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Kenyan Governors: DP William Ruto should be first to quit

Governors have dared Deputy President (DP) William Ruto to step aside, if the Jubilee government is truly committed to fighting corruption.

The County chiefs also said the president does not have powers over elected governors and maintained executive orders to step aside can only be issued to Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, parastatal heads and other officers under the executive.

The Council of Governors (CoG) said it can only respond to the allegations leveled against some of them once the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and Parliament, furnishes it with a copy of the confidential report tabled by the president after his state of the nation address on Thursday.

The eleven county bosses named by the President in his address denied being under any probe body and accused the national government of playing politics with matters corruption, which has dogged the Uhuru/Ruto administration.

“If the Deputy President steps aside, I will do the same the next day. The DP should lead the way; he has also been mentioned, and by doing so, others like us mentioned, will follow,” said Governor Peter Munya (Meru).

He stressed, “If being mentioned is enough for someone to step aside, then top officials in the national government should be the first ones to do so, some of them are facing serious criminal charges in a global court,” said Munya.

CoG Chairman Isaac Ruto, demanded to know the intention of the president in releasing the list to Parliament, which in his view, has made the list cease to become an EACC report but now an executive report.

“EACC should do its job as stipulated in law and not act as an appendage of the Executive. What this list has done is pre-judicial to those mentioned. It is scandalous; some of us have names to protect. We will not allow our names to be dragged in the mud every day,” said Ruto.

He cautioned: “If the intention is to get rid of certain governors, they will not succeed. We have the mandate of the people and there are institutions mandated by law to ensure accountability. Let them stick to specific issues and not generalities of being mentioned without prior knowledge.”

Governors Ruto, Munya, Josphat Nanok (Turkana), Paul Chepkwony (Kericho), Salim Mvurya (Kwale) and Evans Kidero (Nairobi) despite affirming their commitment in the war on graft, insisted that there is a constitutional and statutory process of dealing with all complaints lodged with EACC.

“As a matter of law, any complaint lodged against a governor as the elected head of the county government is insufficient to warrant stepping aside,” said Mvurya, who is also the vice-chairman of the council.

He emphasised: “Due process must be adhered to and investigations allowed to proceed without interference. CoG undertakes to cooperate with EACC in undertaking its probe. At this point, all governors have a constitutional mandate to continue being in charge of their respective county governments’ as provided in law.”

The governors alleged that the government’s move to release the report as a ploy to target specific individuals is not favourable to the regime.

They also questioned the authenticity of the report after the President handed it to Parliament, yet EACC is an independent establishment in law and required to report directly to the legislature.

Credible report

The governors asked how an institution like EACC, which is in itself under investigation by Parliament, can purport to release a credible report.

Munya and Ruto further questioned how speakers Ekwee Ethuro (Senate) and Justin Muturi (National Assembly) plan to table the list in the two Houses.

“The President is a stranger in the House. Will Parliament change its Standing Orders to allow the list tabled as an addendum of the President’s speech or what?” questioned Ruto.

Governor Ruto (Bomet), who jetted back into the country from Sweden yesterday morning, denied being under investigations by EACC or receiving any letter to that effect.

“I am just reading the names in the Press. No one has ever asked me any question to suggest there is corruption in Bomet County. I am going to look at these issues before I give a comprehensive response,” said Ruto.

He continued: “My conscience is very clear, I have done absolutely nothing illegal. Let us not introduce witch-hunt in the war on corruption. I support the war on corruption, but that war will only be won if it is not politicised or used to achieve political agendas against targeted individuals.”

Ruto stressed that the law is clear regarding when, how and on what grounds a governor can be removed from office.

Munya lamented that his name appearing in the list, may be as a result of using his personal car when he assumed office and later undisclosed investigations by EACC to establish if his county executive was awarding tenders to Members of the County Assembly.

“I used my vehicle for five months after Transition Authority sanctioned the use. Later, the county government paid Sh300,000 to CMC for repairs and service, but when this turned controversial, I refunded the amount,” said Munya.

Governor Nanok said he has never seen EACC investigators in his county.

“I am shocked that my name is appearing in the EACC list. At no point have I been under any probe. Some time ago, a journalist called me to inquire on allegations that I had bought Comfort Hotel in Nairobi. In my eight years in politics, I have not set foot in the said hotel,” said Nanok.

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