Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, this week opened up about her love-hate relationship with opposition leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto, both of whom led separate choruses of condemnation against her when the scandal first broke out.
In a report in the Nation, the governor said the Sh791 million NYS scandal stained her career as a technocrat at the Devolution ministry, where she was the Cabinet Secretary, but added that, despite the evidence presented in court against her, she was still cleared of any malpractice by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission in 2016.
Ms Waiguru has all along proclaimed her innocence in the matter, and at one point sued Mr Odinga for defamation after he linked her to the scandal. She has since withdrawn the case.
On her newfound rapport with Mr Odinga, who called for her sacking as Minister when hairdresser Josephine Kabura, in an explosive affidavit, accused the governor and her close associates of hatching elaborate schemes to cover up the loss of money at the NYS, Ms Waiguru explained that it was in the spirit of the ‘Handshake’, referring to the political truce between Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“We agreed to settle our differences outside the court in the spirit of the Handshake, and for the cohesion and reconciliation of the country,” she said.
As part of the truce with the former Prime Minister, Ms Waiguru campaigned for ODM candidate Imran Okoth during the recent Kibra by-election, and has now become a regular visitor to Mr Odinga’s Capitol Hill office in Nairobi.
In the interview, Ms Waiguru defended her association with Mr Odinga, saying the handshake and the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) guaranteed Mt Kenya region, from where she hails, a stake in the country’s leadership beyond 2022.
She argued that the BBI report provided the best option for the region regarding the next political dispensation as it provides for the creation of the post of the Prime Minister and two deputies, in addition to the President and his or her Deputy.