State House on Wednesday lampooned Cord leader Raila Odinga as the “oligarch of official graft and the doyen of economic sabotage” in a no-holds-barred rejoinder to his criticism of Jubilee as a failing government.
In an unprecedented outbreak of political exchanges, State House appears to have compiled a dossier on the record of Cord leaders who served in the last administration and claims: “The entire Cord leadership is hobbled by corruption of the past and kleptomaniac fantasies. They are projecting their venal proclivities and penchant for abuse of office on the Jubilee leadership."
"All we can learn from their recent tirades is that the Opposition brigade expects public office to be an opportunity to loot.”
The fact that the response to Mr Odinga’s assessment of Jubilee was issued by the Presidential Strategic Communications Unit, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s official media outfit, indicates that this battle is being fought at high levels.
In its statement, State House said that Mr Odinga and his co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula were haunted by their past corrupt records and that they could easily use public office for personal financial gain.
Mr Odinga, who served as prime minister in the Grand Coalition government, was linked in the statement to irregular acquisition of the Kisumu Molasses Plant, the maize scandal in which he is accused of coercing the National Cereals and Produce Board to allegedly sell grain reserves to his family and friends cheaply.
Also criticised was his handling of the Kazi Kwa Vijana programme.
THE DARK DAYS
Mr Odinga has been critical of corruption in the current administration.
Jubilee’s strategy appears to be to cut his political legs by dredging up the questionable dealings he has previously been associated with.
“It is Raila Odinga who remains the oligarch of official graft and the doyen of economic sabotage. His famous interventions include ensuring that bulk grain handling at the port of Mombasa remains a monopoly, and pressuring the Kenya Revenue Authority to forgo billions of shillings in tax arrears from a large multinational tobacco firm,” State House said.
What was new was the allegation that Mr Odinga ignored Treasury protests and fast-tracked mega infrastructure projects in the last days of the Grand Coalition government, allegedly with the intention of corruptly benefitting from them.
State House claimed Mr Odinga’s criticism of the Eurobond was driven by his failure to receive “kickbacks” from such projects.
Mr Kenyatta’s staff were responding to Mr Odinga’s bold criticism of the President on Tuesday in which he described the Jubilee administration as a failed government and the most corrupt in Kenya’s history.
During what he said was a “state of the nation address”, the former PM accused President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto of taking the country back to the Kanu days of the 1980s and early 1990s.
The statement described ODM, which Mr Odinga leads, as “a closed, parochial, tribal, violent, repressive cult of personality overhung with the spectre of wanton chaos”.
State House also linked Mr Odinga to the post-election violence on 2007-2008, saying it was instigated under a “No Raila-No peace” principle “which enabled Odinga to walk over the dead and injured into the high office of Prime Minister”.
On Wednesday, Cord declined to respond to the State House statement.
State House also described Mr Musyoka, the Wiper Party leader and former Vice-President, as “the founding father of the National Youth scandals”.
“Among his well-known exploits is the grabbing of 2,000 acres of NYS land for use as his private ranch in Yatta,” it said.
Mr Wetangula, the Bungoma senator, was described as the “poster boy of corruption’s cancerous nature”.
“Moses Wetang’ula has mastered the international dimension of corruption through his involvement in the sale of Kenya’s embassy in Tokyo and more recently, his fetid dalliances with Big Tobacco multinationals,” it said.
State House further alleged that Mr Odinga’s attack on the Executive, Judiciary and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission was meant to lay the ground for violence in the next election.
“Cord’s prospects in the next elections are proving thin indeed (and) Odinga is desperately beating his drums of war,” it said.
At the Serena Hotel, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale led 20 MPs in defending the government, arguing that Mr Odinga’s criticism of the Jubilee administration was motivated by self-interest and populism.
A PRIMITIVE RESORT
“This administration has proved beyond reasonable doubt its commitment in the fight against corruption. No other administration has done what Jubilee has done in a short time in the fight against the vice,” Mr Duale said.
TNA chairman Johnson Sakaja said Mr Odinga had sensed defeat and was preparing his supporters against the government.
“The call by Cord to take up arms is criminal, primitive, backward and retrogressive,” said the nominated MP.
He also criticised Mr Odinga for opposing the Jubilee move to form one party and accused him of having spent a good part of his time in politics destroying major movements and strong political parties.
“He is a hardened ethnic merchant who has a history of sabotaging national movements. On his own admission he destroyed Kanu, which was a national party,” he said.