“If there is one thing I will NOT Do….
“I will NOT resign…
“I would rather die than resign.”
Those were the emotional words of one Amos Kimunya barely 72 hours ago. But yesterday the same man, without dying or hanging himself as he had sworn to do on national television, called a press conference that did not last 2 minutes and announced that he had asked the President to allow him to step aside for investigations to be carried out on the Grand Regency sale saga.
That was yet another lie from the former Minister who more than anything else cut out a reputation for telling fibs. The truth is that State House had finally made a decision and that is the way President Kibaki prefers to fire his pet cabinet ministers. One important point to be noted by those who keep on saying that Kimunya has done nothing wrong is the fact that the former Finance Minister told lies to a parliamentary select committee and to the entire nation. And he did not do that once. He did it several times. Secondly he has broken at least two laws. So kindly avoid making comments from a position of ignorance, my dear fellow Kenyans.
Anyway Kimunya’s resignation came a few minutes to one pm lunch time yesterday. That timing was very significant as we will see a little later in this post.
In a packed house in the afternoon members eagerly waited for the Prime Minister’s statement on the Grand Regency issue. But before the PM got his opportunity in the session that was televised live on at least 3 major TV stations in Kenya, Kenyans got a glimpse of the new kind of parliament. It was clear that the 10th parliament’s appetite for felling cabinet ministers was far from being quenched. Assistant Ministers stepping in for their bosses in the Ministries of Finance, Internal Security, Education and Agriculture realized that the usual standard of answering members’ questions just won’t wash with this parliament. Kudos, 10th parliament.
But before we go too far it is important to understand that history was made yesterday. Never in the history of the nation has parliament on its’ own violation or initiative caused the resignation of a cabinet minister in defiance of the executive. That has just NEVER happened before. In the often quoted case of former Vice President and now deceased, Dr Josephat Karanja, the plot to censure him was hatched in State House as crafty former President Moi wanted to get rid of his VP without risking a fall out amongst the powerful Kikuyus whom Moi greatly feared throughout his reign. So he got some MP to move the motion in parliament and gave the necessary instructions through the house which was then a mere rubber stamp of the executive.
This was not the case this time. In fact if truth be told, the house was packed yesterday because members were expecting fireworks. Kimunya’s hurried resignation just before parliament’s first session of the week in the afternoon was no coincidence. The timing speaks volumes and tells me that State house is getting a little anxious. And the main reason has more to do with the naming of certain names that State House does not want to see named in connection to the Grand Regency (My latest raw notes has the full fascinating story. Sorry folks, it is way too sensitive to publish even here.)
But Kenyans need to be even more vigilant now. Will we get to the bottom of the Grand Regency saga? That should be the top priority that we must pursue now with all diligence.
To answer that question, there is an ominous sign to look out for. That sign is who gets appointed to replace Kimunya. By the way this is one appointment that needs to be done urgently to avoid bringing the nation to a halt because the budget needs to be passed by the house to quickly release funds from the treasury for the new financial year.
If the new Finance Minister is from the ODM arm of the Grand coalition government then Kenyans will need to head to the hills because that will be a “grand bribe” to “maliza hio maneno ya Grand Regency”. We can breathe a wee bit easier if Kimunya’s replacement is from PNU.
I am aware that there are two separate investigations going on at the moment in connection to the Grand Regency scam. One by the executive arm of government spear-headed by the Prime Minister and the other by a parliamentary committee. If there are any bets to be placed here, I would put my money on the latter investigation which the speaker ruled yesterday has to finish its’ work within two weeks starting yesterday. Readers of this site know who the main man behind the Grand Regency is, the question is whether that person and those close to him linked to the scam will ever be named.
In conclusion the Prime Minister’s statement provoked at least one MP to ask for his resignation. That MP was Cyrus Jirongo. But again in my latest raw notes I explain why the PM is in a very difficult situation on this one. The PM’s statement confirmed what Kenyans already knew—that there is a lot that does not quite add up with the hurried sale of the hotel. It also confirmed that Kimunya had lied again and again (very strange that he should say in his resignation statement that the truth will set him free).
It will be every interesting to see if the Grand Regency saga will have any more casualties and indeed what other achievements the 10th parliament will chalk up in the months to come.
I leave you with a question to mull over. Where does Kimunya’s resignation leave the increasingly tribal Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta who was the only cabinet colleague who came out in his defense?
P.S. As I have said in this blog before, the Finance Ministry is by far the most corrupt ministry of the entire Kenyan government because all funds have to be released from Treasury and the Finance docket has the power to with-hold funds if they are suspicious. Naturally that has never happened. Admittedly it is also true that the ministry has been reduced to mere messenger status by the executive but isn’t there a single person who emerged from the womb of a Kenyan mother who would have stood up and said NO to the corrupt presidents of the past and those powerful people close to them?
Interestingly the only Finance Minister in Kenyan history not to be linked to any scandal was the first Kenyan to hold the office, a man called James Gichuru who in the early days was an enthusiastic supporter and ally of Tom Mboya. The truth is that Gichuru was in fact involved in a scandal, but it had nothing to do with signing off billions from the treasury. You see the man loved his drink (the minister preferred undiluted whisky) and what irked State House even more was where he liked to have it. Usually it was in some seedy bar along River Road or Luthuli Avenue in Nairobi. The “scandal” was when as a full cabinet Minister in charge of the Finance docket, he went for a drink in one of these seedy bars and got so drunk that he forgot his briefcase full of highly sensitive documents there. It is not known whether the briefcase was ever recovered.