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Leaders would do well not to try to sanitise corruption in any form

By Alexander Chagema | Published Thu, July 12th 2018 at 00:00, Updated July 11th 2018 at 18:58 GMT +3

Inexorably, Deputy President William Ruto is throwing in the towel. One would have wished he stayed the course of confrontation his lieutenants had chosen, but no, their knuckles got bruised before the battle they were asking for began.

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After all the assurances that the 2022 presidency was Ruto’s for the taking, for him to have publicly admitted no tribe owes him loyalty took courage. That admission wrecked the hallucinations that have clouded the mental faculties of many, not least of whom are leaders who should know better.

The narrative that Ruto single-handedly marshalled Kalenjin votes for Uhuru in the Rift Valley in 2012 and 2017 on the understanding that reciprocal action would come his way in 2022 was meant to smother the Kikuyu with the feeling of indebtedness to Ruto, thus compelling them to vote for him. This has been loudly propagated by senators Samuel Cherargei, Kipchumba Murkomen and Irungu Kangata, and MPs Kimani Ichungwa and Moses Kuria.

Nevertheless, even grudgingly, I must admit Ruto is a shrewd operator.The same disclaimer could have been a clever way of swatting the gadflies that have been swarming noisily around him, using the fait accompli presumption to sting the DP. Either way, that still puts guilt on the Kikuyu, giving the bogeyman narrative that they are ungrateful, therefore untrustworthy. God permitting, the guilt of it could still make many of them want to vote for Ruto in 2022 to return a favour they know nothing about.

To blackmail

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In truth, though, any agreement between Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto in their individual capacities is not binding on the communities they hail from. The Kikuyu, as many have repeatedly said, owe Ruto nothing.

The rantings of a few leaders from the Rift Valley, perhaps a desperate ploy to blackmail the community to vote for Ruto to guarantee their elevation to positions of prominence, have boomeranged.

Ruto’s disclaimer has pulled the rug from under them. It will be interesting to see their next course of action, even though they had already dejectedly started retreating from the battle front.

In the Rift Valley, the cacophony has suddenly died down. The Ruto Orchestra leader cum ‘bouncer’, Samuel Cherargei, has gone AWOL, or has he? His able deputy, Kipchumba Murkomen, had the grace, humiliating though, to publicly declare he was quitting the ring in which he had been throwing blind punches that never once hit anything solid. His whining was grating as much as Cherargei’s call for water from the Jordan river to protect William Ruto against the ‘evil’ around Raila Odinga was pitiable.

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What precipitated this sudden change of heart? To think it was out of objectivity is to be naive, and I refuse to be party to that. As we have been made to understand, politics is a dirty game in which, to survive, one must act dirty. The more ‘dirt’ one collects about ‘partners in crime’, the greater the insurance against betrayal at some stage.

Sneaky feeling

Nonetheless, we can deduce a lot from what has been said and transpired since the call for polygraph tests and lifestyle audits was made. Further, with Parliament feeding on itself in regard to corruption and the illicit sugar scandal, obviously a lot must remain under wraps to protect the country from imploding. I have this sneaky feeling ‘dossiers’ could have been circulated to some individuals, and that scared the bejesus out of them.

The scum of corruption makes Kenya stink to the high heavens, though William Ruto refuses to blame graft, instead blaming an incompetent leadership for our country’s woes.

Given that under Jubilees watch Kenya has been going through the roughest patch of its miserable life, was Ruto telling us, not in so many words, that President Kenyatta is, and has been incompetent? Was it a way of evening the score on the ‘kutangatanga’ label that is not so endearing?

Further, was Ruto’s declaration during a televised interview that corruption was not responsible for the sorry state of Kenya an attempt to sanitise corruption? Did it aim to steer national debate away from corruption, perhaps even stymie calls for a lifestyle audit on senior government officials deemed to be living beyond their means?

Approximately Sh1 billion was lost in the NYS 1 scam, Sh19 billion in NYS 2, Sh100 billion in Goldenburg, Sh8 billion in Anglo Leasing and Sh70 billion at KPC, plus over Sh650 billion annually through other means that include bribery. How much development could we have realised had this money not been stolen?

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Couldn’t that money have built us a Standard Gauge Railway without mortgaging our country to the Chinese? Couldn’t it have been enough to build a dual carriageway at the killer Salgaa blackspot on the Nakuru-Eldoret road to save lives? How many cancer hospitals could that money have built and equipped? How many schools could that money have helped fully equip? Corruption is our undoing, deal with it conclusively.


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