Ruto: Uhuru-Raila 'handshake' has fuelled graft in government

William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto addressing Safina party members at Bomas of Kenya during its National Delegates Conference yesterday.

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

Deputy President William Ruto yesterday stepped up his attacks on President Kenyatta and Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga over what he termed as facilitating the corruption of the political system by “merging the opposition and the government” through their ‘Handshake’ deal.

The DP said that, through their March 9, 2018 political truce, the two leaders had birthed an “unaccountable system that promotes conflict of interest, state capture, and that benefits only the corrupt.”

Speaking during Safina Party’s National Delegates Conference (NDC) at the Bomas of Kenya yesterday, Dr Ruto tore at the two leaders, accusing them of speaking the same language as “rulers, despots and dictators.”

“We believe as the people of Kenya that proper political formations with clear checks and balances that ... [leads to] accountability, better use of national resources and ultimately benefits every citizen,” the DP said. He accused the two leaders of promoting constitutional change at the expense of economic growth.

He spoke when Safina Party, long associated with lawyer Paul Muite and on whose ticket the senior counsel contested the 2013 presidential race, endorsed businessman Jimi Wanjigi to run for President in the August 9 General Election.

Mr Muite, who is the party leader, said Safina will work with Deputy President Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) .

“Since Safina shares the same vision with UDA, we shall invite UDA to form government if we win.[But]if you [UDA]win, invite as to form part of your government,” Mr Muite said.

Safina Secretary General John Wamagata said the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) had earlier proposed amendments to the party’s constitution to allow any member who is not the party leader to vie for the top seat.

“Safina NEC then resolved to have Mr Wanjigi be the presidential flag bearer in the August 9 elections,” Mr Wamagata said.

The delegates then endorsed the changes and approved Mr Wanjigi’s candidature. Mr Wanjigi said his administration will turn around the country’s economy and end runaway corruption.

“We must end this state capture. The state has been taken over by economic terrorists and the state capture has suffocated Kenyans. We must liberate them from this bondage,” Mr Wanjigi said.

Other leaders present were Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) leader Isaac Ruto alongside MPs Rigathi Gachagua, Kimani Ichung’wa, Cate Waruguru, Didmus Barasa, Oscar Sudi and Senator Isaack Mwaura among others.

Dr Ruto said the collapse of the opposition created a room for lack of clear checks and balances on government, leading to “state capture and corruption”.

He framed the August elections as a battle between those who he claimed wants to change the constitution and those who want to change the economy.