Raila: I suspended Ruto over maize scandal but Kibaki saved him

Azimio candidate Raila Odinga converse with Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga and Kasipul MP Ong’ondo Were at Agoro Sare Secondary school in Kasipul constituency in Homa Bay County during Azimio rally on July 3, 2022 as Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo looks on.

Photo credit: George Odiwuor I Nation Media Group

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga has revealed one of the reasons for the feuding between him and Deputy President William Ruto, the Kenya Kwanza State House hopeful.

The rivalry dates back to the grand coalition government, when Mr Odinga was prime minister and Dr Ruto Agriculture minister.

Mr Odinga said Dr Ruto was a corrupt person who could not be trusted with public resources.

This, he said, once pushed him to suspend Dr Ruto from the Cabinet before President Mwai Kibaki intervened and reinstated him.

At a rally in Homa Bay town on Sunday, Mr Odinga revealed some of the triggers of their dispute, including a maize scandal.

Raila: I suspended Ruto over maize scandal but Kibaki saved him

Mr Odinga said the state had decided to import maize from South Africa because of shortages of the cereal in Kenya.

But Dr Ruto allegedly colluded with some of his friends, including MPs, to sell the maize to millers at high prices, more than what the government had directed.

"The maize was transported through the [Indian Ocean] to the Mombasa port before it was stored at National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) stores," he said.

The maize was to be bought by flour millers.

According to Mr Odinga, a sack was to be sold to factories for Sh1,500 per bag.

He claimed Dr Ruto had a different plan on how to sell the maize and was looking to cash in.

"He colluded with his friends, including some in Parliament, to sell the maize to millers at higher prices," he said.

Mr Odinga reported that the maize was later sold to flour makers for Sh2,800.

But this was after Mr Ruto’s friends bought the maize from the NCPB for the original price of Sh1,500.

"He (Ruto) wrote them notices, which they used to buy maize from NCPB and later sold the grains to millers. It was not the government's plan to do this," Mr Odinga said.

The former prime minister added that the cartel involved was only revealed when more Kenyans could not afford three meals a day.

At a rally in Kibera, Mr Odinga said his voters then complained about being hungry.

"We were surprised because we had just procured maize and the county was supposed to be food-secure. We had to investigate the problem and find solutions," he said.

According to Mr Odinga, investigations by PricewaterhouseCoopers pointed fingers at Dr Ruto as the person behind the problem.

He said he had to sack Dr Ruto, but President Kibaki reinstated him.

"He still cannot be trusted. The report of the investigation is still out and his name is there," Mr Odinga told his supporters in Homa Bay.