Monday, July 7, 2008

Revealed: How Kimunya was set up

Infighting amongst Kibaki’s inner circle, described by one senior government official as “bad blood” and by a powerful Cabinet minister as “sibling rivalry” has left Amos Kimunya and his cronies believing that he has been stabbed in the back.

According to Kenyan press reports, a Cabinet Minister has revealed how his thieving colleague Amos Kimunya was set up by his presumed "allies", only a day before the crucial debate in Parliament last week. “The previous day, we held a meeting in the Vice President’s office in which it was agreed that Kimunya was to sit back and let others come to his defence. They would respond on his behalf especially if the debate on the motion assumed political overtones,” said the minister.

The war in the kitchen cabinet played itself out on Tuesday night when his presumed allies did not lift a finger in his assistance when the motion of censure came up for discussion before the House Business Committee, that day chaired by Deputy Leader of Government Business and Justice minister, Martha Karua. Kimunya was apparently “shocked” to see that it was only the VP who stood with him arguing that debate on the motion be postponed to the following day to allow “the government side more time to prepare.” Even as Musyoka argued for more time, a number of ministers watched the show from the comfort of their seats, never once choosing to catch the Speaker’s eye and support the VP. It is instructive that the House Business Committee, in which senior members of government sit, approved the Kimunya motion even though the same government needed more time to prepare a defence. The meeting was chaired by Ms Karua, who is the deputy leader of government business in the House. A committee member who did not wish to be named said that the business of prioritising the censure motion was not opposed by anyone at the Tuesday evening meeting.

The revelations about infighting in the Kibaki circle came as Cabinet colleagues and members of parliament piled pressure on Kimunya to step aside or be sacked pending investigations into Grand Regency saga that has gripped the country. Narc Kenya, the party chaired by Karua, has demanded “a full disclosure” over the saga. As Karua kept to her seat on Wednesday, another Narc Kenya stalwart, Danson Mungatana, rose and confounded observers when he supported the motion. “Kimunya sat there expecting that there would be someone to start off his defence but there was none,” the Cabinet minister who did not wish to be named said. “That’s when he realised that there was a political battle going on and his opponents had found another opportunity to get at him.”

On Saturday, Karua , the acting Narc Kenya boss, said her party stood for transparency and accountability. She also became the first member of the Kibaki inner circle to call for Kimunya’s resignation. “Our position still remains and we shall continue to be vigilant whenever the law is flouted. Since Kimunya has been mentioned in the sale of the Grand Regency, which is said not to have been above board, he should step aside pending investigations,” said Karua. “There are others pointing an accusing finger at the beleaguered minister or shouting to protect him yet they too have cases pending in court. Let them be warned that their cases are very much on course,” she added.

She was addressing residents of Loitokitok during the homecoming ceremony of Kajiado South MP Katoo Ole Metito. Others present were Security Minister George Saitoti, assistant ministers Joseph Nkaissery, Mungatana, Peter Kenneth and Asman Kamama. The others were MPs Walter Nyambati, Njeru Githae, Gideon Konchella, Jamlek Kamau and former Naivasha MP Jayne Kihara. Prof Saitoti, who typically shuns controversy, steered clear of the Grand Regency saga. Instead he concentrated on mending fences with Nkaissery, with whom he shared a chopper.

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