by David Karani
Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi has hit out at President Uhuru Kenyatta and the Jubilee administration fopr failing the nation in 2018.
In a scathing attack on the President, Mudavadi singled out the runaway corruption and huge debts as the major failures for Jubilee Party in 2018.
Mudavadi was addressing the media at Mikaye Restaurant in Nyali, Mombasa County.
The statement titled ‘Rededicating ourselves to a renewed patriotic agenda for Kenya in 2019’ outlined several gaps that ANC feels need to be addressed urgently to make Kenya governable.
“We have steadfastly addressed issues facing our nation, being conscious of our role as a responsible political party in the opposition and as a partner in the National Super Alliance (Nasa) coalition,” he said.
“The government responded in some measure to some of our concerns and although the war against corruption is picking up, some matters that we raised in the year remain unattended to and stubborn thorns in the national flesh.”
The ANC leader said Kenyans were hurting and all indicators show that unless they make a deliberate about-turn, they shall continue hurting.
“The ratio of debt to our GDP will be unmanageable,” he said, an enumerated the big number of listed companies that have issued profit warnings.
“The rate of employment has not improved, businesses are downsizing and SMEs are folding up. Worst of all, the country is in an unsustainable deep debt hole. We have recorded the highest debt in Kenya’s history yet the government continues its unbridled borrowing, without clear focus on the purpose of borrowing or proper accountability on such borrowed funds.”
Mudavadi noted that the Constitution says the burdens and benefits of public borrowing shall be shared “equitably between present and future generations”, but said it is unfortunate that Kenya has borrowed to feed the greed and unduly burden future generations.
“It is that bad yet the government has not been sincere on the nature of external loans when it is clear that the dominance of commercial loans is hurting Kenyans. The country is borrowing one loan to repay another; it is basically loan kiting, which is not sustainable,” he said.
The ANC boss said, however, that it is sad that Kenya waived its sovereign immunity in arranging for the loan by exposing a strategic national and regional resource.
“What was done in darkness is now coming to light and if this trend continues, Kenya could be auctioned in the long run. We demand full disclosure on the loan status, all agreements and guarantees by the national government and the government’s plan to manage the debt,” he said.
Mr Mudavadi pointed out that many countries have faced challenges worse than Kenya’s but have re-emerged.
“But this has only been possible with focused leadership and political goodwill, both of which are lacking in the Jubilee administration,” he said.
He called for an overhaul of the legal and administrative structures of the Public Debt Management Office.
“The office should be autonomous from the National Treasury and its decisions binding upon approval by parliament. In light of the public finance principle of openness, it shall also carry out public participation,” he said.
The ANC leader went on to say that his party welcomed President Kenyatta’s public declaration to fight corruption but asked him to walk the talk and intensify the crackdown through the lifestyle audits he pledged.
“Recently unravelled scandals and corruption are daunting. Are we running a government or a pirates’ paradise? Why would managers of a public utility conspire to paralyse it for self-enrichment?
“Is it that the moral fibre of our society is irrevocably broken or that public duty has been corrupted to the extent that public theft is a reward for being in government?”
The politician said the efforts of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions should not go to waste for fear of the loss of political friends as “it is better to lose such friends and regain the country”.
He said all agencies and institutions must join the war against corruption to ensure it is adequately equipped and funded.
“It is self-defeating, for example, to call on the Judiciary to expeditiously play its role while also starving it of funds, equipment and personnel,” he said.
“We have noted with keen concern attempts by both the Executive and the Legislature to arm-twist the Judiciary through thinly veiled verbal innuendo as well as starvation of funds in budgetary allocations. This must stop. We will fastidiously keep watch against these practices in 2019.”
The Nasa principal promised that his party will keep the government on its toes to ensure the DCI, the ODPP, the Judiciary and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission have all the support they need.
“We call upon these institutions to double their efforts and not roll back the gains this far,” he said, adding graft lords cannot go scot-free so after conviction and sentencing, so agencies should recover assets and money and give them back to the people.
Mudavadi further said his party will lead the campaign to separate theft from tribes, arguing tribalism is one of the deadliest vices in the country.
“We refuse to allow those stealing from the public to insulate themselves using tribes and by the same token fan inter-ethnic animosities. The hydra of corruption and tribalism must be defeated completely. We will make that one of our major agenda as ANC,” he said.
Mudavadi also said his party will help and protect public whistleblowers by launching a public portal for that purpose.
“Members of the public will anonymously report the corrupt and their proceeds to the court of public opinion through this portal. The agencies can pick the leads from there,” he said.
The Nasa principal also spoke on the 2019 census and illegal payments by the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) to questionable maize importers, a circumstance he warned will “kill” the local farmer.
He reiterated the call for the president to appoint a commission of inquiry under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, Chapter 102.
“Corruption is an installed and insulated sector. The commission shall enable the public and stakeholders to participate in truth finding and an audit of the systemic sabotage that led to the institutionalised corruption in the National Youth Service (NYS), fertilizer market, Kenya Bureau of Standards and the National Treasury,” he said.
Regarding the census, he said a transparent process will ensure just and fair economic planning and development while malpractices will lead to economic and political injustices.
“This country has had issues with the manner in which the census is conducted and the results thereof. The 2009 census is a good example of a flawed and inconsistent process that left the county hanging from the cliff-top of uncertainty,” he said.
The Department of Planning nullified census results in eight districts on account of inconsistencies, Mudavadi narrated, adding they were in excess of about one million people.
“The residents of the districts went to court. The court questioned the process. We therefore have been living and using a faulty population estimate,” he claimed.
He wants the department to announce steps taken in preparation for the next census, including the procurement of necessary technology and the involvement of key stakeholders.
The ANC leader called for an end to extra judicial killings, saying 2018 saw a rapid increase in cases largely resulting from police use of excessive force.
“Verified reports suggest Mombasa, Nairobi, Kisumu, Mt Elgon and north eastern regions bore the brunt. The most blatant was the recent mowing down of people by police at Kolongolo in Trans Nzoia County,” he said.
Mudavadi asked security forces to respect the sanctity of life.
“We cannot boast of one of the best bills of rights in the world then condone clandestine killings. We must insist on protection, not fortification of illegalities,” he said.