By: Joseph Mutua Ndonga
- My fellow Kenyans, I want to tell you that this will not happen. Stealing money for the sick is serious crime. They will have to pay heavily. I will be very hard on them.
- For the first time, Kericho county hosted the Mashujaa day cerebration which was held at the main Green Stadium in Kericho town.
- This was in line with the spirit of furthering the course of the new constitution that was promulgated in 2010.
- The decentralization of public resources, programmes and services had stood out as one of its key pillars. This heralded in birth of 47 county governments.
A few days ago, President William Ruto took the war against corruption a notch higher.
Acting on recommendations of Ethnic and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), he took an immediate step of sending home heads of five state Agencies and 67 police officers.
EACC detectives have concluded their investigations and found that these officers are culpable.
I told you there will be no sacred cows in my administration. I remains true to the course of zero tolerance to corruption.
These officers are now on their own. Let them carry their cross. Each will be subjected to the due process of law.
The latest purge comes hot on the heels of President Ruto’s speech during the 60th Mashujaa day cerebration.
A tough talking head of state once again fired a stern warning to public servants and state officers who were contemplating stealing and looting the taxpayers’ money.
He noted that billions of shillings will be allocated to run Universal Health Coverage (UHC) which he had just unveiled.
A huge huge of the monies will come from your pockets, your monthly contributions.
The national and county governments will also allocate more funds to power this noble initiative.
Some of the corrupt officers entrusted to manage these funds might think that this will be the time of enriching themselves. The time of eating.
My fellow Kenyans, I want to tell you that this will not happen. Stealing money for the sick is serious crime. They will have to pay heavily. I will be very hard on them.
For the first time, Kericho county hosted the Mashujaa day cerebration which was held at the main Green Stadium in Kericho town.
This was in line with the spirit of furthering the course of the new constitution that was promulgated in 2010.
The decentralization of public resources, programmes and services had stood out as one of its key pillars. This heralded in birth of 47 county governments.
Kericho county was the sixth county to host the national fete. It had become a tradition during the reign of the old constitution that the capital city of Nairobi hosted the main event to mark all national holidays.
The president had earlier reiterated the place of state officials stealing hard earned public taxes is in jail.
During Devolution Conference held in Eldoret, he had fired a similar warning. He told governors of 47 counties. The national government has been allocating a huge chunk of taxpayer money. Kenyans want to see the value of their money. What most of you have done so far is below their expectations.
He spoke as some 8 current and former governors were battling charges of corruption, economic sabotage and abuse of office in court.
This reminded me of what happened in Nigeria when the devolution was introduced. The pioneer county bosses thought that it is time to eat.
Little did they know that then President was a non nonsense man. He was committed to walk the talk in slaying the dragon of corruption. He left half of them in jail when he retired.
Since he assumed office, President Ruto has remained consistent and focused in these endeavours. He always escalated the matters by calling on the heads of the anti-graft bodies to live up to their oath of office. There are no sacred cows in my government. You have my full support.
Turning to elected leaders, Dr Ruto has been a firing a warning to them. You are not above the law. You must be accountable to the electorates. If not, you are not worth to be called leaders. They did not elect you to steal their resources.
The President’s interventions have been resonating very well with the masses because this signaled a radical departure from Uhuru Kenyatta’s presidency.
Uhuru was known for talking tough but without taking any tangible action.
There was a time he said that Sh2 billion was being stolen every day in Kenya but this matter ended there.
The head of public service Felix Koskei announced a few days ago that Ruto administration is in the process of setting an inquiry to look at this matter.
As of now, we cannot tell whether what the former President said is true or not. Koskei further stated that a donor have agreed to fund the inquiry.
Having said this, I want to assure Kenyans that President Ruto is committed to win the war against graft. You can take this to the bank. Koskei, the head of public service spoke at the Bomas of Kenya where he was hosted by the civil society organizations involved in the fight against corruption.
Back to Uhuru, he had earlier shocked Kenyans when he hosted the heads of anti-graft bodies at State House Nairobi.
Though one would have expected him to take on them for frustrating his administration’s efforts to fight mega corruption scandals, he instead appeared helpless as he threw his hands in air. He posed: What do you want me to do? Kenyans interpreted this to mean they were on their own.
President Ruto again took a bold move when he thwarted a plot to steal Sh3.7 billion from the Global Fund earmarked for purchasing and supplying mosquito nets to tens of thousands of downtrodden Kenyans.
He fired a PS and senior officials at the Ministry of Health and Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) who had been adversely mentioned.
He also called for the prosecution of the culprits.
The other day we saw Koskei unveiling a raft of measures aimed at streaming the water works sector.
At Athi Water Works Development Agency, he announced the cancellation of the contract of the Chief Executive Officer and anti graft bodies to commence investigations against him.
At KFS, President Ruto endorsed the decision of the board to sack and send 58 managers and forest rangers packing. Those culpable should face the law.
At this juncture, allow me to turn to the narrative of Ruto’s well known critics. They wanted Kenyans to believe that there was nothing to be proud of. Corruption is rife and President Ruto is just ‘watching’. He is doing nothing to reverse the trend.
The top leadership of the opposition Azimio La Umoja-OKA coalition is the leading peddler of these claims.
The coalition is yet to prove these claims despite receiving a strong back-up from a section of the mainstream houses championing their course.
The claims by Azimio leader Raila Odinga and his brigade were mainly politically motivated and geared towards settling political scores. Raila never believed that he can lose elections to Dr Ruto.
This is because he was enjoying the support ‘Handshake’ partner President Uhuru Kenyatta. This is the first time he enjoyed the backing of the outgoing President.
In yester years, Azimio leader Raila Odinga had curved a niche of being a whistleblower. He had indeed become a household during the reign of President Mwai Kibaki and his successor Uhuru Kenyatta.
He had unearthed and exposed a number of mega corruption scandals.
But one thing remained clear. He would play this role when he was fighting and pushing these governments to succumb to his demands.
Once he had fought his way and occupied his seat at the high table where the national cake is being shared, he always become contented. He would no longer blow the whistle.
We know today he is harboring a major grudge with the current government of President Ruto.
As such, he could have been in forefront of exposing the so called corruption scandals if they ever existed.
He would not dare to do this. Reason? He knew he would end up being embarrassed and ashamed because of peddling outright lies.
But many Kenyans believed those cooking these stories fully enjoyed his blessing.
Reason? This card was helping him to further his political course. By painting him in bad light, he hoped this would make Dr Ruto soften his stance and invite him for talks.
It has dawned on him that Dr Ruto is a hard nut to crack. He cannot succumb to these tricks designed to blackmail and intimidate him.
For now, Raila’s latest remarks and body language points to this. He wants to make peace with the President. Has realized this when it is too late?
He has been desperately looking for an opportunity to have one-on-one meeting with President Ruto.
It worth noting. Raila lost the election to Dr Ruto. After being declared the winner by the IEBC chairman, Raila filed a petition at the Supreme Court of Kenya to challenge his victory. He lost the case and the court upheld the Dr Ruto’s victory.
Also, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka confirmed this when he spoke in Machakos during the Saba Saba demonstrations. He stated. Our eader Raila Odinga lost but Ruto won with a slight margin of 60,000 votes. This explains why the country is divided in the middle. We therefore call upon Ruto to respond to our calls for dialogue.
With this, President Ruto does not owe Raila any debt.
Joseph Mutua Ndonga is a writer and political analyst based in Nairobi