came out to term Raila’s comments that referred to them as being cowards for not showing up at his January 30th swearing-in ceremony at Uhuru Park Nairobi an insult.

The two leaders reached at this following what they term as betrayal by ODM party leader Raila Odinga after he decided to join hands and work hand in hand with the government. Real also What Uhuru-Raila Meeting Means to Kenya The two have in the last 20 years supported Raila in his quests to become president. The two feel that it was time for Raila to return them the favour by supporting one of them in the coming election.

While their move is a positive one in trying to ensure that the western people are jointly united, do they really have what it takes for either of them to make it to the ballot and eventually coming out victorious?
The voter distribution in western Kenya as at the 2017 statistics stood at: Kakamega County-510,631; Bungoma County-410,462; Vihiga County-202,822 and Busia County- 251,305 registered voters. They jointly had a combined voter registration of 1,375,220 voters but have in the past not recorded a good voter turnout when it comes to voting (65%).

For one to be declared president, he must claim at least 25% victory in each of more than half of the counties as well as attain up to 50+1 of the total votes casted. If either Mudavadi, Wetangula or Kalonzo vies for the of president come 2022, there are very minimal chances that either of them will claim power. If the Luhya decide to fully support one of their own in the race that will be an assurance of at least four counties that whoever will carry the flag will have the victory in.

If Kalonzo is to be part of this pact in whatever position, then a number of the Kamba votes will add up to these figure. This will however be dependent on what position Kalonzo will hold in the joint pact. Read also Nasa Co-principles Have Themselves to Blame It will take time before the western communities to be united as one and eventually be of solid influence in Kenya’s electoral history.

Arguably, Raila Odinga has a huge command when it comes to voters across the country especially in the counties of Kisumu, Homa Bay and Mombasa among others that he garnered much support in the 2017 election. These four counties alone had a combined voter register of 1,432,312 in the past election. Odinga’s influence would therefore be very crucial in determining who will become president if he is to take the mantle himself or chose to endorse a different person.

With uncertainty whether Deputy President William Ruto will still have the backing of President Kenyatta as earlier agreed, Raila’s decision on whether to vie for the top seat or endorse someone different other than Ruto will equally play a huge role in determining who will be Kenya’s next president come 2022. The DP’s backyard, Rift Valley is apparently divided now that Baringo Senator Gideon Moi has also declared interest in the top seat.

Disdain for Law Not Justifiable

In many occasions we have witnessed countries, probably more superior than Kenya, enforcing electoral and civil law against their perpetrators as a way of exhibiting equality before the law.

Yesterday, ex South Korean president, Park Geun-hye, was sentenced to 24 years in prison after a South Korean court found him guilty of multiple counts abuse of power, bribery and coercion.

In a separate occasion, former Brazil’s president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been asked to turn himself in after the court found him guilty of corruption and money londery. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Amongst the few African countries that have stood firm in enforcing law are South Africa and Sudan. In South Africa, the former president Jacob Zuma was forced to resign from office before his term expired following numerous counts of corruption. He is currently answering charges levelled against him in a Durban court.

In Sudan, the former Prime Minister Sadiq-al-Mahdi, who is also the main opposition leader, has been charged with plots to overthrow the existing government. It is alleged that the country’s chief opposition leader collaborated with rebel groups in attempts to overthrow president Omar-al-Bashir’s regime. Sudan president has since topped Mahdi’s civilian government in a 1989 coup that after which, the former PM and his Umma Party have regularly campaigned against the policies of the current government. Mahdi risks a death penalty if found guilty of these crimes.

Recently, former Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalagne was also forced to tender his resignation after he corruption allegations were levelled against him.

Where then, does all these leave Kenya? All these occurrences raise questions on what kind of democracy is exercised in Kenya. It is evident that a culture of defiance is taking root in the current judicial context. Perhaps, what shocked the nation more is the open disdain for the law exhibited by high ranking government officials who, without fear of retribution, have ignored court orders on several occasions.

The recent actions portrayed by the Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i, Inspector General Joseph Boinnet and the Immigration boss Gordon Kihalangwa are a sign of judicial intimidation. We may fail to agree on several issues but we certainly ought to obey the law. The law is what defines us as a country and depicts our sovereignty as a nation. A culture where senior government officials or those purporting to be linked to various government offices to avoid legal charges should totally be discouraged. The government should stand firm in ensuring that the law takes its course and that those who beak it are brought to book.

Why Devolution has Brought More Harm than Good

Integrity Center, Nairobi. The Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission is responsible for monitoring corruption cases. (Image Courtesy)

The beginning of devolution raised the hopes of many Kenyans with the mind-set all the development projects that were foreseen by the national government would now be devolved and be under the custodian of the county governments that have now been in existence for six years.

The main purpose of having a devolved system of governance was to ensure that every part of the country registers equal development. Against the perception of a majority of Kenyans, devolution has ended up bringing less development and numerous counts of corruption due to the misappropriate handling of finances meant for development by the county bosses.

Recently, the 2014-2015 Auditor General report was released in which, majority of the 47 counties have been questioned over massive wastage and misappropriation of funds. A total of 33 governors are set to appear before the Senate Public Accounts and Investment Committee (PAIC) for questioning on the same issue. 14 out of the 33 are second-term serving governors who will defend their performance in queries that will be flagged by the Auditor General between the months of April and July. As a common tendency, the remaining 19 will shoulder their underperformance to their immediate predecessor who lost in the previous election.

While the levels of development continue to be poor, the national government has not stopped working towards acquiring numerous financial loans amounting to hundreds of millions of Kenyan shillings if not billions that Kenyans’ have not felt their usage. A huge chunk of loans acquired by the government ends up being lost in graft either at the national or the county level. This has for long, been a bad vice and tendency that has eaten into Kenya’s administrative realm. Sadly, most Kenyans have learnt to live with it, which shouldn’t be the case.

As summoned by the PAIC, Mombasa governor Hassan Joho is set to provide justifications of how Ksh. 500 million in local revenue was not deposited into the county revenue fund. For a long time now, Mombasa residents from specific parts have complained of poor garbage disposal in the county. A further Ksh. 289 million that was paid to a garbage collection firm is also expected to be accounted for by the governor.

Machakos governor Alfred Mutua was also summoned before the committee for questioning over some Ksh. 72 million that Machakos Members of County Assembly (MCAs) spent to attend a ploughing championship in Bordeaux, France. The Machakos county boss is also expected to account for millions of shillings that were used to sink boreholes that did not end up yielding water.

Uasin Gishu governor, Jackson Mandago who is also serving his second term in office is expected to account for up to Ksh. 133 million worth of local revenue collected in the county that was not deposited into the county revenue fund.

These are only but a sample of the huge chunk of taxpayer’s money that was devolved to the counties to oversee development. According to the 2014-2-15 Auditor General Report, it is evident that most of the county bosses have taken devolution for granted by using it as a self-enriching scheme other than ensuring the development of infrastructure to facilitate improved human existence.

Devolution is supposed to have yielded positive results in terms of development other than what the Kenyan system depicts. It is high time for the law to take its course on matters corruption and misuse of public funds. The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission should work closely with other relevant authorities in ensuring that integrity and accountability is achieved across all public offices. Those found guilty of graft allegations should be held accountable irrespective of their influence or public office they command.

When devolution was introduced in Kenya, Kenyans were urged to give it time for positive change to be noticed. It is now six years since its introduction yet more harm than good has been registered through devolution contrary to earlier assurances.

In as much as many of these leaders have failed to in the mandate given to them by the citizens, Kenyans too need to be courteous when deciding what leaders they elect into office every five years. The politics where a leader is elected based on what he/she stand for and what he/she will do for the people will go an extra mile in enhancing development. A good leader is one who has the interest of the people at heart.

Cost of Living Set to Rise as Counties Register High Rates in Corruption

Photo: Treasury Building, Nairobi. Kenya’s external debts currently stands at Ksh. 4.6 trillion. (Image Courtesy)

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission recently released the results of the corruption survey conducted in 2016 in which it highlighted the performing and the most underperforming county governments.

Most of the County bosses, especially those from the underperforming counties, came out and dismissed these results with some claiming to being intimidated politically while others owed the poor performance to their predecessors.

Murang’a County was for instance ranked the most corrupt according to the results of the survey. Governor Mwangi wa Iria rubbished the claims and accused his senator of fighting him politically. His Kirinyaga counterpart Anne Waiguru also dismissed the claims stating that she was not the one in office as at the time the survey was conducted. She went ahead to blame her predecessor and criticised the EACC for not mentioning the leaders who held office when the survey was conducted. Kirinyaga County was ranked fourth in the most corrupt list. Tharaka Nithi, Meru and Trans Nzoia were among the other corrupt counties as indicated by the survey.

This happens at a time when the National Treasury has heeded to the demands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which will see Kenyans pay higher taxes as from the beginning of the 2018/2019 financial year set for July this year.

According to the IMF demands that were agreed upon in 2015, the government is set to repeal some of the tax exemption areas initially enjoyed by key sectors of the economy. The demands will see the government recover a total of Ksh. 760 million from the agricultural sector, Ksh. 32 billion from the manufacturing sector, Ksh. 2.5 billion from the education sector and a further Ksh. 40 billion from products such as petroleum and others that had initially been exempted from consumer tax among other 29 tax exempt income categories. As per these demands, IMF wants the Kenyan government to fund its budget from tax other than from external borrowing. Kenya has a current debt amounting to Ksh 4.6 trillion.

Whilst financial experts will advice that this is a positive move towards strengthening the Kenyan economy, it should be remembered that a huge chunk of the taxpayer’s money usually, is sent to the county governments to oversee development projects and ensure that Kenyans from across the country enjoy equal infrastructure across all sectors.

As per the 2016 EACC survey on corruption across the 47 counties, majority of them registered high levels of corruption which is an indication that that the taxpayer’s money channelled to these local governments is inappropriately spent.

The Kenyan economy continues to creep, minimal development continues to be registered and a huge chunk of tax paid by citizens continue being lost in graft. The biggest nightmare is that money lost in corruption scandals is never recovered despite the follow ups made by the relevant authorities.
If development is to be achieved, all Kenyan leaders need to ensure that they register high levels of accountability. Legislators should also formulate financial policies that will safeguard taxpayer’s money and ensure that it is used in the rightful manner. Only by this, will Kenya move forward in development.

Accountability and appropriate financial policies remain the ultimate solutions to countering graft and ensuring that the economy becomes and remains stable.