10 May 2013

Kenya: Ngilu Defends Track Record During Vetting

Lands, Housing and Urban Development Cabinet Secretary nominee Charity Ngilu has defended her track record during her tenure as Minister of Health in the eighth Parliament and Minister of Water during the ninth Parliament.

While answering questions during the second day of vetting in front of the Appointments Committee Ngilu said the allegations of corruption while she served as the Minister of Water were from those "who do not like to accept change." Ngilu singled out the National Water Corporation stating that money was being "siphoned" out of the parastatal which was not providing water to the country.

She said she tried to rid the NWC of entrenched corruption stating that those who did not like the changes being implemented came up with the accusations of corruption.

She said the Committee of Lands and Natural Resources investigated her conduct and tabled a report in parliament which was debated in parliament after which she was exonerated of all accusations.

Ngilu added the Committee of Equitable Resources also exonerated her of any wrongdoing and actually complimented her leadership for a "commendable job under my leadership."

The committee also put her to task on the allegation that she commissioned a dam to be built in Kangundo which remained incomplete and the accusation that she hired Director of Public Prosecution Teriako Tobiko's sister Peris Tobiko as a director in the Water Ministry to pacify the DPP during investigations into the allegations of corruption in the ministry.

In response Ngilu said that on the issue of the borehole she sees "malice in the work that I was doing" particularly in Kangundo as the area could provide a lot of water to the residents. Ngilu said she hired Peris Tobiko, now a Member of Parliament as a director in the Water Ministry in 2010 before the allegations of corruption arose. She said she appointed Peris Tobiko because of her qualifications adding that "if I can't mentor young women to be in leadership I have no business being in leadership."

Ngilu further defended her tenure stating that she was able to turn the Ministry of Water and the Ministry of Health around into what they are today.While serving as Health Minister, Ngilu said she put in place policies to ensure that every pregnant women and child slept under a mosquito net which reduced malaria prevalence in the country by 60 per cent.

She also formulized legislation for free healthcare services although this was not signed into law by the then President Mwai Kibaki.She said the Ministry of Water was barely performing before her leadership.

Ngilu said that she managed to increase the ministry's budget to Sh45 billion from Sh9 billion which was the total provided by both the ex - chequer and donors before she took over at the Water Ministry.

While answering the question of resigning from politics to serve as a Cabinet Secretary, Ngilu said that she has already tendered her resignation as the leader of the National Rainbow Coalition.

However, Ngilu said that as Cabinet Secretary for Land,Housing and Urban Development she will find herself embroiled in many political issues. But on the issue of engaging in rallies and campaigning she said "For as long as I am a cabinet secretary that type of politics will not be part of my work."

Ngilu said she is committed to dealing with historical injustices of land stating that the land issue is a complex one that caused bloodshed in the country but this problem was "man and woman made."

She said that adjudication of land, issuing of title deeds have not been done for 50 years because the "Ministry of land has not had the will to do the right thing" adding that if the land issue is not solved poverty eradication will not be achieved.

She promised to eradicate slums by providing low cost housing through low cost materials that have already been purchased by the Lands Ministry.She said the root cause of the 2007/8 post election violence must be dealt with before settling Internally Displaced Persons.

She said resettling IDPs will is only dealing with the symptoms of the problem. She said dealing with historical injustices will ensure that IDPs are settled for good.

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