Deputy President William Ruto has said the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) does not have the constitutional mandate to investigate economic crimes.
Dr Ruto argued that DCI, which is headed by George Kinoti, lacks backing by law to probe economic crimes, adding that it should hand over investigations to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).
“The fight against corruption must proceed on the basis of correct information and by competent institutions that have the constitutional mandate and institutional capacity so that we can have results,” said Ruto at Kapng’etuny in Ainamoi constituency yesterday.
He added: “We will refuse and reject any attempt by people to put together a political narrative using corruption and propaganda to drive a scheme to undermine Government programmes and projects, with the aim of destroying the Big Four agenda.”
But speaking in Nairobi, Jubilee MPs - who were joined by their colleagues from ODM, Wiper and ANC - dared Ruto to quit the governing party and form his own campaign vehicle ahead of the 2022 General Election.
Maina Kamanda (Nominated), Joshua Kutuny (Cherangany), Peter Mwathi (Limuru), Paul Koinange (Kiambaa), Wambugu Ngunjiri (Nyeri), Maoka Maore (Igembe North) and Mercy Gakuya (Kasarani) said they would not allow the party to be demonised because of the actions of a few.
Mr Kamanda also accused Ruto of using his money to woo leaders from central Kenya in a bid to stoke a rebellion against President Kenyatta in his own backyard.
“If Ruto thinks that recruiting a few leaders from the central region will help him win votes in 2022, then he is wrong. The constituents are staunch supporters of the President. It is time he understood that central region vote is under the lock and key of Uhuru Kenyatta,” said Kamanda.
And as a pointer to the escalating tension between the Uhuru and Ruto camps in Jubilee, the MPs said Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, a close ally of the DP, would be targeted for removal from his Senate seat for fighting the war on corruption.
“Time has now come for us to do away with Murkomen and replace him with someone else. You cannot be the Jubilee-appointed Senate majority leader and keep hurling insults at the party leader who is President Uhuru Kenyatta,” said Mr Kutuny.
The Jubilee MPs joined up with opposition MPs Robert Mbui (Kathiani), Sam Atandi (Alego Usonga), Caleb Hamisi (Saboti), Godfrey Osotsi (Nominated) and Anthony Oluoch (Mathare) at Joyous Celebration Church in Limuru. Mr Oluoch dismissed claims by Ruto’s allies that ODM leader Raila Odinga was using last year’s ‘handshake’ to rock Jubilee. He instead accused the DP of fighting the unity deal between Uhuru and Raila.
“If it has come to a point where you cannot respect this Government then leave and go form your own party and start the journey for the 2022 General Election,” said Oluoch. Separately in Nairobi, a group of ODM MPs said the country was united in the fight against graft and warned that they would take ‘drastic action’ against the DP.
“We now know you are an impediment to the war against corruption. If this continues, we will bring an impeachment motion against Ruto,” Mr Abuor said.
But Ruto, who was speaking during the thanksgiving ceremony of Ainamoi MP Sylvanus Maritim, told Raila to return to the opposition benches and wait for the 2022 presidential duel.
“Odinga with his litany of lies is now into the dam projects of which he claims huge sums of money have been stolen. How long does Raila think he can fool us? We know his political game. We must now be firm and ensure that this Government delivers. That is how we are going to change Kenya. Let Odinga go back to the opposition and continue his opposition work.
“I have built friendship across the country and we are going to teach Raila a political lesson when the right time comes,” Ruto said.
Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, who represented Mt Kenya region leaders, assured Ruto that central Kenya would back his presidential bid.
“I was with President Kenyatta the other day and from my keen observation, he hasn’t changed his mind to support Dr Ruto after his second five-year term,” Mr Waititu said.
Mr Murkomen called for Raila’s arrest “for committing treason during his swearing-in as the people’s president”. “We want to revisit Odinga’s criminal activities. He committed a treasonable act. It doesn’t matter how many votes he got. He is not immune to prosecution,” he said.
But ODM leaders Edwin Sifuna, Rongo MP Paul Abuor and Nairobi Woman Rep Esther Passaris dared Murkomen to follow through with his threat.
“Murkomen is an embarrassment to the lawyers of this country. He should know what constitutes treason. He should be the last person to attack the DCI. We have not forgotten how his law firm was revealed to have benefited from the NYS I scandal,” said Mr Sifuna. Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter also recalled Raila’s hand in his and Ruto’s firing from the Cabinet during the Grand Coalition Government.
“The cure now is for Rift Valley resident to register themselves as voters and prepare to vote overwhelmingly for Dr William Ruto in the 2022 General Election,” Keter said.
In the well-orchestrated onslaught against the DCI, Belgut MP Nelson Koech was the first to draw a line in the sand against Kinoti. “The drafters of the Constitution were very clear in their mind when they dissociated DCI from EACC. Today we declare that we no longer have confidence in the office of the DCI. We want all economic matters to be taken over by EACC,” Mr Koech said.
Kipkelion West MP Hillary Koskei said the DCI did not have the professional capacity to fight ‘complex matters’ while Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot argued that investigating economic crimes was beyond Kinoti’s capacity.
“The constitutionally mandated body to fight corruption is EACC. The work of DCI is to investigate other crimes,” said Mr Cheruiyot.
However, the Jubilee and opposition MPs in Limuru jumped to the DCI’s defence.
“The DCI is not going anywhere. If Murkomen wants the position he should first resign from his role as a senator but he should know that no one is replacing Kinoti,” Mwathi said.