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MPs blame Waiguru for National Youth Service scandal

Wednesday May 17 2017

Former Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru at the Jubilee Party's headquarters in Nairobi on May 1, 2017. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Former Devolution and Planning Cabinet secretary Anne Waiguru at the Jubilee Party headquarters in Nairobi on May 1, 2017. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JOHN NGIRACHU
By JOHN NGIRACHU
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MPs on Wednesday evening blamed former Devolution Cabinet secretary Anne Waiguru for the scandal at the National Youth Service as debate began on the report of the scandal by the Public Accounts Committee.

Some also blamed the House for approving higher allocations to the youth programme while others said MPs were part of the scandal in which more than Sh1.8 billion was stolen in some of the most brazen ways witnessed in Kenya.

But the anger was directed more at Ms Waiguru, now the Jubilee Party nominee for the Kirinyaga governor's seat, and the debate was filled with personal stories.

“I was defeated because of this report,” said committee member MP Jackson Rop, who lost in the Jubilee Party nominations last month. “I must have stepped on someone’s toes in the course of coming up with this report....” 

Kibra MP Ken Okoth apologised to his colleagues for speaking in defence of the NYS projects when the matter was brought up in the House.

Mr Okoth said he was under a lot of pressure when he supported the project backed by the government and told his constituents that the work being done by the NYS in the slum would help improve their lives.

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“Now, in hindsight, and as I read in black and white what is in the report, it is clear that we were tricked. It is clear that we the people of Kibra were taken advantage of and a few people or companies made millions as the people of Kibra were given tokens,” said Mr Okoth.

CABINET DECISION

Tongaren MP Eseli Simiyu said Ms Waiguru could not escape blame because there was a Cabinet decision that gave Cabinet secretaries overall power over procurement in their ministries.

The committee said in its report, in which it recommended an investigation of Ms Waiguru and a lifestyle audit, that it did not get hold of the Cabinet decision despite its immense powers to get evidence.

When the report was published, Ms Waiguru said its net effect was to vindicate her assertions that she was not part of the scam.

But it was Cherangany MP Wesley Korir’s impassioned submissions that caused a stir in the House. “People will remember Uhuru for NYS as they did Kibaki for Anglo Leasing and Moi for Goldenberg,” he said.

He lamented the nomination of Ms Waiguru as the Jubilee Party candidate for the Kirinyaga gubernatorial seat and said the report “should be put in libraries in Kirinyaga and read out on Kikuyu radio stations”.

“We live in a country of vultures and wherever there is meat, vultures rush to eat,” he said.