Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga have renewed their attacks on allegations of corruption in government after the DP accused the former Prime Minister of running a corruption cartel in President Kenyatta’s administration.
Mr Odinga responded promptly, questioning why the DP always gets jittery about discussions on corruption even when his name is not mentioned. ODM Chairman John Mbadi challenged the DP to resign from government alongside those he recommended for appointment to Cabinet if he is not part of President Kenyatta’s administration.
The DP, who was responding to Mr Odinga’s statement that he would push for the jailing of corrupt leaders in the current government when they leave office next year, cited the corruption scandal that rocked procurement of Covid-19 medical supplies and also revisited the graft claims in the Kazi kwa Vijana programme during the Grand Coalition Government in which Mr Odinga served as Prime Minister.
“They are very strange people because when they are in government, they were stealing from the youth and now that they are in opposition they have stolen through Covid billionaires,” the Deputy President said yesterday during a church service at the Presbyterian Church of East Africa in Umoja, Nairobi.
“The irony is that it’s only in Kenya where opposition pretends to run government; and it runs corruption cartels in government yet they pretend to lecture us on how to fight corruption,” he added.
Although he is the deputy president in the Jubilee government, the DP has sought to portray himself as an outsider, blaming Mr Odinga’s truce with President Kenyatta following the disputed 2017 presidential vote.
On Saturday, Mr Odinga said Kenyans were suffering as a result of leaders stealing public funds and using the ill-gotten wealth to popularise themselves.
Arrested and prosecuted
“People are struggling to get food and other basic needs yet these are rights… they are suffering because a few people have taken their money and are moving to every corner of the country pretending to help them. We’ve given them a notice, they will be arrested, prosecuted and sent to prison, where they belong,” Mr Odinga said in Mombasa.
But yesterday, the DP faulted Mr Odinga for criticising his donations to churches, boda boda and mama mboga, arguing, the ODM leader is at the forefront of the push to amend the Constitution to create bigger posts including that of Prime Minister and two deputies to accommodate the political elite.
“Uhuru out of abundance of good heart invited them to join government, they came and broke our big Four Agenda because it would have given job opportunities to the hustlers,” the DP claimed.
But Mr Odinga in a rejoinder yesterday accused the DP of always being uneasy at the mention of graft in any public discourse “even when no one has mentioned his name.”
“Secondly it’s ridiculous for a deputy president to talk about a supposed youth fund scandal that took place 10 years ago while he has been in government for close to 10 years and did nothing to get to the bottom of the alleged scam,” Mr Odinga said.
The DP, he said, needs to be told that the first five years of Jubilee was characterised by one corruption scandal after another.
“It was the era of a new multi-billion scam every week. Nearly all the scams have been traced to his associates and his own appointees in government. They include Sh55.6 billion JKIA new terminal scandal, Sh53 billion school laptops scandal, Sh21 billion Arror and Kimwarer dams scandal, Sh9 billion NYS scandal, Sh4.5 billion KPLC faulty transformers scandal and Sh1 billion KPLC power tokens,” Mr Odinga said through his spokesperson Dennis Onyango.
He also cited the Sh2 billion Kenya Pipeline scandal, Sh1.9 billion National Cereals and Produce Board scam, Sh10 billion National Health Insurance Fund scandal and the Sh221 billion Kenya Railways and National Land Commission scam as some of the corruption issues associated with the DP and his associates.
“Arror and Kimwarer dams were budgeted to cost Sh46 billion but the Treasury borrowed Sh63 billion instead. The two scandals alone heavily pushed up Kenya’s ballooning public debt.
“Ruto now claims that the handshake derailed Jubilee’s development record yet most of the people in these scams are in his camp today. Apparently, this massive corruption was development to Ruto,” Mr Odinga added.
Mr Mbadi also told off the DP for linking Mr Odinga’s office to the Kazi kwa Vijana scam of 2011.
“At least the DP has been mentioned in various corruption allegations which are well documented,” Mr Mbadi said.
“When we mention Arror and Kimwarer, we are talking of real facts which he can’t dispute,” Mr Mbadi said, challenging the DP to substantiate his allegations against Mr Odinga and ODM.
“It was found by World Bank audit report that the money was not misappropriated but if it was, where is that evidence?” Mr Mbadi claimed on the Kazi kwa Vijana project.
He said despite the fact that Kazi kwa Vijana was a programme that was being coordinated from the Prime Minister’s office, it was being implemented by line ministries.
Mr Mbadi also challenged the DP to mention ODM members involved in the alleged Covid billionaires scandal “instead of making unsubstantiated remarks”.
“Who are these? A deputy president should not be involved in rumour mongering and propaganda. Who is it that has stolen Covid funds in ODM? Let him mention names. The whole ODM cannot be stealing. It is individuals, so let him say that so and so is being investigated or is alleged to have stolen. It cannot be shadowy,” Mr Mbadi added.
He dismissed the DP’ claims that the opposition is part of government, noting that ODM does not sit in the Cabinet where implementation of programmes is discussed.
He’s just being cheeky
“We’ve been very clear — from 2013 to 2017, he kept on telling us we were making noise and should support the government to work. What did he mean? Now when we are supporting the government to deliver services, what is his problem?
“He is the one who told us that if money gets lost in government, it is him and Uhuru who should be asked. He’s just being cheeky and thinks he can con people.
That’s not going to work for him. If he’s not in government, why can’t he resign from it and tell the people who he brought into the Cabinet to also resign?” the ODM chairman posed.