ruto saga continues….

Today’s Nation quotes a Steadman poll that found that a majority of Kenyans want the Agriculture minister, William Ruto, out of office pending investigations into what really happened with the government’s strategic maize reserve at the National Cereals and Produce Board. Given the accusations and counter-accusations flying around regarding the maize scandal it is hard to establish who is telling the truth. Last week Ruto survived a censure motion in parliament when 119 of his colleagues voted in his support, against a mere 22 against him. But the fact that more than half of those polled want him out should signal to the minister that may be it is time he stepped aside to clear his name before resuming duties as a cabinet minister.

Plus this story is not going away any time soon. Today’s Nation also has a story about Jirongo’s denial of Karua’s (Justice Minister) supposed proposition to Ruto regarding the 2012 elections. The Lugari MP (Cyrus Jirongo) insists that his mediation between Karua and Ruto at his house in Muthaiga had nothing to do with a 2012 political deal between the two ministers but was an effort to try and find ways of resettling IDPs back in the Rift Valley, Ruto’s backyard. But if Jirongo is to be believed, Ruto demanded that any talks with Karua were contingent on the Judiciary dropping a land case in which he is implicated.

And so Ruto continues to be entangled in one scandle after another and it seems like the more he defends himself the more his detractors come out with even more damaging allegations. I think that for the sake of the coalition government’s cohesiveness and to avoid unncessary distractions it is imperative that Ruto steps aside – like the majority of Kenyans want. If he gets cleared he can return to the cabinet but if not he should be kept out of the cabinet.

And ethnicity should not be part of this. There is nothing that grants William Ruto an entitlement to the leadership of the communities residing in the Rift Valley province – just like Mudavadi or Raila are not entitled in Western or Nyanza respectively. This maneno of running back to ethnicity when politicians find themselves in trouble should be put to an end. Let every man carry his own cross.

getting to the bottom of the maize scandal

So it turns out that Ababu Namwamba’s sensational claim in parliament that first lady Lucy Kibaki was linked to a company that illegal traded in maize for Kenya’s starving millions was based on false documents. And the same is also true of Bonny Khalwale’s accusations of agriculture minister William Ruto. Whether this is the truth or not we may never know. Kenyan politicians have a going price and retractions of statements (true and otherwise) have been made before. And why accuse the first lady and a whole cabinet minister with false documents? Messrs Namwamba and Khalwale are not village idiots. They must have known what they were talking about. For now I shall remain skeptical of these retractions and say that where there is smoke there is fire. If Mr. Ruto wants to clear his name he should tell us who traded in the maize, it is his ministry after all. And if the president wants his wife’s name cleared he should also tell us the truth. Everyone high up in government must know who these thieves are.

Millions of Kenyans face starvation if they don’t get relief food and so it galls me when I read that people are stealing the same relief food and being allowed to get away with it. Since when did we come to accept that Kenyan lives – no matter how poor our citizens may be – are worth sacrificing so that an already filthy rich cabal of thieves can continue enriching themselves? Where is the anger in the media, in the church, on the streets and among the civil society? Do we realise what we are doing to ourselves? Kenyans are dying!!!

Does it cease to be a crime just because someone who speaks your language did it? Does it cease to be a crime when it is Kibaki and not Raila or Ruto and not Michuki or vise versa? I don’t think so.

We need the truth NOW.