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Waititu: The dodger with pompous budget

Sunday May 5 2019

Ferdinand Waititu

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu during a past event. He has been on the spot over questionable expenditures. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

KIPCHUMBA SOME
By KIPCHUMBA SOME
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Oops! He’s done it again. Ferdinand Ndung’u Waititu, alias Clifford alias Baba Yao, the good governor of the great county of Kiambu, has put his gigantic foot in his big mouth.

Like a fly follows a carcass, trouble follows Mr Waititu. When he is not throwing stones in Nairobi, moving rivers to make way for buildings or campaigning for Deputy President William Ruto, he is trending for the wrong reasons.

This time around, he was on the spot for his spectacular failure to account before a Senate committee questionable expenditures.

When Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang, the chairman of the Senate Public Accounts and Investments Committee, read to him his own county expenditure reports that showed that they had budgeted for, among others, retired presidents’ pension and the South Sudan peace process, Mr Waititu drew a big blank.

In front of cameras, the county CEO was clueless as he admitted that he had no idea how those strange items totalling to Sh2.5 billion found their way into his budget for the financial year 2017/2018.

CLUELESS

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It was apparent Mr Waititu and his staff had blindly copied the national government’s budget template thus ending up with bizarre and embarrassing budget lines like the Sh973 million for coordination of State House functions.

Hard-pressed to make sense of the figures, Governor Waititu said there are different possibilities which explained the document.

“This may be a system-generated document. Anything could have happened. It could be a mistake or someone may have put it in our documents to portray our county as being irresponsible,” he said.

The condemnations came swift and fast. From leaders, social media and experts.

At that point, even State House thought it was wise to distance itself from the Governor’s tribulations. “Just for the record, State House does not share any budgets with the County Government of Kiambu,” said State House Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita.

SQUIRREL

It was Mr William Kabogo, Mr Waititu’s chief political nemesis whom he defeated in the gubernatorial race in 2017, that coined Mr Waititu “wakahare”, meaning the “squirrel” in Kikuyu, during the campaign period.

Mr Kabogo, a man with an ego as large as Mr Waititu’s and a similar coarse character, said his opponent was a man with no etiquette, like a squirrel.

Well, the ever crafty Mr Waititu turned the insult on its head and to his advantage, saying voters were better off with him, a squirrel who only eats seeds, fruits and other small bits, rather than his opponent — whose name Kabogo means buffalo in Kikuyu — who gobbles up everything in his way.

And so in that moment at the Senate committee, when Wakahare was like a deer caught in the headlights, whom did the Governor divert the blame to?

Your guess is as good as mine. “This budget is for 2017/18 done by the previous government and was meant to portray my government in bad light,” he told KTN TV in an interview as he tried to explain the embarrassing mess he had been caught up in.

“We were elected in August 2017. We started using this budget in November 2017. It is not us who did this budget, it was Governor Kabogo’s budget.

BLAME GAME

On Friday, Mr Kabogo took to Twitter to shame him for attempting to shift the blame. “Shame on Waititu trying to shift blame,” he tweeted.

“Ask your assembly for this information. I’m not surprised that you got no clue what is where.”

The Governor denied that the county has spent “anything” relating to what has been said regarding Sudan and State House”, and this could as well be true.

The Senate committee has ordered the Auditor General to conduct a special audit within 45 days which will establish if any money was lost.

However, the whole affair has left egg on the Governors’ face, who has come across as a clueless leader who hardly pays attention to detail and has no idea what his juniors are up to.