Sunday, January 21, 2007

Public Enemy No. 1: Wako and Ringera

The war against corruption is officially over. And Kenya lost. That, it seems, is the conclusion of the grossly overpaid and just as grossly underperforming head of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, Justice Aaron Ringera and Attorney General Amos Wako. The charade of the last few years, during which the NARC government pretended to investigate the perpetrators of the Anglo Leasing scam, has been dropped and the major suspects exonerated without so much as seeing the inside of a courtroom.

On the recommendation of Justice Ringera, the AG, himself accused of wrongdoing in the matter, officially declared the innocence of the senior government officials implicated in the Anglo Leasing affair. The people who sought to give Kshs. 50 Billion of our hard-earned tax money to a fictitious company have escaped scot-free. Even by the particularly low standards set by the Kibaki administration, this is a shocking admission of incompetence and downright criminal negligence within our law enforcement system.

It is amazing that Wako and Ringera, the two people principally responsible for waging the war on corruption, have failed to successfully prosecute a single individual in connection with the two largest scams in Kenya's history -Anglo Leasing and Goldenberg- involving the theft and attempted theft of a total of at least Kshs. 118 billion. That they still have their jobs is an eloquent comment on the NARC government's oft-proclaimed commitment to eradicating graft. More telling is the fact that the only anti-corruption warrior to take his job seriously was forced to flee the country in fear for his life. John Githongo, the former Permanent Secretary in charge of Governance and Ethics in the President’s Office, has released a statement repudiating the excuses given by Wako and Ringera for their latest failure.

It is now obvious that these two are part of the corruption problem and not part of the solution. For as long as they remain in office, there will be no serious attempt to bring to book the people responsible for what the Vice-President Moody Awori once described as "grand corruption at the heart of the government" (and he should know -he is one of those accused by Githongo in relation to the Anglo Leasing scandal). Having effectively spat on the constitutional protections accorded their offices, it is now of paramount and overriding importance that Wako and Ringera, the two millstones around our collective necks, be removed from office. Kenya can survive incompetent politicians, even one in State House. But the nation cannot long endure incompetence or negligence in the professionals charged with keeping those politicians in check.

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