Monday, February 8, 2010


Education Minister Prof. Sam Ongeri’s obstinate stance against calls for his resignation in the wake of the multi million shillings FPE scandal is both ill advised and poorly strategized as far as real politic is concerned. With the wealth of experience he boasts from the Kenyan political arena, he should know better than that. Consistent denials and allusions to real or imagined political witch hunts do little to salvage one’s integrity or win public sympathy. If only he looked around the cabinet, he is seemingly so desperate to remain part of, he would realise that the corruption tag in Kenya is not necessarily a career ender, but more an initiation to the ‘big boys’ lobby comprising the who is who in Kenya’s politics. Is there one among Kenya’s senior politicians that does not have a pending integrity issue? Indeed if Ongeri was keen enough he would learn from his colleagues that he can easily transform the dark stains from this encounter to appear more like the scars of a warrior who fought and survived a tough political battle.

Indeed if Ongeri sought the advice of his predecessor, a fellow professor, he would be reminded that having been indicted by a commission of inquiry into Kenya’s grandest corruption scandal neither killed his presidential ambitions not stopped him from serving in the plum internal security docket he currently holds . The magnitude of the Goldenberg scandal was not mountain enough to deter his ascent to the leadership of the President’s party PNU.

Ongeri would benefit from the experience of his colleague in the energy docket, who did not die and was not politically extinguished by the repeated playing of John Githongo’s all famous recording of his alleged cover up attempt in the Angloleasing Saga. Kiraitu would probably ask him if he ever heard of the Triton oil saga…. What happened to that storm in a tea-cup?

The son of Maria would share his latter day revelation that stepping aside is not akin to suicide, he would tell him how much folly his statement that he would “rather die than resign”, turned out to be, seeing that he is now enjoying his position at the trade docket. Ongeri would be consoled to find out that the senior British government officials who kicked off this stint of misery actually paid Kimunya a courtesy call, during their recent tour of the country.

Surely if only he consulted around, Ongeri’s misery would look much less of an ogre if he found out from the man at treasury how he resolved a 9 billion shillings ‘typing error’ and has since continued to be the presidents blue eyed boy.

He would still be in good company if he moved across the political divide to ODM. He would certainly be happy that he was not the agriculture minister sometimes last year… Certainly Bill would share with him some tricks on how to resolve such issues… I mean was there ever a maize scandal?

If Ongeri could bury his fury and listen more intently to the Prime Minister’s friendly advice he would hear the re-assurance that he is actually not facing the sack. Stepping aside is just the fastest way to resolve this matter…. let the storm die off and you will be back. The PM would surely know how to handle this matter; do you hear anybody asking any questions about any mollases? or even the alleged involvement of his family members and officials from his office in the maize saga? The Kenyan public are happily satisfied that these were nothing more than cheap politics.

If he is still in doubt that he can survive this storm he probably should have a long chat with his boss. Who probably would remind him that, the public regularly needs to hear the man at the top talk tough, but that has never kept him from reinstating his allies after the storm dies off. “We know how to deal with this less than ten years Goldenberg is out of the way, Anglo Leasing is out of the way, The Grand Regency saga is out of the way, The maize and oil Sagas are out of the way…etc etc …we are so good at this that nobody got arrested in the process…. Can you imagine even Kamlesh Pattni, whose story every Kenyan knows was so well sanitised he actually ran for parliament in 2007…take it easy Sam this is a small matter.”

Ongeri and his PS would be well served to heed the words of one local commentator, who observed that “Kenyans are like ENO, they react so explosively when the scandal breaks, but the reaction dissipates as soon as the water settles”