Lonyangapuo defends Ruto over Echesa fake arms probe

By Joel Muinde On Tue, 18 Feb, 2020 11:48 | 2 mins read

West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo has cautioned Kenyans against ‘lynching’ Deputy President William Ruto over unproven corruption allegations.

His comments come amid calls for DP Ruto to step aside after one of his allies former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa was arrested and charged with fraud over a fake Sh39 billion military hardware tender.

“My view is that we should allow the government agencies dealing with such matters to pursue the issue to conclusion. Jumping into an issue and starting with conclusions is not a good spirit for Kenyans,” said the Kanu member.

He added: “Anybody who is cited to have a hand in corruption should be arrested and since we have not seen such a scene, then we should allow the agencies — EACC, DPP and NIS — to unearth this thing. I want us to be cautious…not to behave like lynch boxes. You can end up lynching the wrong person,” said Governor Lonyangapuo.

Mr. Echesa was arrested for allegedly using Dr. Ruto’s Harambee House Annex to swindle foreign investors in guise of sanctioning a military supply tender.

One of the investors, Mr. Mamdou Arner, on Monday took detectives from the Serious Crimes Unit to the Harambee House Annex where he showed them how they gained access into the building and some of the officials who facilitated them.

But Mr. Lonyangapuo said there was no need for some leaders to call on DP Ruto to step aside, saying they were jumping into conclusions before any details were unearthed.

Chief among leaders who called on DP Ruto to step aside are Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, Siaya Senator James Orengo and trade unionist Francis Atwoli.

However, the governor said that the corruption allegations swirling around the Deputy President have not diminished his clout in the Rift Valley region.  

“Political rivalry is allowed, the competition is there but engaging in character assassination is not allowed,” said the West Pokot governor.

That notwithstanding, Mr. Lonyangapuo said that the Rift Valley region is not just about the supremacy battle between DP Ruto and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi.

“I don’t want to propel my party leader when you have not heard from his mouth. Even Dr. William Ruto has not declared himself a candidate for anything. It is just us followers who are making noise,” said Mr. Lonyangapuo.

The West Pokot leader was speaking on Sunday when he appeared on K24 TV’s Punchline show with Ms. Anne Kiguta.

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