President Uhuru Kenyatta’s first year in his second term has been dramatic with numerous scandals threatening to derail his legacy.
Here is a collection of some of the scandals that rocked the government:
1. Maize Scandal
One of the scandals that has been a thorn in the flesh is the multi-billion-shilling maize scandal.
From irregularities in the importation of maize from Mexico, to the irregular procurement at the NCPB, the maize scandal left Uhuru infuriated and frustrated.
It is a scandal that saw the President scold Agriculture CS Festus Mwangi Kiunjuri publicly on several instances.
2. Sugar Scandal
The sugar scandal nearly brought the country to a standstill after reports emerged alleging possible contamination of the commodity with mercury, lead and other heavy metals.
It’s a scandal that saw a standoff among senior government officials with Interior CS Fred Matiang’i maintaining that there was contamination while his Trade counterpart Aden Mohamed contradicted the reports.
Reports from the government chemist showed that there was contamination in some of the samples.
The matter also led to heated debates in Parliament with the CSs concerned being summoned for questioning.
Despite the various enquiries and reports, there was no conclusive statement or the safety or risk of the allegedly mercury-contaminated sugar.
3. Controversial deaths of rhinos and elephants
The Ministry of Tourism, under the stewardship of CS Najib Balala, hit the headlines after reports emerged of controversial deaths of eleven rhinos at Tsavo East Park.
The rhinos had been relocated from Lake Nakuru National Park and their deaths were reportedly caused by consumption of “salty water” at one of the waterholes.
Conservationists and Kenyans in general were not satisfied with CS Balala’s explanation of what caused the deaths of the endangered animals.
When pressure piled on the CS to resign, Balala called a presser where he uttered the infamous words, “The critics can go to hell”.
In mid-December, reports by Mara Elephant Project (MEP), revealed yet another scandal involving elephants.
MEP indicated that 26 elephants had died over ‘unknown’ causes suspected to be poisoning within a span of three months – September to November.
4. KNH neurosurgery mixup
In March, the countries biggest referral facility, Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), hit the headlines for the wrong reasons.
Technical hitches in the operations saw medics at the facility perform a brain surgery on the wrong patient.
The neurosurgery mix-up saw Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki send KNH CEO Lily Koros on compulsory leave.
Doctors, nurses and the management at the facility locked horns as they traded blame on who was responsible for the mistakes that saw the unfortunate surgical mishap.
There was another face-off after reports emerged alleging rape of breastfeeding mothers and sexual harassment of nurses at the facility especially by male patients and some of the casual labourers at the facility.
5. Fake books
An attempt by the government to make an overhaul of the education system hit a major snag after the books meant to usher in a new curriculum sported glaring errors.
Kenyans took to social media protesting what would have been misleading sources of information meant to train the learners.
Following the uproar, the Ministry of Education under CS Amina Mohamed ordered the publishers to recall the books.
Months later, the CS announced that the kickoff of the new 2-6-3-3-3 curriculum that was set to replace the 33-year-old 8-4-4 system had been postponed to allow better preparations.
6. State House/ DCI laptops project scandal
The scandals weren’t discriminating as they went to the heart and core of the country’s leadership and the intelligence agencies.
In early December, reports emerged indicating how a cartel with connections at State House and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) was raking millions from unsuspecting Kenyans.
The syndicate was so well connected that some of deals were reportedly transacted in offices at State House, DCI headquarters and at Deputy President William Ruto’s offices at Harambee Annex.
7. Unaccounted millions at President’s and DP’s Offices
The laptops scandal was not the first of its kind as in March, after Auditor General Edward Ouko raised concerns over millions of shillings that went unaccounted for at the country’s helm.
AG Ouko pointed out that the Presidency’s expenditure of Ksh1 billion in secret spendings, was in excess of Kshs937 million and Kshs685 million incurred in the previous two financial years.
CS Matiang’i’s Interior Ministry was also on the spot after it emerged that the ministry had operated secret accounts, through which over Kshs8 billion has been siphoned off since 2013.
The enquiry into this scandal faded out fast as it emerged likely due to the powerful offices mentioned in the scandal.
8. Ruaraka Land scandal
This is one scandal that nearly destroyed the career of Interior CS Fred Matiang’i after he was widely mentioned.
Billions of shillings were reportedly lost in a dubious deal that was authorised and fast-tracked by senior government officials.
Investigation pointed out that the government, through the National Land Commission, paid Kshs1.5 billion to buy its own land! Buffling we know, but that’s how scandals are supposed to be – we presume.
9. NHIF Scandal
The cartel hit again in 2018 with another scandal at the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).
Over Ksh400 million was reportedly paid to two bidders against an order by the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board over management systems tender.
Months later, it would emerge that an NHIF receptionist, Fredrick Sagwe Onyancha, was flying choppers to and from work to beat traffic along Mombasa Road.
Well, how he managed to lead such a lifestyle despite a earning a monthly salary of about Ksh 150,000 remains a puzzle.
10. Ksh2 billion trees scandal
The scandal season also witnessed another outrageous graft case that led to the loss of over Ksh2 billion allocated to a project launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta to green public schools.
The loss of the funds in the project made it one of the most expensive tree planting drives in the country.
The countrywide initiative was meant to turn 10 per cent of all primary school land into forests.
And it was not the only trees scandal, it was reported that at Elgeyo Forest Station, the government lost Ksh198 million after Kenya Forest Service staff colluded with sawmillers to underestimate the value of trees under harvest in four plantations.