After weeks of holding forth on all things corruption, governance and Euro Bond, the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission finally threw down the gauntlet for CORD leader Raila Odinga. Odinga has claimed that hundreds of billions of shillings have been stolen by government officials in various ministries, singling out the Devolution ministry and the National Youth Service as major culprits.
Odinga also said that proceeds of the government’s inaugural sovereign bond was pocketed by individuals, and that the government’s books do not add up. As a result, he wrote to all institutions concerned with the execution and management of the bond demanding details and answers.His campaign has garnered considerable local and international attention, calling into question Kenya’s commitment to good governance and integrity. Various responses and clarifications from the government and Treasury have been rubbished by Odinga who terms them cover-ups.
Last week, Treasury CS invited Odinga to his office to receive details of the Euro Bond in hard and soft copies, and to be provided with any ‘further answers and clarifications he may require’. Odinga brusquely declined to honour then invitation, saying that he cannot be summoned ‘like a small boy’ by civil servants.
It was inevitable that Odinga’s frequent allegations of corruption and massive embezzlement should attract the attention of EACC, who have invited him to record a statement. Odinga equally rubbished the invitation. This led to today’s formal service of summons by the commission upon Odinga at his Capitol Hill offices. He was found flanked by four lawyers, three of who are members of Parliament , and one of who has his share of legal woes. Whilst he sounded defiant, rubbishing the summons, the body language suggests that Odinga is no longer riding the crest of a delusional wave of invincibility, and is beginning to contend with legal realities.
With the election date already set by the IEBC, it will be interesting whether Odinga will wilfully saddle himself with the legal encumberances attached to failure to honour lawful sanctions. While he has claimed that he is unafraid of jail, it is doubtful if he can countenance the possibility of not being on the ballot with similar equanimity.
Without a doubt, the EACC has served a timely reminder on Odinga: he is not above the law.