In Summary
  • Lately the President has embarked on a rather vicious and public war against graft.

  • And this war has, and continues to ensnare both medium and high profile casualties.

  • Mr Kenyatta has given a furious warning to those in the habit of looting the country.

A video clip has been doing rounds on social media for about a week. It is a few seconds long and it depicts an angry President Uhuru Kenyatta talking at his Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri. It looks and sounds like the President is telling the minister never to repeat the act or he will face near mortal consequences. Those who understand the language of discourse between the two, like the colleague sitting opposite me at the office, tell me the President says “try paying them and you will see”.

MAIZE FARMERS

If one views the short clip without understanding its context, one may make a lot of assumptions. So let me put it in its immediate context so we can be on the same page.  The clip is a clever edit of a concluding part of a dress down the President was giving the minister, in public, for failing to pay farmers who delivered their maize produce to government.

The occasion was the day of the official opening of this year’s annual Agricultural Society of Kenya show in Nairobi on October 4, 2018 and the President was addressing the plight of the farmers who had not been paid for the maize they delivered over a year ago.

NON-PAYMENT

The President was incensed because there has been a lot of talk of corruption surrounding the way the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB), the parastatal under the Agriculture ministry whose mandate it is to buy and store cereals from farmers across the country to ensure that we always have enough food reserves.

The allegations have it that NCPB irregularly purchased maize and paid over Sh11 billion to suppliers whose identities are shrouded in mystery. This at the expense of genuine farmers who toiled, laboured, and also supplied the public cereals’ custodian. For this, some seven NCPB managers and a former principal secretary are in court on corruption charges.

CORRUPTION

Lately the President has embarked on a rather vicious and public war against graft. And this war has, and continues to ensnare both medium and high profile casualties. We have seen managing directors of parastatals, principal secretaries in ministries, directors of departments and even judges dragged to court on allegations of engaging in corruption. We have also witnessed private citizens hitherto unknown but who have accumulated millions of shillings suspected to have been stolen from the public coffers also hauled before the law for their involvement in alleged impropriety.

But it seems the corrupt are not giving up!

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