President Ruto: No sacred cows in fertiliser scandal probe

President William Ruto in Nyeri

President William Ruto addresses wananchi outside St Peter's ACK Cathedral in Nyeri town where he graced a farewell service for outgoing ACK Mt Kenya West Bishop Joseph Kagunda on April 14, 2024. 

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The President accused those involved in the scam of “trying to sabotage our agriculture with fake fertiliser.”
  • Since the scam surfaced over a week ago, the government has issued contradicting statements.

President William Ruto has told those who swindled farmers in the fake fertiliser scam that they will face the full force of the law.

Speaking in Nyeri town yesterday, the President accused those involved in the scam of “trying to sabotage our agriculture with fake fertiliser” and declared that they will be dealt with.

Since the scam surfaced over a week ago, the government has issued contradicting statements, with Agriculture Cabinet Secertary Mithika Linturi at one point denying there was fake fertiliser in the market.

The President said there will be no sacred cows in the investigation to unearth the truth about the scandal and that those responsible will be prosecuted despite their positions.

“Nobody will escape. Be they civil servants or business people trading in the commodity, we will deal with them because we want the fertiliser to help us address food security in the country and reduce the cost of living,” he said.

“I assure our farmers that we have enough fertiliser and seeds and we encourage them to produce enough food so that we attain food security in our country,” he added.

The President also reiterated his government’s resolve to fight alcoholism and drug abuse, saying he was ready to lose popularity for the cause.

President Ruto said together with his deputy Rigathi Gachagua, they have decided to make hard and unpopular decisions in the fight against alcoholism, and called on other leaders to emulate them.

“Don’t shy away from making hard decisions if they are good for the country. As leaders, you are elected to lead and make decisions not to be popular. Some people have told me to go slow in the fight against alcoholism and drug abuse because the government will be unpopular but I have told them off. We can’t allow Kenyans to die just to be popular. We are not relenting and the church should assist us in this endeavour,” he said.

President Ruto was addressing the congregation at ACK St Peters Cathedral in Nyeri town where he was the chief guest during a service to celebrate Bishop Joseph Kagunda, in charge of Mt Kenya West diocese, who is retiring. Also present was Mr Gachagua and the head of ACK Jackson Ole Sapit, who presided over the ceremony.

Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga, woman rep Rahab Mukami and Nyeri town MP Duncan Maina were also present.

Mr Gachagua asked church leaders in the region to remain united as they prepared to elect a new bishop. He also asked President Ruto to tap into Mr Kagunda’s wisdom and seek his advise on various matters.

President Ruto thanked the church for supporting government programmes and asked them to continue doing so for the sake of the country’s development. He added that some problems facing the country require spiritual guidance if they are to be surmounted.

He singled out the problem of banditry in parts of the Rift Valley region, saying “there is need for spiritual intervention and we will partner with the church on this. Church leaders should also pray for the perpetrators so that they can change their ways even as we invest resources and manpower to deal with them”.

The President stated that his government had managed to bring down the cost of living, with the price of maize floor, petroleum products going down, even as the Kenya shilling strengthened against international currencies.

“This has been possible because of the policies we have adopted. We’re not done yet and I promise Kenyans that we will be able to bring down prices of basic commodities,” he said.