Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu broke two cardinal rules of Kenyan politics, but for some reason, he did it with reckless abandon, managing to simultaneously dismiss the political wishes of the occupant of the house on the hill, looting the coffers of the most populous county dry while maintaining his innocence in poorly constructed English and donning painfully oversize shirts.
Recently, Kenyans have come up with a phrase for describing the trajectory which the country’s political landscape is taking, Nobody Can Stop Reggae and on Wednesday evening, Lucky Dube’s spirit hovered over the Senate as legislators from the Kieleweke faction conspired to kick out Waititu despite last-ditch efforts by the beleaguered governor to summon his inner Orengo in an attempt to warn the legislators that tables may turn.
Waititu was not his confident self, he was at the mercy of cunning politicians. In fact, it would be accurate to suggest that his fate was already sealed before setting foot in the chambers.
Shortly after voting was concluded, Murang’a Senator, Irungu Kang’ata an unapologetic Kieleweke crusader who doubles up as majority chief whip could not hide his pleasure at how the events had unfolded. His fist was firmly in the air. He had been vocal in asking his colleagues to relegate Waititu to political oblivion .
Moments after that, the government printer had already started rolling and before midnight it was already gazetted that Waititu was no longer the Governor of Kiambu County.
Ladies and gentlemen welcome to Kenyan politics AKA the animal farm.
Why and how did it all come tumbling for a man so confident in his Political CLOUT that he claimed he only fears God and HOT porridge??
While there are no doubts that Waititu had made Kiambu a cash cow, there is another plausible reason behind his impeachment. Corruption is just the official charge.
It is possible that Waititu was ejected for his unwavering support for Deputy President William Ruto’s bid for the presidency.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has kept asking politicians to keep off politicking those who have failed to toe the line have put themselves on the firing line, even more so those from the Mt Kenya region.
Should Waititu, aware of the skeletons in his closet, have kept away from heavy metal politics? Is this an important lesson for politicians that they should read the doyen’s mood before committing to a political decision? The most likely answer to those questions would be yes.
On Wednesday, the senators were asked to vote based on the charges which Waititu was facing.
The governor’s first charge was gross violation of the Constitution, County Government Act, Public Finance Management Act, and Public Procurement and Disposal Act.
The second charge was a crime under the national law while the third charge was abuse of office and gross misconduct.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had recommended Waititu’s prosecution after it emerged that the governor had allegedly stolen funds from the county and channeled them to his wife Susan Wangari Ndung’u and daughter Monica Njeri Ndung’u accounts. The daughter was later acquitted after it was established that “she was unaware of the theft plot”.
According to authorities, Waititu’s kin had done business with the county since he ascended to office in 2017 and by December 2019 close to Ksh19 million had been transferred to their accounts.
But more was to come. It would be later revealed that the Senate was investigating the governor over Ksh2.1 billion audit queries in Kiambu. He denied any wrongdoing.
But what cooked the governor’s goose was failing to share the loot, had Waititu roped in the MCAs who sent him packing in the first place. It is very likely wouldn’t have found himself in this mess. Had he also roped in some senators he also wouldn’t be here.
Kenyan politicians are known to let ‘the generous’ off the hook had he sang to the tune. He would still be at the corner office in Kiambu.
Now he has to deal with the judges.
Then there is the Deputy President William Ruto factor.
Waititu, like many other politicians from Mt Kenya, had defied President Kenyatta and pledged his support to DP Ruto.
When the Senate came for his head over the audit queries, DP Ruto was the first person to leap to his defense.
“Do not get worried about the audit query on South Sudan and former Presidents since we will answer that. Just answer queries touching on Kiambu, which you will be asked by the residents and other people” said Ruto in reference to claims that Waititu had used county funds to bankroll State House operations.
The chickens have finally come home to roost and the indomitable politician has been burnt with hot porridge.
Kenyan politicians should take notes.