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Arch-rivals Ruto, Raila in bitter exchange over war on corruption

By Moses Nyamori | July 5th 2021

Deputy President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga during the funeral service of former Finance Minister Simeon Nyachae at Gusii Stadium in Kisii County on February 15, 2021.[ DPPS, Standard]

A fresh war of words pitting political arch-rivals Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga has erupted over the war on corruption. Dr Ruto yesterday accused Raila of running a corruption cartel within the Jubilee administration following the Handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The DP cited the alleged corruption scandal involving the Kazi Kwa Vijana project during the grand coalition government where Raila served as the Prime Minister.

The project that was meant to empower the youth was being run by the office of the premier.

The war of words was triggered by Raila’s declaration that he will jail corrupt officials in the Jubilee administration should he ascend to power after next year’s General Election.

Although Raila did not mention any names, his remarks were perceived to be directed at Ruto, whom he accused of allegedly dishing out stolen money to churches as donations.

The ODM leader claimed that the cash donations to churches was taxpayers’ money stolen from the Standard Gauge Railway project whose cost was inflated by billions of shillings. “What is the source of the millions of shillings they carry around and donate to churches? You see them come here in sheep’s clothing and claim they will fundraise for women and the youth. They are moving from place to place donating stolen money,” said Raila.

“When we take charge, all the thieves will be taken in. We will ensure that they are arrested and jailed in Shimo La Tewa,” said the ODM leader in Mvita constituency, Mombasa County, on Saturday.

Yesterday, Ruto hit out at Raila accusing him of being a major beneficiary of graft. The DP linked the ODM leader to the Kemsa scandal where certain firms allegedly received millions of shillings for Covid-19 supplies.

“When they were in government, they were stealing from the youth; now they are in the opposition, they have stolen from the sick through the so-called ‘Covid billionaires,” he claimed.

“It is only in Kenya where the opposition pretends to run the government. The same opposition runs corruption cartels in government and the same opposition tries to run lectures on how to fight corruption. What an irony,” added the DP.

Ruto made the remarks when he attended a church service at Presbyterian Church of East Africa Umoja in Nairobi yesterday.

He further accused Raila of allegedly scuttling Jubilee’s Big Four Agenda through push for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) that seeks to amend the Constitution.

Ruto said implementation of food security, affordable housing, manufacturing, and affordable healthcare would have improved the living standards of mwananchi.

“President Uhuru my friend, out of abundance of good heart, invited you to join the government, but you arrived and scuttled our Big Four Agenda because it would have given job opportunities to the small people like masons, carpenters, plumbers and electricians,” the DP said.

“Instead you said there was no need for job opportunities. You told us to change the Constitution so that we can create positions of a prime minister for the big people. Surely, you need to apologise to us,” he said.

Ruto said if he forms the next government he will create a Sh30 billion fund to support the poor. In his address after the church service, he dismissed calls to postpone the elections.

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