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.