Women MPs from the Jubilee Coalition have differed with their male counterparts over whether Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru should be suspended in the wake of corruption allegations that have rocked the National Youth Service.
Two women MPs from TNA yesterday defended Ms Waiguru while their two male counterparts from URP demanded that the CS should step aside to pave the way for investigations into the scandal.
A third URP legislator, Ms Zipporah Kering, also questioned why Ms Waiguru was still in office.
The leaders’ comments at the weekend appeared to suggest that the debate had taken party and regional dimensions, with TNA and URP legislators pulling in different directions.
Meru Woman Representative Florence Kajuju and her counterpart from Nyeri, Ms Priscilla Nyokabi, said fighting Ms Waiguru amounted to fighting women and the youth in the National Youth Service programme. They also alleged that there was a plot by the Opposition to undermine women leadership in the country.
At a press briefing in Mombasa, the two said Ms Waiguru had performed exceptionally well, gaining recognition internationally and winning awards due to her work.
“She has not been mentioned by EACC, investigations are not complete, she should not step aside,” said Ms Nyokabi. She also called for quick completion of the investigations and a closure on the matter since “no money has been lost”.
However, Marakwet East MP Kangogo Bowen, said other Cabinet secretaries stepped aside when their ministries were implicated in corruption and called on Ms Waiguru to do the same.Mr Bowen said Ms Waiguru should follow the example of other state officers who were mentioned in corrupt dealings, and pave the way for investigations.
“We ask that Waiguru also steps aside so that the NYS saga is properly looked into,” he said. “The President should also come up with a new list of shame on this NYS saga. This will show his intention to get to the bottom of the issue.”
Two other URP lawmakers had, on Saturday, cautioned President Uhuru Kenyatta over what they called “selective application of the law” in dealing with top government officials implicated in corruption.
Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter and Nandi County Woman Representative Zipporah Kering questioned why the President was protecting Ms Waiguru.
Speaking in Lessos division, Nandi County, they challenged the President to let Ms Waiguru step aside for investigations into the alleged corruption allegations to take place.
COUNTRY IS LOSING
“Last year, I protested when former NYS Director Kiplimo Rugut was sacked through an SMS and replaced, and the President should not protect Waiguru,” said Mr Keter. “The same clique of top officials which ensured that Mr Rugut was dropped out of the NYS are involved in high level corruption in which the country is losing over Sh365 billion yearly.”
Ms Kering said it was ironic for some people adversely mentioned in corruption scandals to continue clinging to power yet the Jubilee administration had promised zero tolerance of corruption.
And the Wiper Senator for Makueni, Mr Mutula Kilonzo Junior, accused State House of undermining the fight against corruption by defending Ms Waiguru.
Mr Kilonzo said the top leadership was hoodwinking Kenyans that it was keen on eliminating corruption yet it “lacked interest in slaying the monster”.
While addressing a harambee at Kanga SDA Church in Migori County yesterday, Mr Kilonzo said: “The move by State House to come to the defence of Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, when she is still under a probe, is a clear testimony that some ministers are more important than others. It is not the duty of State House to tell Kenyans who is guilty and innocent … this is the work of independent bodies.”
The President’s spokesman, Mr Manoah Esipisu, had, on Thursday said State House would not require Ms Waiguru to step aside, despite pressure from the Opposition.
Yesterday, Ms Nyokabi and Ms Kajuju told ODM leader Raila Odinga to stop his campaigns against Ms Waiguru.
“He was the Prime Minister and Kibera MP, what did he do for the constituents? The few years Jubilee has been in power, particularly Ms Waiguru, has managed to change the face of the area. The youths are being empowered, getting jobs and earning a livelihood in less than two years, what the PM was unable to do for 20 years. He should leave her alone,” said Ms Kajuju.
Ms Nyokabi told Ms Waiguru not to be deterred and continue to work with dedication. They said women MPs would not support her removal from office.