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

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - 9 - BY PA­TRICK LANG’AT

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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

Con­tin­ued on page 18

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.

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