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Mithika Linturi: Why I spared Anne Waiguru from sack

Mithika Linturi: Why I spared Anne Waiguru from sackMithika Linturi: Why I spared Anne Waiguru from sack: Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi has, for the first time, opened up on how President Uhuru Kenyatta prevailed on him to drop the censure motion against Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru.

 

In an interview with the Sunday Nation, the lawmaker said he succumbed to pressure from the Head of State to let Ms Waiguru off the hook.

 

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“As a leader, you must listen to others. We have come a long way with the President and I could not allow the motion to come between us. No one wants the President to plead with them, it is not good particularly on a matter of national interest,” he said.

 

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The vocal legislator, whose motion was dropped on a technicality on Thursday after he failed to appear in Parliament to give notice, claimed he acted out of respect.

 

“How many people can stand up to the President and disrespect him?” he asked. “You say ‘No’ and it becomes an act of defiance yet we still have a long way to go with him.”

According to the lawmaker, a meeting with President Kenyatta at State House on June 4 sealed the fate of his motion.

 

He said the President’s main concern was that Cord was taking advantage of the threat to impeach Ms Waiguru to whip up emotions during their rallies.

“Having coincided with the time Cord is issuing ultimatums on national dialogue, the President felt it was not strategic. That was why he requested me to rethink my move,” he said.

 

However, he said he agreed to quietly drop the motion but told the President to ask Ms Waiguru to change her style of running the ministry.

 

“There was no other reason for me to insist on the motion especially after the President gave me his word that he would look into issues I raised about Ms Waiguru,” he said.

 

A section of legislators, led by Mr Linturi, had accused the powerful Cabinet Secretary of arrogance. Her troubles seemed to have been triggered by the transfer of the National Youth Service Director-General Kiplimo Rugut allegedly through SMS and replacing him with Dr Nelson Githinji. The CS, however, denied sending such a text message and insisted she followed all the procedures.

 

On reports that there had been many secret meetings which culminated in the final one with President Kenyatta, Mr Linturi said: “We had two or three such meetings with Jubilee leaders who were concerned about the effects of this motion.”

 

Mr Linturi dismissed talks by disgruntled supporters of the motion that he could have been offered money to change his mind. At least 100 MPs were said to have endorsed the motion, with those from the URP stronghold of Rift Valley — where Mr Rugut comes from — thought to have been keen to remove Ms Waiguru.

 

“As a Jubilee MP, I have a duty to defend the government. There was no other reason for doing so other than the agreement that the timing was poor. There is nothing like having been compromised. My primary intentions when coming up with the motion were very noble,” he said.

He insisted the change of mind did not mean he could not sponsor another motion in future against any public servant.

 

“The move on Ms Waiguru’s case was informed by the prevailing circumstances. I have not, however, abrogated my oversight role. I will do the same in future if conditions demand,” he said.

According to a notice of motion he had given to the House Business Committee on Finance, Planning and Trade, Mr Linturi wanted the minister sacked on allegations of misusing her office in making public appointments and sacking senior officials.

 

He accused her of failing to give wise counsel to the President in regard to the appointment of the NYS director-general.

 

And even as he opened up about the meetings, the Sunday Nation separately established that the meeting with the President was fixed after the Jubilee Parliamentary Group PG meeting held on June 3.

 

It is understood that Mr Kenyatta made it clear to the MP that the motion was generating a lot of negative energy at a time the government had so much on its plate.

 

The President is said to have also been concerned that allowing the impeachment of Ms Waiguru would also expose other Cabinet Secretaries. There are already indications that some MPs intend to kick out Information Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.

 

The two Majority leaders in Parliament — Mr Adan Duale and Mr Kithure Kindiki — are said to have been involved in organising the meetings.

 

HOTEL MEETING

 

Before the State House meeting, Deputy President William Ruto had met the Igembe South MP at Western Hotel, Nairobi, on May 25. The two met again in Mr Ruto’s offices on Harambee Avenue on June 10 before the Deputy President left for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

 

Mr Linturi said the withdrawal was also forced by the hostility he was facing in Meru.

“I was becoming isolated by my people. They had branded me a traitor, a tag that was going to poison my relationship with them,” he said.

 

Mr Linturi said he didn’t want to sacrifice his relationship with the President.

There was an earlier closed-door meeting on June 7 in Meru, after the wedding of Buuri MP Gatobu Kinoti.

 

The meeting was also attended by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Prof Kindiki Kithure, Maara MP Kareke Mbiuki. An MP from Meru County who attended one of the meetings said Mr Linturi’s major worry was how to suddenly climb down especially after putting up a spirited fight and even promising to shrug off pressure.

 

MORE PRESSURE

 

To help him, a plot was then hatched to have Jubilee leaders pile more pressure on him so he is seen not to have given up the fight so easily, Sunday Nation learnt. The Wednesday meeting with MPs at Nairobi’s Panafric Hotel, where Mr Linturi insisted he would soldier on, was said to have been part of the plot.

 

“When he finally agreed to change his mind, we agreed to help him gracefully exit without injuring his political career,” a TNA MP, who declined to be named, said.

There are reports that some legislators are plotting to discuss Mr Linturi’s conduct in the National Assembly for betraying their trust after seeking signatures.

 

On Saturday, Prof Kindiki admitted that the motion would have seen Ms Waiguru lose her job had it been allowed to proceed.

“The motion was bound to go through if we did not act fast. It is true that the Head of State and his Deputy intervened in this matter,” he said.

 

The Jubilee leadership was taken aback at the manner Mr Linturi managed to get MPs, especially from the government side to sign up in support of the motion.

 

They had initially assumed that even getting an MP to second the motion would be a toll order and the moment lawmakers stampeded in to approve the motion, they were sent on a panic mode.

 

The threat was real and although Cord MPs appeared to send signals that they were uninterested in the motion, the Jubilee side was suspicious.

 

“We knew that the opposition wanted to infiltrate this, there will be no carcass for hounds in Jubilee. Jubilee will rule up to 2017 and beyond,” Mr Duale said.

Source-nation.co.ke

PHOTO | EVANS HABIL Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi addresses journalists at the Panafric Hotel in Nairobi on June 11, 2014 after attending a breakfast meeting with colleagues to discuss impeachment of Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru. He insisted the motion would proceed.

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