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DOWNRIGHT MALICE?

Nyeri leaders link Kagwe resignation calls to racketeers, 2022 politics

They rally behind the CS and encourage him to continue fighting corruption

In Summary

• County assembly speaker Kaguchia said the cartels Kagwe is fighting hard  to dismantle are now fighting back.

• Aguthi-Gaaki MCA Stanley Wakibia said it will be impossible for Kagwe to work effectively if he falters in his fight against the cartels in the ministry.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe and Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu in Governor Mutahi Kahiga’s office in Nyeri on Friday
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe and Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu in Governor Mutahi Kahiga’s office in Nyeri on Friday
Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe in Nyeri on Friday
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe in Nyeri on Friday
Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI
Interior CS Fred Matiang’i, Governor Mutahi Kahiga and Health CS Mutahi Kagwe in the governor’s office in Nyeri on Friday.
CONSULTATION: Interior CS Fred Matiang’i, Governor Mutahi Kahiga and Health CS Mutahi Kagwe in the governor’s office in Nyeri on Friday.
Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI

Nyeri leaders blame calls for Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe to resign on 2022 politics and his resolve to fight corruption in the ministry.

They say the well-entrenched cartels Kagwe has vowed to dismantle are fighting back with the help of politicians who view him as a threat to their 2022 game plan.

There have been calls for the former Nyeri senator and MP for Mukurwe-ini to step aside over the loss of billions of shillings at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa).

Nyeri assembly speaker John Kaguchia on Monday said: “We've heard him admit that there are cartels in the ministry and we urge him to be strong and face them head-on despite the politicisation of the fight.”

Kaguchia assured the CS that Nyeri residents are behind him and encouraged him not to falter in the fight against corruption.

Aguthi-Gaaki MCA Stanley Wakibia said it will be impossible for Kagwe to deliver on Kenyans' expectations with the cartels still in the ministry and asked him to dismantle them.

He appealed to regional leaders to rally behind the CS for him to conclusively win the anti-graft war.

His Mukurwe-ini Central counterpart Kenneth Gatheru called for an end to the politicisation of the issue and let investigating agencies complete their work.

“I believe 2022 politics is at play here. People have realised that Kagwe’s star as CS is rising in the Mt Kenya region and are therefore out to fight him politically,” he said.

He asked why some people have been calling on the CS to step aside before the conclusion of the investigations.

Magutu MCA Pauline Wanjira said the corrupt are out to malign the CS for his declaration of war against Afya House cartels.

“We know Kemsa has its leaders and they should be the ones telling Kenyans how they spent money meant to fight Covid-19. Those found to have misappropriated the money should take responsibility,” Wanjira said.

On Sunday, Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu said Kagwe has been in office for only six months and was unlikely to have put in place his own system to steal.

He said it was impossible for an individual to steal all that money.

“He has not had time to instal his own system to help him steal that kind of money. Whoever has stolen this money has been in the Afya House system for a long time.”

According to Wambugu, those in the know of how corruption works in Kenya are aware that it takes an entire system — from procurement to finance — to steal the kind of money involved in the Covid-19 heist.

He said efforts by the CS to effect changes by transferring some officials have been met with opposition and frustration, with those involved either moving to court or ignoring him.