Lawyer Peter Waiyaki serves naked truth to powers that be

High Court advocate Peter Waiyaki

High Court advocate Peter Waiyaki. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • High Court advocate Peter Waiyaki said the country has been plunged into unprecedented levels of corruption, hopelessness, ethnicity, tribalism and abject poverty.
  • President Kenyatta, who only spoke briefly, later asked for the presentation that Mr Waiyaki gave.

Participants in yesterday’s national prayer breakfast event heard about the nation’s failed dream to fight corruption, tribalism and disease, abetted by successive governments with a call to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration to turn the tide. 

The President used the forum held at Parliament Buildings to challenge MPs to ensure the speedy passage of a Bill to implement universal health coverage. 

“Please expedite the passage of the Bill to ensure that our people have access to healthcare,” President Kenyatta said referring to the government-backed National Hospital Insurance Fund (Amendment) Bill that seeks to make it compulsory for every Kenyan above 18 years to contribute and be a member of NHIF.

President Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta (centre), Deputy President William Ruto (second left), National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi (right) and Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka during the national prayer breakfast at Parliament Buildings on May 27, 2021. 

Photo credit: PSCU

However, it’s the guest speaker at the 18th national prayer breakfast, lawyer Peter Waiyaki, who delivered the day’s punchline, saying, politicians have thwarted the hopes of Kenyans to make the country a better place.

He said the country has been plunged into unprecedented levels of corruption, hopelessness, ethnicity, tribalism and abject poverty.

“Nearly 60 years after independence, we remain largely poor; 37 percent of Kenyans live below the poverty line. People lack food and are struggling to educate their children,” he said. 

Mr Waiyaki said the country has had its moment of unrivalled hope since independence, which “have been followed by great disappointment.”

“Seasons of plenty have been followed by seasons of scarcity. Expectations and promises have rarely been matched by delivery,” he said, adding, corruption thrives as those in power trade blame instead of taking responsibility.

Keynote speech by Peter Waiyaki at national breakfast

Under political oppression

“Tribalism and ethnic exclusion thrive at the expense of the country’s unity. Why are we poor while our continent is said to be riches. Is there hope for our country or are we doomed?” Mr Waiyaki asked the pensive audience.

After nearly four decades of being ruled under political oppression, corruption and stagnated economy, Mr Waiyaki said, the country was beaming with hope, joy and expectations that finally “we are going to be masters of our own destiny” after Mr Mwai Kibaki took over in 2002.

In August 2010, he noted, the country was yet again at its peak, ushering a new constitution, a moment that had been elusive for decades. The country then put measures in place to deal with corruption and address human rights violations.

“Mr Mwai Kibaki promised us that we were embarking on a journey of a new Kenya where we will no longer have people living in abject poverty or facing unemployment and where food insecurity will be a thing of the of the past and unlimited opportunity for business will thrive,” he said.

In 2013, he said, the country once again enjoyed another colourful event when Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto assumed office.

“As other nations pride themselves in developing vaccines, we remain along with fellow suffering Africans at 4.5 percent vaccine penetration. We have no certain date when donors will release more vaccines to us or give is the resources to buy the vaccine.”

Spoke the truth fearlessly

“The corruption scandals we thought were gone in 2002, 2010 and 2013 are back with a vengeance. One feels they really never went away. Kenyans now have a sense of despair as they come to terms with both low level and high level of corruption,” Mr Waiyaki said.

Chief Justice Martha Koome attended her first national function event. Also present politicians Musalia Mudavadi and Kalonzo Musyoka as well as Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi among other guests. Former prime minister Raila Odinga skipped the event.

President Kenyatta urged Kenyans to continue praying for the country amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The prayers here today are geared towards bringing our hope back and this is where we need to be as the pandemic continues to ravage the world. We need to come together to overcome the challenges,” President Kenyatta said.

The Nation established that President Kenyatta, who only spoke briefly, later asked for the presentation Mr Waiyaki gave at the prayer meeting. Makueni MP Dan Maanzo, who is the co-chair of the national prayer breakfast committee, confirmed that the President took the speech.

Mr Maanzo explained they settled on Mr Waiyaki, a former chief executive officer at the Central Depository and Settlement Corporation, because of his reputation in public speaking and also because they wanted a person who understands the country’s problems. 

“We noticed him because he has been very active on community issues and delivering public speeches. We said as a committee that this year, we will not invite a foreigner and I’m happy we got the right candidate,” Mr Maanzo told the Nation about the commercial lawyer who is a partner at Mboya, Wang’ong’u and Waiyaki Advocates.

“He spoke the truth fearlessly without sugar-coating anything. Everybody liked him,” Mr Maanzo said of Mr Waiyaki, who is also a non-parliamentary member of the national prayer breakfast committee.