Saturday, 13 February 2010

Uhuru Kenyatta vs Raila Odinga

KENYA : Uhuru Kenyatta, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, has declared war against Prime Minister Raila Odinga, in order to defend his privileges.

According to a source inside the Kenyan ministry for finance, Uhuru Kenyatta has been furious with the Prime Minister Raila Odinga since he learnt that the latter had recently ordered his permanent secretary Mohammed Isahakia to draw up a directive giving the Prime Minister’s office the power to authorise investigations by private companies into corruption affairs involving ministers and government top ranking civil servants. Up to then, this particular task of ordering audits of the financial management of government ministries carried out by private companies had been the prerogative of the finance ministry. Odinga also wants ministries to be no longer able to carry out their own investigations into the scandals involving them, the task now going to the Efficiency Monitoring Unit, part of the Prime Minister’s office. Finally, he wants a clause to be introduced in the system to evaluate the performance of government officials to oblige the ministers and their permanent secretaries to resign when a major scandal breaks out in their ministry, even if they are not directly involved.

Kenyatta is opposed to these new dispositions. He considers they question the balance of power agreed in 2008 between President Mwai Kibaki and Odinga, his rival at the time, when they formed the governing coalition. He is believed to have already argued this case with Kibaki. However, this tussle is only the latest episode in the confrontation between Kenyatta and Odinga since 2007. It can only get deeper in the run up to the presidential election in 2012, in which both men are intending to run as candidates.

In The Indian Ocean Newsletter