Why I refused to attend UHURU’s event! It was full of career criminals & political lowlifesEditor's Choice 00:00
.... several facilities for such conversations – this is in fact one of the core functions of the Kenya Institute of Administration. One of the principal roles of the Head of the Public Service is to insulate the service from political pressure. I cannot see any of Kinyua’s predecessor allowing senior public servants to be exposed to such a spectacle.
As it happens, this is not the first time that the Jubilee administration has tried to lure me into a lynch mob. At the beginning of the year, I was approached by a colleague to participate in a debate on the Eurobond at the University of Nairobi, which I politely declined.
A few days later, I received a call from a prominent business leader insisting that I must attend the debate, which I also politely declined, and attempted to educate him that university debates were fora for intellectual and policy debates, not arenas for inquisitions – there was nothing intellectual about one bunch of people accusing another bunch of corruption and other bunch denying it. This clearly did not go down well as he called a day later, a little more forcefully this time, whereupon I posed to him the following question: suppose a member of your staff uncovered a fraud in your company, would you convene a debate between the whistleblower and the culprits?
And sure enough, the event turned out to be a choreographed public relations blitz that was meant to bury the Eurobond issue once and for all. It backfired. In fact, when one student asked one of the Treasury mandarins a tough question, another prominent business leader grabbed the microphone and put down the student – the cat was out of the bag.
In The Physiology of Plunder, French economist, politician and essayist postulated that “When plunder becomes a way of life for men living together, they create for themselves a legal system that authorises it and a moral code that glorifies it.”
That plunder has become a way of life in this country is hard to contest. Known plunderers occupy some of the highest offices in the land, and others whose loot is still hot are lining up to run for office.
And it has trickled down. A study conducted by the Aga Khan University’s East Africa Institute found that half of Kenyans believe that it does not matter how one makes money as long as one does not end up in jail – they admire people who make money by hook or crook. Close to a third believe corruption is profitable. Some 70 per cent would not stand up for what is right for fear of retribution.
For a “legal system that authorises it”, we need look no further than the one-stop-shop for corruption sanitisation that we call the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission. That leaves the court of public opinion. This is what broadcasting the invitations of the President’s “fiercest critics” as one media put it, in a manner suggesting that the public was being invited to a Romanesque gladiatorial contest, was about.
The purpose was the same as why Rome put up public spectacles — to divert the attention of the gullible masses from the real issues, in this case by channelling public anger over corruption into bloodsport. The summit delivered but instead of bloodsport, what the public got was a three ring circus — the thieves, the look-outs and the court jesters — with the President as the main act (another round of applause for #CryBabyPresident please).
There is in fact a parallel between our corruption situation with the Jubilee administration and the GOPs Trump predicament. The GOP nominated Donald Trump knowing that he was a bigot because many of Trump’s supporters are themselves bigots, mostly racial bigots, and sexist.
As Trump’s bigotry has flowered in all its splendour, America has been forced to stare the entrails of their society. The show just refuses to end. And so it is with us, compelled to watch our moral poverty played back in technicolour. And the show goes on, and on.
It is noteworthy that the President finally broke his silence on the Eurobond. As I wrote before, he has, for the longest while, exercised his right to remain silent. And when he spoke, it was an attempt to stare down the Auditor General and to obfuscate the issue. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is the banker to the Central Bank of Kenya, and in effect to the government and people of Kenya. It is customary, indeed obligatory for auditors, to speak to the bankers of the clients that they audit.
Allow me to repeat for the umpteenth time. Clearing up the Eurobond requires three things. First, the government’s narrative of the financial trail must be validated by the counter-parties, of who the New York Fed is the most critical. Second, the government’s books must balance.
Third, the money trail must lead to development projects. And even if we were to tick all three boxes, it would not absolve CS Rotich, PS Kamau Thugge and responsible officials in the Central Bank of the crimes they’ve already committed namely forgery, fraudulent accounting and misleading the public.
Seeing as it is, I who revealed in my last column that both the government and the New York Fed have frustrated the Auditor General’s work, it seems reasonable to presume that the opprobrium unleashed on the Auditor General was probably meant for me as well.
Far from intimidating anybody, what the Freudian slip, the second in as many months, achieved was to establish how high the cover-up goes.
What remains to be established is whether the fraud itself goes as high.
We say in Gikuyu njamba irundagwo ni mucakwe (a great warrior can trip on a maize cob).
By David Ndii
Page 1 2