For the first time ever in independent Kenya, a sitting Finance Minister has been hounded from office to courts of law for, allegedly, dipping his hands in the public purse.
It was long coming. The monies that are alleged to have been lost are so huge such that not even President Uhuru Kenyatta would afford to be typical about it; throw a tantrum, promise stern action and forget about it.
How does the arrest and arraignment of the Cabinet Secretary for Treasury on charges of the nature of economic crimes speak of this administration especially in relation to its commitment to fighting corruption? What does it do to its public image? And just what does the whole unfolding speak of the personality of Henry Rotich, the man who until his unceremonious arrest was in charge at Treasury for the entire period that Jubilee has been in power?
First, this whole thing exposes the fact that Jubilee government is rotten to the core when it comes to issues of integrity of its mandarins in relation to staying true to the call of service. The biggest casualty is the Kenyan people, the economy.
As to what this does to the image of the Government, well, everything. Jubilee government has waded through economic scandals right from its first term in office but there had not been anything close to this. This goes well into the heart of government. It however presents the President with the opportunity to sound a fresh and unprecedented warning in his government especially if the prosecution can secure convictions in this one.
How Rotich missed the opportunity to go down in honour! Coming hot on the heels of the DPP’s press briefing that announced impending arrest and prosecution of the Arror and Kimwarer Dams scandal suspects should have been Rotich’s own, announcing his stepping down and willingness to cooperate until he clears his name. He did not do that. Seems he thought he could still fix something. How? Even after arraignment and agreeing to bond terms that strictly stopped him from accessing office, he still did not see the need to step aside. How was the country going to operate without some head at Treasury? What did he expect the President to do? He clearly did not envisage his fall – a bad performance for a man of his academic credentials.