12 September 2007
Posted to the web 11 September 2007NairobiWhen a Cabinet minister makes a pronouncement on a matter of public policy, the presumption is that he is expounding the Government position.It is also widely acknowledged that some ministers are more equal than others. This could be because of the dockets they hold, or their proximity to the inner circle that is known to have the President’s ear.National Security and Provincial Administration, minister John Michuki is one such personality. Which means his utterances cannot be dismissed as speaking out of turn; they are taken as official policy, or at least, to reflect the thinking of the inner sanctum.Thus it was when Mr Michuki on Sunday stated that this Government was not interested in pursuing those responsible for economic crimes under the previous government.Mr Michuki’s statement was contradicted by his Justice counterpart Martha Karua, who said yesterday such matters were still under investigation.Despite the clarifications, however, very disturbing signals have been sent out. Conflicting statements on an issue of such great public interest actually raise the spectre that the stated policy may be at variance with the policy in operation.We may well be told that pursuit of economic criminals continues, while the policy in practice is to turn a blind eye to such crimes.For many, the import may not be in contradictory statements by ministers, but in what has actually been achieved or not achieved. There has not been a single successful prosecution of grand corruption.Kenyans were shocked to learn recently that the Government had opted not to act on a report by international investigators on looted funds spirited out of the country by key figures in the previous regime.View that against the political alliance between those heading this Government and those in charge in the past regime, and it becomes easy to see why past crimes are not being pursued with any vigour.If we must forgive the past, then let us so do openly and in a structured and official way. It must be clear who is being granted amnesty and for what.