How do we end Grand Theft by politicians in Kenya?

19 mins read

We can all talk about bottoms up and bottoms down, but until we as a country stop the bottomless pit where key political figures and their accomplishes rob our country every day, we are going nowhere.

Let us start with what is in our face as Kenyans right now. Basically, these guys just rob the country and that is it.

Endless court appearances for 7 months for him now. So much for the independence of the Judiciary.

In Kenya, if you are rich your case would never be resolved in any court.

10 years and you are still good even with murder and grand theft like the Okoth Obado, Migori Governor’s case.

This is how our independent judiciary is.

If you are accused of corruption or even murder in Kenya and you are a rich politician, you are going to demand that it be taken to court because that is where it will die naturally.

But we need to dig deeper into how corruption has destroyed our country.

The Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) has stated quite clearly that one-third of our national budget of Kshs. 2 trillion and up is stolen by our elected thieves and gangsters.

That is more money than we borrow from the IMF and other countries. Even the money we borrow is just for these political thieves and criminals. We are talking close to Kshs. 1 trillion stolen from us every year by our elected “leaders”.

Simply put, Kenya cannot achieve any sort of development or prosperity for its citizens unless we completely kill the virus of corruption by our politicians.

Corruption in Kenya is a million times more dangerous for our country than COVID. At least for COVID, we have vaccinations. But how do we vaccinate our country against corruption?

One solution and it is very simple. Throw out the thieves from power with your vote. That is a vaccine we do not need to get from the US or anybody else. No Johnson and Johnson or Pfizer here.

It is in our hands.

It is your vote come August 2022 and maybe we can vaccinate the country by telling the thieves, their time is done and out kabisa. It is coming. And it is our choice.

Read: Who are the thieves and crooks President Uhuru talked about?

We have to be very specific. I remember Duale speaking about Uhuru Kenyatta talking about getting rid of thieves. Duale asked the president to speak with specificity.

Now here is the specificity.

One William Ruto was accused of stealing land from Adrian Muteshi, a victim of the 2007/8 Post Election Violence. That is prime theft. There are no other words for it and it was proven in court.

Do we want that kind of land thief as our president? That is a decision Kenyans will make in August 2022.

Of course, just this Monday, November 8, 2021, the Environment and Lands Court Judge Stephen Kibunja ruled that the same Ruto has a land theft case to answer in Eldoret where prime plots of land in the town were allocated to him and as usual, he (Ruto) used the horrible National Land Commission (NLC) to cook up things to defend his land grab.

That has been thrown out by yesterday’s court ruling.

Here is that case.

Then William Ruto has the Weston Hotel on the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) grabbed land. That case too was sanitized by the National Land Commission (NLC) for the deputy president, who now just wants to pay KAA for grabbing their land.

The matter is before the courts right now and if he loses there it could get very nasty for him.

As per practice, if Weston Hotel is proved to have been built on stolen land it can be demolished. That to me would make no sense. If the courts determine that Ruto once again stole the KAA land, please don’t demolish the building.

Hand it over to KAA to do whatever they want with it. What happens to the criminal thief after that I don’t know, and quite frankly I don’t care as long as the public land is reclaimed by the government.

There are those who might say how come I am only focusing on William Ruto. Well, the simple fact is, evidence on the ground is loaded against William Ruto, and sooner than later he will have to deal with the facts and the court cases.

But how about Raila Amollo Odinga, the other credible candidate in the 2022 presidential elections? Is he clean as pamba? I don’t know.

There has been a lot of talk about Spectre Company that Raila owns.

Read: Jubilee Horror Show coming to an End

I first visited the Spectre Company premises in 1995 when I returned to Kenya, after 7 years as a refugee in Tanzania and later Canada. I went there to visit Raila, whom I first met at Kileleshwa police station in Nairobi in August 1982 after the August 1, 1982 coup attempt.

Now Spectre is located in some real prime land in Kisumu just next to the airport. Did Raila grab the land in Kisumu where Spectre is now located? If there is any evidence for that then I want Raila in jail mara moja. So far no evidence on that has emerged but who knows?

Are there any other corrupt criminal activities that Raila in his long political life has engaged in? I have no idea but if there is anything out there, bring it up.

The other area where I want the former prime minister to come clean with Kenyans is the endless circus with Yala Swamp, from Dominion company taking the land with the help of Lake Basin Authority, to right now when they want to hand it over again to a new private company.

Yala Swamp, being right at the entrance of river waters to the mighty Nam Lolwe, Lake Victoria is not just a water filter for the lake. It is by far one of the most fertile tons of land anywhere in the world. We can do and produce anything there. But it is just being grabbed and rendered useless to the people who live there.

This is my question for Raila. Are you Mr. Raila Amollo Odinga aware of what is going on with Yala Swamp?

If not, why?

How can we hand over such an important asset of our country to foreign companies who have no accountability whatsoever to Kenyans?

If anybody told me that Raila was being paid in the backside to facilitate the misuse and squander of Yala Swamp, I would leave my job and personally go to grab Raila, and escort him to prison myself.

I will ask my four sisters to join me in that big job for the country and I know they would because they love their country and live there.

Now here is Raila’s friend the governor of Siaya Mr. Rasanga who is my neighbour in Bondo Town.

The Yala place is a gift by itself. But we have to work on it.

Overall, our tax money is up for grabs by politicians every single day, and until we address that forget all this talk about development.

One classic example is our most celebrated act of parliament which established the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in 2003 during the rule of President Mwai Kibaki.

Kenyans were rightfully delighted to have a funding mechanism focused on community development from the grassroots. Talk about bottoms up. This was supposed to be it.

How has it fared now that someone like William Ruto wants to double the CDF funds? The evidence of history on CDF and other community funding mechanisms like the devolution funding for the 47 counties is pretty bad.

Here is the money allocated for CDF in Kenya since 2003:

YearTotal Annual
CDF Allocations
2003/4KSh 1.3 billion
2004/5KSh 5.6 billion
2005/6KSh 7.2 billion
2006/7KSh 9.7 billion
2007/8KSh 10.1 billion
2008/9KSh 10.1 billion
2009/10KSh 12.0 billion
2010/11KSh 14.3 billion

That is Kshs. 70 billion in seven years. We don’t have data for the last ten years and it is probably way bigger than the Kshs. 70 billion.

Now Ruto wants to double it. Fair enough.

Read: Anne Waiguru joins Ruto to complete the real package for youth empowerment

But what has CDF actually achieved for Kenyans or is the money and the doubling of it is just huge pocket money for Members of Parliament? Then we will get to the county government looting.

Yes, CDF is pocket money for the politicians and they can double or triple it.

Here is just a snapshot of how CDF is pocket money for politicians. Same with County Budgets.

But this is where it goes.

In most cases, they have failed to back their spending with appropriate supporting documents

In Summary

•The auditor questioned the Sh38 million project at Huruma Secondary School which has stalled on the ground floor despite the Mathare CDF spending Sh18 million, almost half of the contract amount.

•In Laisamis, the auditor questioned the Sh54 million variance between what the committee chairman said was received from the NG-CDF board and what records indicate. Auditor General Nancy Gathungu.

Management of the National Government Constituency Development Fund remains a major challenge, with millions of shillings unaccounted for, Auditor General Nancy Gathungi has said.

Gathungu in her 2018-19 audit report reveals that most constituencies cannot account for millions spent to finance various development projects in their jurisdictions.

In most cases, the constituencies’ managements either fail to back their spending with appropriate supporting documents, or in other cases the money does not reach the intended projects.

The auditor questioned the Sh38 million project at Huruma Secondary School which has stalled on the ground floor despite the Mathare CDF spending Sh18 million, almost half of the contract amount.

The tender was for the construction of classrooms and an administration block.

“Management did not provide documents showing the program of work, level of completion and measures taken against the contractor for failure to meet contractual obligations,” the auditor said.

The constituency also incurred Sh240,000 on office rent during the 2018-19 financial year after spending Sh22 million in the previous year to fund an office block.

Sh4 million was incurred on renovations, tiling, and partitioning of the said offices during the year under review.

In Wajir West, Gathungu said Sh3.7 cheques were never presented to their destination and other cheques worth Sh78,000 for various learning institutions were stale and had not been reversed in the cash book as required.

In Laisamis, the auditor questioned the Sh54 million variance between what the committee chairman said was received from the NG-CDF board and what records indicate. 

The receipts and payments reflect that some Sh108 million was advanced to the North Eastern constituency from the board.

However, the CDF chairman’s report indicates that they only received Sh54 million.

Gathungu further questions Sh780,000 the Laisamis CDF committee spent on monitoring and evaluation and which they did not provide supporting documentation.

In Shinyalu, Gathungu has red-flagged Sh2 million irregular disbursements to two primary schools.

The two schools Shimoli and Shivakala Primary Schools were in the previous year reported having received Sh1 million each for replacement of cheques for construction of two classrooms and pit latrines which were not implemented.

“The management was in breach of the law and the people of Shinyalu did not get value for the Sh2 million to the two institutions,” Gathungu said.

The auditor general flagged Sh6 million expenditure at Wajir North.

The money was for the construction of classrooms which no tender documents and other relevant supporting documents were availed for audit review.

The constituency spent Sh4.7 million for the construction of Malaba Primary School perimeter fence with gate and sentry box in which the projects were procured through local notice instead of open tenders as required by law.

The report also reveals that in Suba North, Sh1.3 million was incurred in sporting activities which include the purchase of uniforms, balls and trophies.

Read: Dr. Miguna’s Right to go to Kenya is back on the Front pages: Thanks to ex-CJ Dr. Willy Mutunga

However, the management did not provide store records to support receipts and issues of items.

“The distribution schedule which was provided did not indicate the actual date of distribution of the sports items,” Gathungu said.

She said the management was in breach of law in the construction of Sh47 million Mbita Medical Training Center whose records indicate that Sh1.8 million was spent before the project commenced.

The constituency spent Sh3 million on graveling of a 2km access road to Wakondo Primary School, Sh3.8 million grading of 2.6km road to Nyamaji Kisaka and Nduru Primary.

It emerged that the projects were under the county government.

“This is contrary to the provisions of Section 24 of NG-CDF Act, 2015 and the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution,” Gathungu said.

In the same constituency, Sh40,000 was paid for a student at Tom Mboya High School despite records showing the student was not registered at the institution.

If our human rights and civic organizations were worth anything they could have done a complete review on how CDF and County budget money has been used to improve the lives of Kenyans in the last decade.

That data and information should be available to Kenyans to assess how our devolution and CDF money is working for the country.

But obviously, our civic and human rights groups are busy doing other things, if not nothing at all. What a shame. And we pay them to do nothing, same as we pay the M.Ps and governors.

We are screwed for now, but I am very positive we are going to fix our country and get it back for us as citizens. On that, I have no doubts.

In our country, if we cannot deal with and kill corruption by politicians and state officials, we do not have a chance to develop at all.

Everybody knows that. Now let us do something about it in the August 2022 General Elections.

We have that chance and we have to use it.

And we will.

Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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