It’s time to go for broke, reveal how deep corruption is

The recent outbursts by William Ruto and his sycophants on the war on corruption reveal a troubled man with his back to the wall. It is not clear why he would do it, but his emotional effort to minimise the “Damsgate” scandals by reducing the amounts at stake to Sh7 billion from Sh21 billion was unnecessary. This is a biggie, with billions dished out without a sign of any work done, and to a company that is basically bankrupt! No amount of financial mumbo-jumbo can hide the fact that yet again Kenyans have been taken for a ride.

Similarly, the racket he has been making around his “gift” of a Pajero to the new Catholic Archbishop of Kisumu shows a person with lots of worries. A big part of Mr Ruto’s problems is that only when questions does he then offer explanations, which are sadly wishy-washy.

More than any other Kenyan, Mr Ruto is perceived — rightly or wrongly — to have his hand in almost every corrupt deal in the country. Part of that is his own making, when he proudly donates huge and unexplainable sums of cash at church fundraisers, but is coy about where the money comes from. Instead, he tries to wrap himself in Biblical verses that he misinterprets in ways the Pharisees of old would be proud.

Moreover, the fact that his sycophants rush to use the tribal card makes him look all the more guilty. Yes, maybe there are more people from certain communities being investigated and arrested. But that should not be a surprise given the fact that these communities are the ones holding the vast majority of public offices that lend themselves to easy looting! At any rate, did anyone hear Luo leaders saying that they are being finished when Tom Ojienda was arrested?

It is not lost on anyone that as soon as officials at certain parastatals were investigated and arrested, the huge donations at churches ended! We also see the colossal mansion being built in Eldoret, the ownership of hotels booming, and the fact that insurances for government assets are often done by companies related to him. And then there are the rumors of cash dished out to politicians to maintain their sycophancy, as well as delegations to his houses that leave well fatter in the pocket than when they entered.

Mr Ruto should be the last to call anyone a liar given that he does not blink when he lies to us in public. Who can forget the saga of the ownership of Weston Hotel when it first broke? It was not his. Then he had some interests. Then now it is his after the National Land Commission (NLC) inconceivably decided that it would not demolish the building. Maybe the owners of the demolished buildings that were irregularly and illegally grabbed should sue the NLC for discrimination on the basis of status, unless there was something else that led to this inexplicable decision. But I have some free advice for Mr Ruto. It could be that you are one of the main targets of the war on corruption, rightly or wrongly. But the attempts at fake piousness coupled with flashiness do not help.

But to get out of this, you will need to do something that could break you and your ambition, but it will mean that you do not fall alone, and that you can finally play a positive role in pushing Kenya forward. You are walking a tight rope, trying not to appear to be pro-corruption, trying not to alienate, publicly at least, those driving this iteration of the war on corruption. For you do not want to lose the public that could be useful in the 2022 elections, knowing how badly Kenyans feel about corruption at a time when living standards are dramatically falling.  

You know where some of the bodies are buried, so to speak. We remember how you were one of the first to speak against the new SGR deal that Uhuru Kenyatta came back with from China in 2013, abrogating the previous one that would have been from Mombasa to Kisumu for Sh80 billion for one that was for Sh320 billion and only to Nairobi from Mombasa. After a few days of speaking out, you turned around to support the new deal. Why did you change your position? What made you change?

Two, you know what happened to NYS1. In fact it was your office that led in the attempts to impeach Anne Waiguru. Tell the country why you did this and what really happened. And why you became silent after all that. You also know about Eurobond. And you know what happened in the last two elections.  

So, you could continue claiming tribal bias and issuing contradictory statements. That may work with your base, but you are losing everyone else. Maybe it is time to go for broke and reveal just how deep this corruption is. And that, incidentally, would be what true Christians would do. 

- The writer is former KNCHR chair. [email protected]