The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party says Deputy President William Ruto is mocking President Uhuru Kenyatta’s commitment to fight against corruption.
ODM in a statement dated Saturday, August 22 said that the DP’s Thursday tweet -- which stated he was glad he won’t be blamed for the theft of COVID-19 funds by government agencies and officials due to his confinement to the periphery of government operations -- was “juvenile” and meant to paint President Kenyatta in bad light.
In the statement signed by ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna, the Opposition outfit asked the deputy president to resign if he (Ruto) feels that he can no longer work with President Kenyatta.
“It is disheartening to hear no less a senior government official than the deputy president go public with the juvenile and improper statement,” said ODM in a statement posted on their official Twitter page.
“The DP’s statement suggests that it is okay for the funds to be stolen if he is not to blame, or even more unsettling, it expresses the jealousy of being left out of the gravy train. We have pointed out before that the DP’s recalcitrance and lack of political emotional intelligence are a hindrance to the smooth running of government.
“At a time when he should help the president crack the whip on corruption cartels within government, he holds campaigns at his residence while cheering wrong-doing within government in the mistaken belief that any perceived failures by President Uhuru Kenyatta will raise his (DP’s) dwindling [political] profile. We must ask the DP to either rise to the occasion and play the role of DP, or ship out and let the president work in peace.”
On the alleged theft of COVID-19 funds, ODM said the allegations were “disturbing” and risked discouraging international donors from supporting Kenya in her quest to end COVID-19 spread.
Last week, TV station NTV ran an expose, which alleged that at least Ksh42 billion had been embezzled by scrupulous KEMSA officials.
“All Kenyans of goodwill have found these allegations disturbing and thoroughly demoralising,” said ODM.
“We gather that the DCI has been called into KEMSA to investigate these matters. We, however, wonder how this can be so before a credible audit by the Auditor-General is carried out to ascertain the veracity of these claims.”
The Opposition party also urged media to exercise caution and accuracy when reporting on graft cases so that international donors are not driven away by the country’s bad reputation.
“Precedent has been set before where the media goes on a sensationalist extravaganza, with half-baked information obtained from shadowy sources, ending up creating more problems than solutions. We ask that media houses and other news agencies exercise responsibility in their coverage because sensational and baseless reports may compromise international support for our COVID-19 war,” said ODM.
On Thursday, August 20, Deputy President William Ruto said his confinement to the periphery of Government operations during the coronavirus crisis left his political enemies with no “usual scapegoat” to blame over the irregular procurement of PPEs by State agencies.
The deputy president said on Twitter that he accepted being referred to as a “spectator” in Government, so long as his reputation remained unsoiled.
Ruto was reacting to Standard newspaper’s Thursday lead story, which termed him a “spectator in Government”, who — for long — had “dismissed reports that he was a stranger in government”.
“[Despite denying the open truth that he is a spectator in Government], Deputy President William Ruto generously shares his frustrations on social media and at tea parties at his residence,” read the splash story’s standfirst.
The newspaper story was anchored on the DP’s recent remarks, in which he accused police of being used by high-raking government officials to “bully citizens and intimidate leaders”. Ruto made the remarks Tuesday after the Monday arrests of three senators ahead of the counties’ revenue sharing formula debate.
“At least, for once it won’t be possible to be blamed for what someone said: ‘started in Wuhan as a virus, landed in Italy as a pandemic and now in Kenya as a multi-billion-shilling corruption enterprise’. Wacha niendelee kama spectator (Let me continue being a spectator in Government). It is alright,” said the DP on his Twitter page.
The DP’s remarks came on the back of allegations that billions of shillings had been lost after KEMSA irregularly awarded PPE supply tenders to undeserving companies.