Politics of corruption: Why Ruto allies link graft war to succession
They say officials from Rift Valley are unfairly targeted to hurt the DP’S 2022 ambitions
Just hours after former Kenya Pipeline manager Joe Sang and former national hospital insurer head Simeon Kirgotty were arrested in a Friday morning swoop that targeted more than 20 others, Deputy President William Ruto made a statement that seemed to back debate this week about an alleged onslaught on professionals from the Rift Valley in the anti-corruption war.
Mr Ruto had a message to civil servants, asking them to relax, and do their jobs as he called on the anti-corruption war to remain neutral and fair.
“Let us not politicise matters to do with independent institutions of governance, prosecutions and investigations. Those institutions must operate independently without instructions from anybody and without serving any ethnic, regional, or any other partisan interests,” Mr Ruto said at Lelboinet Boys High School in Elgeyo-marakwet County.
It is a statement that buttressed recent statements by some Rift Valley politicians, terming the ongoing war on corruption as targeting those from the region holding top government positions, and ultimately, Mr Ruto’s 2022 State House ambitions.
The perceived bias grew following the arrest of Mr Sang, the KPC chief, who this week announced his decision not to seek a second term after immense pressure from the public following revelations of loss of 23 million litres of fuel.
He was arrested on Friday, and charges approved against him over a different matter — the Sh2 billion Kisumu oil jetty. He will be facing prosecution with five other top KPC managers.
“No one should take advantage of the fight against corruption to pursue persecution of an ethnic community. What we are seeing is the ethnic profiling and persecution of people whose careers are being destroyed simply because their surnames have betrayed them in this 2022 succession politics,” Nandi senator Samson Cherargei told the
He, however, failed to appreciate there were officials from other regions who had also been arrested or charged.
Mr Cherargei, who has fashioned himself as Mr Ruto’s ask-questions-later defender, and who had earlier this week taken a diplomatic tone on the matter, said that the noise was only going to get louder.
Arguing that it was all part of a grand scheme to deny the DP a stab at the presidency, Aldai MP Cornelius Serem wondered why the chief executives were arrested yet the parastatals’ boards were not questioned to determine their culpability.
“This is a clear case of calling a dog a bad name to get a reason to kill it. The grand scheme is to brand the DP as corrupt, then followed by all these top Kalenjin professionals in government. This is all in a scheme towards 2022,” said Mr Serem.
He said while he does not dispute the fact that corruption must be dealt with head-on, the current fight, he believes, if done correctly and fairly, “it should have a lot more people than the one-sided arrests we are seeing.”
“We are not against the war on corruption in any way, but I want to ask: Is it that corruption is only present in areas where Kalenjins are in charge so that there is inordinate focus there? Look at cases where a CEO of an organisation is caught, and the board that approved those multibillion deals being investigated are left untouched, even promoted. What do you call that?” Mr Serem posed.
Apart from Mr Sang and his predecessor Charles Tanui, Rift Valley politicians have cited the cases of former Kenya Power chief executives Ken Tarus and Dr Ben Chumo, former National Cereals and Produce Board head Newton Terer, and ex-kenyatta National Hospital chief Lily Koros as some of those who were unfairly targeted. They said they believe more individuals should have been netted in these cases.
“We want this fight against corruption to be fair. That is all, otherwise, the way things are going, there will be no Kalenjin in any top government position in two, three years to come,” said Mr Serem.
The discussion yesterday came just a day after Director of Public
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Deputy President William Ruto (centre), Kitutu Chache MPRichard Onyonka (left) and Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono during a fundraiser in aid of various churches held at Lelboinet in Chepkorio, Keiyo South constituency, on Friday. The DP said the anti-graft war should not be politicised.