Ringera: Too much noise over small issues

The furore over Justice Aaron Ringer’a reappointment to the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission is an unfortunate piece of drama that has induced a frenzy of euphoria among legislators and the general public.

Justice Aaron Ringera

Justice Aaron Ringera

When the euphoria wears off, most will realize that nothing really changed despite what is billed as an iconic step by Kenya’s Parliament to reject the re appointment done by President Mwai Kibaki.

If anything, the ongoing cheap drama is working out perfectly as a tactic by Kenya’s ruling classes to engage in political bargaining, or horse trading, while hoodwinking the people that democratic space is growing.

Now, legislators are on a blood frenzy as they vow to re-examine previous executive appointments and subject them to a similar fate. If Members of Parliament go through with their threat, there will be total chaos in State Corporations and government departments as it will be difficult to tell who is in charge.

Despite all the hullaballoo about the legality or otherwise of the reappointment, the core of the saga was that the ODM wing of government was not consulted over the appointment. Prime Minister Raila Odinga tried to play down the issue so as not to appear as opposing the President but his allies, James Orengo and Prof Anyang Nyongo, could not have opposed Ringera’s reappointment without Raila’s tacit approval and encouragement.

The Ringera saga is reminiscent of previous tussles over the powers of the two main principles in the Giant Coalition Government, namely President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga. The Prime Minister has numerously said that he is an equal to the President and therefore should be consulted in every government decision. The result of the impasse over powers has resulted in a divided government.

Confusion in government was evident in parliament during the week as Cabinet Ministers harshly attacked their own government. When challenged to resign for disagreeing with their boss – the President – the ministers argued that they were debating as ordinary legislators and not as Cabinet Ministers.

The principle of an independent prosecution agency to tackle grand corruption was proposed by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) back in 1997. It was then known as the Kenya Anti Corruption Authority (KACA) and was meant to be an independent body that could prosecute top government officials. However, the very concept of a parallel prosecution body was not acceptable to Kenyan authorities and efforts were made to ensure its downfall.

On December 22, 2000, the High Court in the case of Gachiengo Versus Republic (2000) ruled that the existence of KACA undermined the powers conferred on both the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police by the Constitution of the Republic of Kenya. In addition, the High Court further held that the statutory provisions establishing KACA were in conflict with the Constitution. That spelt the death of KACA.

The present KACC was established in 2003 by enactment of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act. Justice Aaron Ringera as Director and three Assistant Directors formally took office on 10th September, 2004.

KACC has been accused of not prosecuting top personalities who have been implicated in corruption and instead going after “small fish.” In its defence, KACC says that it lacks powers to prosecute and it can only investigate and forward the files to the Attorney General. This situation is likely to persist as there are many in government who are uncomfortable with the idea of multiple prosecuting agencies in the country.

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8 Responses

  1. Your Comment:
    “This situation is likely to persist as there are many in government who are uncomfortable with the idea of multiple prosecuting agencies in the country.”

    Oh please…..give us a break.
    The reason is that AG Wako can be relied upon NOT to prosecute the big fish in Government. He was morally and financially corrupted by Moi back in the 1990s and he’ll always do the President’s bidding.

    Kibaki is very happy with the way things are. As far as Kibaki is concerned, no politician or senior civil servant should get prosecuted or convicted for corruption in Kenya.

  2. In the midst of the noise and acrimony, we tend to forget the purpose of the office or to demand accountability for the millions that have been spent on it for more than a decade.

    How many serious prosecutions has Ringera effected, and how much corrupt money has ever been recovered?

    Kenyan politicians have discovered ways of hoodwinking Wanjiku by continiously fighting in public, blowing up every little difference and having the press churn out kilometres of ink. Meanwhile, we stagnate as a country.

  3. i feel sorry for somaila they used to be a peace place. but now nooooooooway,it is unpossible to happen

  4. i feelsorry for somaila,it used to be a paece place.but now noooooooway.

  5. I just bumped into your site. Very informative. I shall become a follower. Keep it up

  6. Thank you for speaking up against injustice. It is not fair to go only after small fish when the big ones are swimming at ease.

  7. Really good points. Its good you fight for the small fish

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