With his knack to articulate outrageous sentiments when it suits him, it is impossible to ignore Deputy President William Ruto. While presiding over a fundraiser at the Gikonde Catholic Parish in Nyeri County recently, Ruto is quoted to have averred that the Jubilee government had “a clear vision when making development proposals to parliament”. And while castigating those who say money collected from taxes is being lost through corruption, Ruto claimed they were “misleading Kenyans”.
In light of the arrests so far made of individuals suspected to have dipped their sticky fingers in the public coffers, the contention by Ruto demonstrates the disdain in which he holds Kenyans. The scams in the public domain, which include the heists at the National Youth Service, Kenya Power, Afya House and many more; involve public money collected through taxes. To suggest otherwise is to insult the collective intelligence of Kenyans. It is to portray the Auditor General as an erratic individual given to making improbable statements on unaccounted for money in government institutions.
It depicts President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji and Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti as tricksters who started a futile war against a nonexistent vice; corruption. And, whenever Ruto stands before crowds to support the onslaught against corruption, does it ever occur to him that it is all about stolen taxes?
It is injudicious that the deputy president should use the word ‘mislead’ yet, viewed against promises he so passionately made regarding the economy growing in double digits, construction of stadiums in all counties, availing computers for all Standard One pupils; that the ‘hakuna kazi’ boards in offices will be a thing of the past and security will be vastly improved, the word ‘mislead’ defines him and the administration he leads.
Ruto and his cohorts have never masked their consuming desire to see him ascend the throne when President Uhuru Kenyatta exits in 2022. While there is nothing wrong with that, it is how they chose to canvass, rather, demand support from certain quarters that will be their undoing. They picked far too many fights early on and may have lost whatever sympathy they had. Already, they are suffering burnout and bruises acquired from the political drumming they exposed themselves to.
For being second in command of the country, one appreciates that Ruto must project a positive outlook to encourage his supporters and those who entertain the hope he might become the next president. The strong bond that held Jubilee in 2013 through to 2016 has grown weak. Political shifts have occurred right under Ruto’s feet that he cannot ignore, no matter how positive he appears to be.
What once looked like fait accompli is increasingly becoming a mirage with four more years to go. That is the reality, and as Carl Sagan observed, “The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what is true”.
Further, Sagan states that “It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring”. This is wise counsel that the belligerent Ruto troupe could benefit from even as one notices that the vilest, the most loquacious of the troupe have gone mute over the last few months. It is defeatist for the DP to allow his ambition to cloud his perceptions.
The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), Jubilee’s flagship project for which we have been given an earful could very well be our undoing for the meager the return on investment. Economists have warned us countless times of the dangers the colossal loans taken to finance the SGR and other infrastructural projects exposes us to.
The negativity that has so far encompassed the SGR and its financiers, including the murmurs of dissatisfaction from the Port of Mombasa, transporters and importers - unless basic economics has failed us- makes the loan an albatross around our necks.
The electricity connectivity which Ruto never tires to enumerate is basically a white elephant project. Granted, one can see electricity poles lead into some homesteads, but in reality, they are ornaments laid to massage Jubilee’s ego because it is pointless having electricity connection one can hardly pay for at the end of the month.
Talk about ‘affordable electricity’ is flap-doodle. The utility firm adjusted its rates hoodwinking Kenyans that the charges would come down, yet manipulated the billing to increase charges in the bills.
Such perjury, and which those in authority seem to condone by keeping quiet about, is part of the legion of obstacles that Ruto inadvertently allows to stand in the way of his journey to State House.
Mr Chagema is a correspondent at The [email protected]