President Kenyatta’s allies Thursday urged him to deal decisively with corruption, an indication of their worry that his inaction is politically damaging.
And the opposition said the corruption allegations against the Jubilee government would strengthen them at the next election.
Alarmed by mounting criticism of the Jubilee administration, some of the coalition’s MPs demanded the immediate sacking of top officials, including Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, whose ministries have been the focus of corruption allegations.
They warned that they would not “watch as the reign of the President is destroyed by people he has given the responsibility to serve in his government”.
The MPs first held a meeting at the Boma Hotel in Nairobi on Wednesday and later moved to Panafric Hotel in the evening.
Sources said Ms Waiguru, who is still facing a motion of impeachment initiated by Nandi Hills MPs Alfred Keter, attended the Panafric meeting to assuage the MPs’ anger.
On Thursday, MPs Esther Murugi (Nyeri Town), Wanjiku Muhia (Nyandarua Women Rep), Kabando wa Kabando (Mukurweini), Kigo Njenga (Gatundu North), Alois Lentoimaga (Samburu North) and Humphrey Njuguna (Gatanga) were categorical that time had come for the President to crack the whip.
However, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and Kericho Senator Charles Keter were moderate in their opinions, demanding speedy investigations and prosecution of CSs and principal secretaries linked to corruption scandals.
Ms Murugi urged Ms Waiguru to step aside for investigations to be carried out and if found to be clean, resume her duties.
“Let Anne Waiguru do the honourable thing and step aside so that the ministry can be cleaned where there is a problem. There are no sacred cows, the country has good women and men who can still do what Cabinet secretaries do. It is not a one-person show,” she said at the Boma Hotel.
Mr Njuguna told Ms Waiguru that her counterparts, Charity Ngilu (Lands), Joseph Kamau (Transport), Kazungu Kambi (Labour), Davis Chirchir (Energy) and Felix Koskei (Agriculture) were still out in the cold because of the corruption allegations in their ministries.
“What is so special about Waiguru? Ngilu, Kamau and other Cabinet secretaries stepped aside. Conscience requires her to step aside even if the allegations are not true,” he said.
For his part, Mr Duale said: “Like all other public servants, Cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries and other officers working in all government departments and ministries including our very own Devolution and Planning will be investigated and subjected to due process of the law and not mob lynching.”
Senator Keter, a close ally of Deputy President William Ruto, said “the narrative of corruption” could only be stopped if agencies charged with stopping the vice did their work.
The demands for Ms Waiguru and other top officials mentioned in corruption cases came on the heels of revelations of extravagant expenditure in the Ministry of Devolution and departments, which fall under it.
A document from the ministry tabled before the Public Accounts Committee showed that a TV screen in Ms Waiguru’s office had cost Sh1.79 million while a Yamaha piano cost Sh235,500.
The ministry also reportedly bought ball point pens for Sh8,700 each, among other items that triggered public condemnation.
However, Ms Waiguru defended herself, saying she was neither the ministry’s accounting officer nor the authority to incur expenditure holder.
“And for the record, I have no such TV screen or piano in my office. God bless Kenya,” she said.
She ruled out the possibility of resigning. “I intend to continue discharging my duties diligently as I have always done for as long as I am given the trust to do so,” she said.
On Thursday, ODM Political Affairs Secretary Opiyo Wandayi said the opposition was taking advantage of the corruption scandals in government to push forward its agenda of winning the next elections.