Uhuru to Ruto: Stop empty talk and focus on service delivery

Uhuru Kenyatta

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta condoles with former Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha’s widow  Dr Barbara Odudu Magoha at her Lavington home yesterday. 

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta has declined to be drawn into tax evasion allegations by Kenya Kwanza leaders, instead telling the current administration to stop talking too much and focus on service delivery.

However, in a veiled reference to his successor, President William Ruto, Mr Kenyatta said that leaders who have nothing to deliver will always “talk a lot” and deliver nothing.

Speaking while he condoled with the family of ex-Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha in Nairobi yesterday, the former President said leaders should emulate Prof Magoha who let his deeds “talk” for him.

“There are two types of people. There are people who talk a lot about what they will do and do nothing and those are many. But there are people who will talk a little and their deeds are seen,” said Mr Kenyatta.

The former Head of State was responding to concerns by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka that the new administration was victimising the retired President, something that past presidents, he said, had not subjected their predecessors to.

Continuing with his subtle jibe at the current regime, Mr Kenyatta said there are leaders who seek positions just for the sake of it and hence do not know what to do with such positions.

Mr Kenyatta was accompanied by Mr Musyoka, ex-Cabinet secretaries Dr Fred Matiang’i, Ukur Yatani, Peter Munya, Eugene Wamalwa, Prof Margaret Kobia, and former principal secretaries Susan Mochache, Jerome Ochieng and Karanja Kibicho.

Terming Prof Magoha a leader worth being emulated, Mr Kenyatta said the former University of Nairobi vice-chancellor was a man who was not interested in positions but rather what he could do with such positions.

“There are people who seek positions for the sake of it. But there are those in a position and are interested in what they can do with that position for the greater good,” he said.

He went on to hit out at the current regime for its misgivings on the competency-based curriculum, saying the new education system was well-thought out.

“People might say whatever they want to say but they will talk and then come back there. The new education system was done not to spite but with the interest of the children of this republic to better prepare them for that future that is radically different from the future that some of us were prepared for,” he said.

Mr Kenyatta’s remarks come hot on the heels of claims by President Ruto that opposition protests are being financed by people who are keen on evading payment of taxes.

Dr Ruto suggested that the former President was behind Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leader Raila Odinga’s recent rallies, which he said were triggered by his crackdown on tax evasion.

“We cannot continue to operate in a space where those in power exempt themselves from paying taxes. Their day is up. Every citizen must pay tax. Even if they sponsor demos so they don't pay tax, they will pay,” said President Ruto.

“Even if they sponsor demonstrations so that they don’t pay tax, I want to promise them that they will pay tax. There are no more exemptions. This country is not an animal farm where some are more equal than others,” h added.

The President’s assertion was echoed by Kenya Kwanza allied senators who said every individual must pay taxes regardless of their status. The senators – John Methu (Nyandarua), James Murango (Kirinyaga), Wahome Wamatinga (Nyeri) and Tabitha Mutinda (nominated) – went as far as calling for the national government to look into tax waivers enjoyed by the Kenyatta family during the former president’s administration.

This in addition to county governments initiating audits on land rates paid by members of the first family on land they own across the country.

Mr Musyoka was non-philosophical, openly hitting out at Kenya Kwanza leaders for victimising Mr Kenyatta. He said leaders at the level of former presidents must be respected and not dragged into the politics of pettiness.

He recounted how former President Mwai Kibaki protected his predecessor Daniel Moi from attempts by his ministers to humiliate him by dispossessing him of his Kabarak residence.

“We must respect our leaders at that level. I have witnessed seamless transitions before, but what is this we are hearing around town in terms of the pettiness in the country?” Mr Musyoka asked.

Dr Matiang’i termed the allegations by the Kenya Kwanza leaders as “unhelpful cacophonies”, saying Kenya is better than what is currently being witnessed.