Fireworks at final Kenya presidential debate

Posted In NEWS, Politics - By admin on Monday, February 25th, 2013 With No Comments »

debatersPresidential candidates on Tuesday engaged each other on issues ranging from corruption, post-election violence and their role in reforms.

Restore and Build Kenya candidate James ole Kiyiapi threw the first salvo when he sought clarification from Cord candidate, Mr Raila Odinga, over Sh4.2 billion of free education money that was allegedly lost in a graft scandal.

Prof Kiyiapi wanted to know why Mr Odinga had not defended him at the time knowing that he had just been transferred to the Education Ministry.

Mr Odinga said that Prof Kiyiapi was raising the matter rather late. The matter would have been resolved if he had raised it on time.

This seemed to be the cue the other candidates were waiting for as they asked each other tough questions regarding scandals that rocked governments dating as a far back as 20 years ago.

The scandals came to haunt the candidates as they faced off in the last debate ahead of elections next week.

The Goldenberg, Anglo-leasing, Free Education funds and maize scandals were among some of the issues that made the atmosphere very tensed for the eight contenders.

Mr Odinga was tasked to explain what he knew about the Molasses plant in Kisumu, while Jubilee Coalition’s Uhuru Kenyatta was also asked to shed light on a Sh10 billion “typing error” in Budget estimates tabled under his watch as Finance minister.

UDF’s Musalia Mudavadi was hard pressed to explain his role in the Goldenberg scam that swindled the public coffers billions of shillings.

Narc-Kenya’s Martha Karua did not escape either as she was accused by Mr Odinga of sidelining opposition parties in 2007 when she was Justice minister and when appointing commissioners to the now defuct Electoral Commission of Kenya. She was also accused of blocking other reforms in government.

“My sister here failed to consult us and went ahead to appoint new commissioners. It was a game in which a player turned referee leading to the mess that happened after the elections,” said Mr Odinga.

Ms Karua, while accepting that she did not consult ODM, argued that Mr Odinga’s group was part of the National Alliance Rainbow Coalition which did not require consultations.

Mr Paul Muite also found himself in a precarious position, having to defend himself from allegations that he pocketed a Sh20 million bribe from Goldenberg scandal architect Kamlesh Pattni.

Mr Kenneth and Mr Muite challenged Mr Mudavadi to come clean on the Goldenberg payments stating that a big chunk of payments were paid during his tenure as Finance minister. Mr Kenneth mentioned figures of Sh3 billion and Sh5.9 billion.

Mr Muite affirmed that “Almost 75 per cent of the Goldenberg payments were paid during his (Mudavadi) term.”

The UDF leader defended his record, saying that his two rivals were basing their questions on misleading information.

“I am on record that I stopped Goldenberg payments… My colleagues are misled,” he said.

During debate on graft, Mr Abduba Dida sent the audience into laughter when he asked the moderator of the debate: “Did you expect a thief to tell you that ‘I have stolen’?-Nation

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