Even as the peace efforts in Nairobi, now being led by current AU chair and president of Ghana John Kufuor got under way in earnest yesterday, the Financial Times of London has released a shocking story involving a leaked memo by the World Bank Kenya country director Colin Bruce.
The confidential memo has raised concerns amongst senior World Bank officials that the Washington-based lender’s assessment of the Kenya government and especially president Kibaki’s administration may have been compromised by too close a relationship between Mr Bruce and Kibaki. It has even been mentioned that Mr Bruce lives in a house owned by the Kibaki family which raises conflict of interest possibilities.
The memo allegedly gave false information claiming that it was the considered view of the UN that the ECK announced Kibaki win was correct. The UN immediately denied this and observers were puzzled over the fact that virtually every election observer had given the verdict that the just concluded presidential elections were fatally flawed. So why was Mr Bruce so determined to paint a different picture?
It has been lost on many observers that Mwai Kibaki’s contacts in the World Bank are excellent because he has known many people in the organization for years dating back from the days he was a finance minister in President Kenyatta’s administration.
This is probably one reason why a government that some feel is much more corrupt that even the Moi regime has enjoyed relatively good rapport with the World Bank and has continued to receive hefty funds even after such huge scandals as Anglo Leasing were brought to light. It would seem that the World Bank has just ignored the corruption and pressed on with giving Kenya a lot of finances.
Even more interesting is the fact that Mr Bruce seems determined that the World Bank should ignore the current crisis and continue dealing with a government that has just named individuals who have been linked to major corruption scandals like Kiraitu Murungi and George Saitoti. Both have been “cleared” by Kibaki friendly institutions. This is rather ludicrous because for instance George Saitoti’s name featured prominently in a leaked Kroll report. Anybody who read that report will cringe at this man being allowed anywhere near public funds or a position where he can do some of “the deals” portrayed in the damning Kroll report.
Read Financial Times article released in today’s edition of the newspaper.
It is instructive that Kibaki’s naming of his partial cabinet shows that he has already reneged on major promises he gave in the run up to the election. Kibaki had vowed that he would have a “clean hands cabinet” and one with youths and more women. This has clearly not happened. But even worse is the fact that 7 of the 17 ministers named so far are from the Mount Kenya region.
Clearly Kenyans are dealing with a man who never means what he says and the general feeling is that there is shock countrywide as Kenyans get to learn more and more about somebody they thought they knew well.
P.S. Even more insensitive was the move to appoint a Kikuyu (George Saitoti) to the position of Minister in charge of Internal security where he will have to take the lead of hunting down perpetrators of the violence which are mostly other tribes against members of his Kikuyu tribe. It will be virtually impossible in the circumstances for him to look impartial.