Linturi: This is a case of love gone sour

By , K24 Digital
On Thu, 9 May, 2024 06:30 | 5 mins read
Embattled Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi addresses members of the Select Committee on his removal from office at County Hall in Nairobi. PHOTO/Kenna Claude
Embattled Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi addresses members of the Select Committee on his removal from office at County Hall in Nairobi. PHOTO/Kenna Claude.

Details of a love affair gone sour played out in the open yesterday during the hearings of the impeachment motion against Agriculture and Livestock Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi.

Lawmakers were treated to drama as Linturi and his defence team on one hand and the mover of the motion Bumula MP Jackson Wamboka Wanami on the other, discounted each other’s submissions while prosecuting their respective cases before the committee.

Matters came to a head after Linturi dragged Marriane Kitany into the motion, blaming his tribulations on a love affair gone sour between him and the Aldai lawmaker.

Linturi had literally wept as he tried to beg MPs to drop the charges levelled against him as he told the committee the person and face behind the motion is Kitany and not Wamboka.

In his submissions before the committee, Linturi said it is unfortunate that his divorce matter with Kitany had found its way on the floor of the committee yet it is a private matter.

He said: “Whatever I have gone through for a number of years and which is also manifesting here, is not anything I would want to wish for any human being. It has been a long journey, very painful and when I thought I had gone through that kind of trauma, here is the motion with the same stories that I have been trying to fight over the years.”

Contexualise matter

He added: “When learned counsel John Khaminwa tries to trivialize this matter it pains me, because he does not know how painful the matter is, there is nowhere in the history of the judiciary system where a divorce matter has ever been done or conducted live on TV like mine and that was the reason why Dr Muthomi Thiankolu tried to contextualize this matter and people didn’t take it seriously.”

Dr Khaminwa is the lawyer for the petitioner.

An emotional Linturi, although sympathizing with farmers who bought fake fertilizer asked the committee to establish why Khaminiwa met with Kitany on Tuesday evening.

 “When the mover accepts that he was having a discussion with the person referring to as a proxy, one wonders what is that, that was being discussed. Members of this committee I would like to say that as we look at this matter, let us look at the matter on the basis of fact, I am ready to defend myself, I know the pain of farmers who have interacted with the fake fertilizer, I really feel for them.

I will soldier on, this is what I call occupational hazards because it comes with the job I am doing. Remember members I sat on that side for 15 years, please note that one day you will also sit on this side, please do justice to this matter.”

His lawyers Thiankolu and Boniface Wawira in their submissions, claimed that Wamboka had used personal love, affection, civil and family matters already dispensed with by the courts to push for the removal of Linturi.

They claimed Kitany had hatched a plot to destroy and kick out Linturi as brought to the fore by one of the allegations levelled against the CS where the mover referred to six pending civil commercial and family suits pitting the CS and the Aldai MP before the courts.

Aldai legislator

Said Thiankolu: “The list tabled here is a list of court cases between Linturi and honourable Member of Aldai constituency, which in the mover’s own words are personal, civil, family and commercial disputes. It is not us who have brought the matters of love, affection and personal vendetta here, it is ground two as laid out in the list of allegations.”

He added: “All those 15 cases cited in these cases are personal disputes between the Linturi and MP for Aldai. When we get there the question will be, is this not a trivial matter of love gone sour. How did the mover use materials of family personal disputes as the core basis upon which an entire allegation of this impeachment motion is based?”

Thiankolu claimed that Linturi has been a victim of state sponsored public shaming, vilification and negative campaigns by the previous administration for supporting President William Ruto during his campaign.

He said there is nowhere that Linturi is linked directly to the issue of fertilizer as it is clear that it is National Cereal and Produce Board (NCPB) which is a semi-autonomous agency with its own board and bureaucracies is the one that distributed the fertilizer.

Fake fertiliser

He added that in the whole saga there was no tender document for procurement of fake fertilizer as what is available is the procurement fertilizer that meets the standard set by Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBs).

He said: “The man I have come to represent here has for the last five years been a victim of state sponsored public shaming, vilification and public campaign. We are mentioning this because as human beings we have the tendency to say is it the bad guy again. This campaign was sponsored by the previous administration which again was based on personal, family and commercial disputes. I represent a man who has been referred to the world as an incorrigible criminal, fraudster, womanizer, you can call it whatever, I represent a man who is the dog who has been given a bad name.

Wawira also claimed that the motion by Wamboka has been sponsored by Kitany and is based on malice and personal vendetta.

He said: “The Member for Aldai is the real face behind this impeachment motion. Even the senior counsel said he met her yesterday evening and she was telling him that he does not have a child of Linturi. What is the motive of senior counsel meeting her if she does not have a hand in this? This motion is perpetuated by malice and personal vendetta.”

Earlier, Wamboka who put up his case said it is petty to continue dragging Kitany in the saga yet the matter under consideration was a serious one.

He said: “I have looked at the responses by the CS and it is nothing short of a love letter by a jilted lover. These are grievous matters of national importance to be reduced to love matters. Ukiachwa achika (When someone leaves you please accept).”

He added: “It is unfair to keep dragging the good lady Marianne Kitany into this matter. She has the right ya kukukataa ama kukubali (to decline or accept your advances). Allow her to proceed on with her life.”

In his opening remarks before the committee, Wamboka said it is sad that Linturi was yet to resign from office yet 159 members declared they have no confidence in him while another 24 who were not present during voting day had petitioned the clerk of the National Assembly to be allowed to vote online.

He said: “The mood is that Kenyans are tired of this case, we have higher cases of diseases as a result of this. No one hates Linturi, he is my friend. We are saving you because how will you go to the food basket in the country when Kenyans are angry.”

Khaminwa pleaded with the select committee not to trivialize the matter by allowing the issue of Linturi’s former wife to be subject of discussion.

He said: “The country is under state capture because of corruption. It can only be minimized if parliament rises to the occasion and deals with this matter. If you go and carry out a census of what Mama mboga would say, they would say that CS Linturi should have resigned a long time ago, as a matter of principle, they should not continue to be a minister in charge of Agriculture at all.”

Khaminwa while claiming the allegations against Linturi as portfolio corruption which has been sustained in previous regimes to the detriment of Kenyans, argued that despite the embattled Cabinet Secretary handling a critical docket aimed at transforming Kenyans, he had failed dismally and instead exposed the nation to an imminent crisis.

He said: “What is important is perception. Perception is important, strictly speaking, in this case, one does not have to need evidence at all. It is a case that can depend on perception. This is perhaps the most powerful ministry in the government and he was supposed to take care of that. He cannot turn around and say he was responsible.”

Counsel Lady Asha said the committee will set a high precedent should it send home the CS as thus is a matter of national interest.

She said: “It’s not that the mover of the motion woke up one morning and said, I want to impeach CS Linturi. The basis of this is that, as a public interest matter, there are Kenyans out there who have the fake fertilizer, and it is in public knowledge. Let’s not have diversion in terms of the nitty gritty. The issue of fake fertilizer that makes a great impact on this nation, because it affects the social economic rights.”

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