The Star (Nairobi)

22 February 2013

Kenya: I Won't Resign - Kimemia

HEAD of Public Service Francis Kimemia yesterday said he will not quit despite Prime Minister Raila Odinga's demand that he resign. Kimemia told the Star yesterday that he was ready to face any investigations including a public inquiry.

"There is no reason why anyone should quit. I have seen the allegations leveled against me and I will respond to them point by point tomorrow ( Friday). I also would like these allegations made public so that Kenyans know what we are being accused of. We are not ghosts and so there must people who have seen me meeting people in the places that have been listed. I can account for all my movements," Kimemia declared.

Yesterday the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has wrote to Kimemia and Internal Security PS Mutea Iringo over the CORD allegations that they have been supporting Jubilee presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta.

"We received a letter from CORD (which) mentions Kimemia and Iringo and other officers in the Office of the President with specific dates when they are accused of having engaged in campaigns. We cannot condemn anybody unheard and so we have asked them to respond to these allegations," said IEBC chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan yesterday.

"We have written to Kimemia to respond to the allegations CORD has raised. We have no power to summon. But we have given him a chance to give his side of the story," said Hassan.

"Under the Elections Act, public servants engaging in partisan campaigns are guilty of an offence and if convicted face six years in jail. It is the most serious offence by public servants as they use public resources and offices and so they should desist from engaging in campaigns," he warned.

IEBC's Code of Conduct Enforcement Committee, led by commissioner Mohammed Alawi, will evaluate the claims after Kimemia and Iringo respond.

Yesterday CORD presidential candidate Raila Odinga called for the resignation of Kimemia senior civil servants engaging in partisan politics.

Speaking at Wilson Airport en route to campaign rallies in Marakwet and Kitui yesterday, Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka called on those named in the letter to resign.

"All that we are asking for is for public servants to stay neutral. Those that want do the contrary should resign instead of playing partisan politics while also holding their posts in the civil service," Raila said.

CORD accused Kimemia of influencing members of the provincial administration and using relief food distributions across the country to campaign for Jubilee. Kimemia and NIS director Gen Gichangi were also accused of approaching CORD candidates to decamp to Jubilee.

"This is a very critical time in our country after we went through the terrible things in 2007 and we do not intend to go back there. Unfortunately we have a bureaucracy that has not changed. We have a pattern of civil servants involved in political campaigns. The head of public service (Kimemia) has become an activist for a political party and is recruiting and funding the provincial administration to campaign for Jubilee," Raila said yesterday. Raila said CORD's letter to IEBC was copied to election observers and diplomatic missions with concrete evidence.

"The letter is giving details of meetings which have been held, the venues and participants of those meetings and even the content of what had been discussed. Very senior officers of the government are involved. The names being mentioned were not just picked out of the blue. There is substantial evidence to show that those officers have been actively involved in the electioneering process," Raila said.

Kalonzo related how a district commissioner in Makindu interfered with his rally on Wednesday as part of the campaign for Jubilee. "The DC in Makindu was dishing out relief food in my presence. He did not even have the courtesy and recognize that I am still the serving Vice president," Kalonzo said.

"Our intention is not to remove the chiefs and assistant chiefs from where they sit. In fact, there is already a Statute agreed upon by the cabinet on how the provincial administration will be restructured to conform to the devolved governments but our opponents have perfected the lie that CORD would do away with the provincial administration," said Kalonzo.

"Our campaign has spoken of chiefs, assistant chiefs and village elders being coached to stage demonstrations and being blackmailed to campaign for one party and its candidates," Kalonzo said. "

These are acts of forces out to frustrate the emergence of a truly independent judiciary, a truly competent public service and a truly professional police force," he said.

Raila urged the provincial administration and police officers to ignore any illegal instructions by Kimemia. Assistant Defence minister David Musila accused IEBC of inaction even after he personally wrote to them saying that the provincial administration was campaigning for their opponents.

"I have details of all the meetings. I can produce live evidence of the venues, the dates and the people who have been meeting every Tuesday. But I am disappointed that IEBC has done nothing about it even after I forwarded the evidence to them," said Musila, who is running for the Kitui senate seat against Narc's Charity Ngilu, yesterday.

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