Anne always in trouble: Links to alleged corruption not new to Waiguru

Anne always in trouble: Links to alleged corruption not new to Waiguru

In seven years, Governor Anne Waiguru has grown from a hard working and visible Cabinet Secretary to one of the most controversial politicians as she carries the unsubstantiated tag of harboring corruption in every office she heads.

In April 2013, President Uhuru Kenyatta paraded his picks for his first Cabinet and one of them was the then little known Senior National Treasury official, Anne Waiguru.

However, she quickly made an impression becoming one of the most notable ministers of President Kenyatta’s first Cabinet.

Her Devolution and Planning docket grew in leaps and bounds with its budget size growing to more than a hundred billion a year but that was the beginning of a myriad of challenges.

Allocation to the National Youth Service (NYS) had grown to Ksh. 25billion a year, part of which was reported to have been stolen.

A controversy ensued with some Ksh.791 million that killed a few careers and threatened some.

At first she was in denial insisting that no money had been lost.

She then distanced herself from the alleged theft, her fingers pointing at other officers whom she believed were responsible.

But the political heat was on as the Opposition and even some on the government’s side bayed for her blood.

Waiguru stayed put until one afternoon in November 2015: she had had enough.

“In view of the impact of this events have had on my health, I have been advised by my doctor to take lighter duties,” she said during a Press conference.

The lighter duties never came and if they did, not as light, as in August 2017, she trounced veteran politician Martha Karua in the Kirinyaga gubernatorial contest.

Eventually, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) seemed to have cleared her from any wrongdoing in the loss of Ksh. 791million and she grew thick political skin.

But controversy would follow her even in her new role at the Kirinyaga County office.

There have been accusations of high-handedness, with Kirinyaga MCAs complaining about her style of leadership.

But nothing appeared to change until the Kirinyaga County Assembly resolved to table an impeachment motion against her. That was in March 2020.

She quickly ran to the justice system managing to convince the High Court to halt the motion on grounds she suffered from hypertension, a condition that made her vulnerable should she be exposed to the coronavirus.

The High Court was convinced and stayed debate on the motion. Before long, the over-working MCAs found a loophole to process the removal of the governor and on June 9, the governor’s three-year tenure came under threat.

In a week’s time, she had prepared her defense even bringing her husband Kamotho Waiganjo to the impeachment trial.

Once again, fortune was on her side as the Senate found the grounds of impeachment not to have been substantiated. She survived. But not without blemish.

The Senate Special Committee investigating her impeachment was satisfied that the governor had conferred on herself a benefit, in form of imprests she had taken without necessarily traveling.

However, in her defense, Waiguru told the committee that she had surrendered the undeserved imprests.

“Kirinyaga people will forget what you said, they will even forget what you did but they will never forget how you made them feel and neither will I. That notwithstanding – I forgive you,” she said.

Despite her statement, the charge of undeserved imprests has once again come to haunt her.

EACC is seeking evidence that she indeed travel allowances of up to Ksh.23 million alongside other officials from the Kirinyaga County Government.

Waiguru maintains that the investigation is a continuation of a witch-hunt, targeted at her political future.