If Cecily Mbarire is right, PLO Lumumba launched a preemptive strike to prevent her husband from filing suit in the High Court questioning his competence as Director of the Kenya Anti-corruption Commission, KACC. Dr Lumumba went on the air waves to denounce what he described as an attempted bribe by David Apaa, Ms Mbarire's husband. He explained that he had been compelled to go public because someone, it is still unknown whether in the KACC or outside, leaked information regarding the KACC's sting operation against Mr Apaa.
He stated that KACC had been conducting inquiries into dubious tenders awarded by the long troubled Ministry of Water and Irrigation, and that Mr Apaa, or a company controlled by him, was the subject of inquiry. As part of the sting operation, Dr Lumumba used his foundation to solicit donations from Mr Apaa. Or is it the other way round? that Mr Apaa suggested to the Director of KACC that he could slip him KES 100,000 through his foundation in order for KACC to drop the investigation against Mr Apaa?
Maina Kiai, writing in today's Saturday Nation, is asking some of the questions that the members of the Fourth Estate and indeed, Members of Parliament, should be asking (Public servants should not be allowed to own businesses or run foundations). As the Apaa case demonstrates, it is possible for the public servants so engaged to be compromised or, as is more likely, to use their businesses or foundations to solicit bribes from members of the public or indeed from persons wishing to do business with their departments.
Dr Lumumba was all vim and vigour when he took over from the hapless Justice Aaron Ringera, promising results. He has constantly been in the news, informing the public of his intention to bring down the 'big fish'. But, as Peter Mwaura satirically notes in today's Fair Play, he seems to have only nabbed the small fish: police men and women engaged in the act of soliciting bribes (How PLO briefed his operations team after the abortive Runyenjes sting, Saturday Nation, August 27, 2011). His behavior too, of late, has been quite odd. The Minister for Lands, James Orengo, was surely right in questioning the KACC Director's motives when he joined with members of the Law Society of Kenya in a demonstration organised against his ministry. It seems that Dr Lumumba has forgotten that he is a member of the Executive Branch and that it is unseemly of him to join with a civil society organisation to denounce the self-same government he serves in.
Parliament shall soon consider the creation of the Anti-corruption and Ethics Commission and at this moment it would be wise for them to consider whether Dr Lumumba's stay at the helm of that body will be a boon in the fight against corruption or a bane. When Dr Lumumba contested the Kamukunji seat in 2007, he proved to be a poor political campaigner or organiser, shipping in Tanzanian politicians to endorse his candidature. He was roundly defeated. This should have been fair warning for the men and women who fronted him to replace Ringera, J. When Parliament considers whether or not to retain him as the Director of the new Commission, they must take a hard look over his accomplishments as Director of KACC. If they are satisfied with his performance, he should be retained. However, I fear that they will look at his actions over the past six months and look for new blood elsewhere. The Apaa case may be the straw that finally broke the camel's back.