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Fact-check: Did William Ruto get his facts right during presidential debate?

Kenya Kwanza Alliance presidential candidate William Ruto speaks at CUEA during the debate. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Claim 1: We have 5 million young people who are not working

The latest available government data on labour force is for the first quarter of 2021 and shows Ruto’s figure is incorrect. 

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics’ data shows the youth, aged 15 – 34, who were classified as unemployed was 959,889 while 7.67 million were classified as not in the labour force.

KNBS adds that 15 to 34-year-olds who are not in the education system and were not working or being trained for work totaled three million by end of March 2021.

We rate Dr Ruto’s claim as incorrect.

Claim 2: We have 15 million Kenyans who are blacklisted in CRB

Sammy Omukoko, the managing director at Metropol Corporation - one of the three licenced CRBs alongside TransUnion and Creditinfo International - told the Standard in mid-May 2022 that just about two million borrowers were blacklisted.

“We have 19 million Kenyans listed in the CRB, out of which 17 million are eligible borrowers but over 2 million of them are defaulters and therefore cannot access loans from any financial institution,” said Mr Omukoko.

Being listed means having one’s particulars, in regards to risk profile, with CRBs. Being blacklisted only applies when ones’ profile is marked as a defaulter.

Metropol had in February said 14.03 million loan accounts had been blacklisted. It is possible for one to have more than one loan account and this means the number of blacklisted loan accounts is not always equal to the number of blacklisted people.

We rate Dr Ruto’s claim as incorrect.

Claim 3: In our first term, we borrowed Sh2.2 trillion

Jubilee administration’s first term started in March 2013 and ended in August 2017. National Treasury data shows total debt grew by Sh2.65 trillion from Sh1.794 trillion to Sh4.445 trillion.

We rate Dr Ruto’s claim as understated since the figure he gave is Sh451 billion lower.

Claim 4: From 2017, our handshake brothers have borrowed Sh4.2 trillion

Raila and Uhuru’s handshake happened on March 9, 2018. Debt in March 2018 was Sh4.884 trillion and hit Sh8.563 trillion in May 2022. This translates to a rise of Sh3.679 trillion.

We rate Dr Ruto’s claim as overstated since the figure he gave is Sh521 billion higher.

Claim 5: Almost 80 per cent of our borrowing is actually domestic

Kenya’s total public debt was Sh8.563 trillion, according to the latest data from the Treasury.

Domestic is Sh4.268 trillion or 49.8 per cent of total debt while external borrowing is Sh4.295 or 50.2 per cent of total debt.

We, therefore, rate Dr Ruto’s claim as incorrect.

DP William Ruto with his wife Rachel Ruto at CUEA, Karen, for the presidential debate. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Claim 6: There are 15 different taxes on fuel

Information from Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), a government body which regulates fuel prices, shows there are nine taxes and levies.

The taxes and levies are:  excise duty, road maintenance levy, petroleum development levy, petroleum regulatory levy, railway development levy, anti-adulteration levy, merchant shipping levy, import declaration fee and value added tax.

Dr Ruto’s claim is therefore incorrect

Claim 7: Fifty per cent of the cost of fuel in Kenya is taxes

Data from Epra on fuel prices for July 14 to August 14, 2022 show taxes and levies make up 40.3 per cent, 37.1 per cent and 35.7 per cent of petrol, diesel and kerosene retail prices respectively.

Dr Ruto’s claim is therefore incorrect

Claim 8: Kenya is spending Sh12 billion today to import maize from Uganda or from Tanzania

Kenya’s total value of maize imports was Sh13.75 billion in the entire 2021, according to KNBS Economic Survey 2022.

The country spent Sh2.79 billion to import maize between January and March 2022, according to KNBS’s balance of payments report, which is the latest government document tracking imports by commodity.

We rate Ruto’s claim as unproven.

Claim 9: I was a victim of a fraudulent transaction in the Muteshi land. The people who sold the land to me are now in court. I was ordered to pay Sh5 million for the economic value of the land in the three years I occupied it. 

In June 2013 Justice Mary Gitumbi ruled that the decision by the Soy Land Control Board authorising the subdivision and creation of new land registers for Muteshi's land was fraudulent, null and void.

According to court documents, Dorothy Jemutai Yator, who was listed as the 4th defendant in the case had laid claim to the land and later sold it to Deputy President William Ruto in October 2008. The court awarded Muteshi Sh5 million as compensation.         

We rate Ruto’s claim as correct.

Claim 10: The Judiciary Fund has been operationalised and this is after I pushed for it over the past one and a half years.

In March 2022, Chief Justice Martha Koome said the process to operationalise the Judiciary Fund was at advanced stages.

In April 2022, the Chief Justice said the Judiciary has received support from other arms of government and the Fund will be set up by July 1, 2022.

However, there is no provision for the fund in the 2022/2023 budget and no indication that the National Assembly approved the Fund before the 12th Parliament adjourned in June.

We rate Ruto’s claim as unproven.

DP William Ruto speaks at CUEA, Karen, after the presidential debate. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Claim 11: Transfer of functions was done in a year instead of three years. We completed that exercise in a record one year instead of three years.

Article 15 (1) of the sixth schedule provided for a three-year window from the date of the 2013 general elections for the transfer of functions from the National to County Governments.

However, in 2016 the Transitional Authority (TA) wrote to Parliament asking for an extension of its term for three years to complete its work.

The TA's pending work included an audit of assets and liabilities owed by the defunct local authorities as well as an audit of all pending bills. A Bill at the Senate to extend the Authority's term has stalled for the last seven years.

We rate Ruto’s claim as incorrect.

Claim 12: The government of Kenya is in court in London, sued by the contractor for Sh12 billion over the Arror and Kimwarer dams.

In December 2020, the contractors hired to build the Arror and Kimwarer dams CMC Di Ravenna Societa Cooperativa, Itinera SPA and CMC Di Ravanna-Itinera JV SCPA lodged arbitration proceedings against the Kerio Valley Development Authority at the International Chamber of Commerce.

They are seeking for $114.1million (Sh13.5 billion) plus costs of the case and expenses to be incurred by its lawyers during the hearing.

We rate Ruto’s claim as correct.

-Fact checks by Patrick Alushula, Ronald Bett and Frankline Sunday