ODM MPs defend Raila Odinga against graft accusations by DP William Ruto

ODM party leader Raila Odinga and DP William Ruto during a past function. PHOTO | FILE
ODM party leader Raila Odinga and DP William Ruto during a past function. PHOTO | FILE

The war of words pitting Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga against Deputy President William Ruto over corruption allegations has intensified, with lawmakers allied to the former Prime Minister defending his grand coalition tenure.

The MPs on Monday dared Ruto to table graft evidence against Mr. Odinga, claiming known allies of the DP have been kicked out of government and prosecuted over alleged siphoning of public resources.

The bare-knuckle combat over theft of public resources dominated the political scene last weekend, with DP Ruto firing back at Mr. Odinga’s salvos.

“Pesa ambayo amebeba hii mamilioni ametoa wapi? Wezi ambao wanatakikana kuwa Shimo la Tewa wanatembea na mahelicopter kila mahali wakitoa pesa kila upande, hiyo ni taifa gani? Kanisa imefunguliwa amekuja na magunia ya pesa,” Mr. Odinga said during a visit to the Coast on Saturday.

The DP on Sunday however shot back saying: “Niliwaambia hawa watu they’re planless, rudderless, agendaless, na ndio mnaona sai wanahangaika hawajui wako upinzani ama wako kwa serikali. Wakiwa kwa serikali wanaibia vijana, wakiwa kwa upinzani wanaibia wagonjwa kupitia KEMSA billionaires. Na saa hii wanataka kutupatia lecture ya mambo ya anti-corruption, please, you better be ashamed of yourselves.”

The bone of contention was Mr. Odinga’s challenge to the DP to account for his wealth and the donations he gives to churches through harambees, as well as goodies dished to youth and women groups.

“Hiyo mamilioni ametoa wapi? Wewe unakuja unanuliwa na ile pesa yako, hakuna mtu anauliza hiyo pesa ametoa wapi,” said the ODM chief.

Ruto retorted saying: “Baadala ya nyinyi kulalamika na kutupea mushene na kitendawili, sisi tumesema safari hii tunabadilisha uchumi kuanzia chini tukielekea juu.”

Lawmakers allied to Mr. Odinga on Monday came out to defend him over graft allegations during his grand coalition stint.

“How many associates of the deputy president have been charged in court and forced out of office since 2013 to date? So where does corruption lie? He cannot lie by telling other people that they’re dirty while we know he’s dirty,” said Narok North MP Moitalel ole Kenta.

Saboti MP Caleb Amisi posed: “Why is it that whenever corruption is mentioned or talked about, you (DP) are the first to come out and defend yourself? Who has even talked about you?”

“Mr. Ruto, Raila Odinga never made any reference to you, he never mentioned anyone’s name, so why do you get agitated?” Posed Nominated MP Godfrey Osotsi.

Ruto’s proposal of a bottom-up economic principle, ostensibly to uplift the ordinary citizenry through budgetary allocations should he ascend to the highest office in the land next year, has been rubbished by Mr. Odinga who terms it tokenism and glorifying poverty.

The pro-Odinga lawmakers took issue with Ruto’s claim that he helped the ODM leader ascend to the premiership in the grand coalition government with retired president Mwai Kibaki after the 2007/08 skirmishes.

“Siku ile nilikusaidia my friend ukuwe Prime Minister, mama mboga na mtu wa boda boda hawakulalamika. Mbona saa hizi nasema nataka kusaidia mama mboga na mtu wa boda boda unalalamika?” Posed the DP.

“We know the circumstances under which we entered the grand coalition, and it has not been documented anywhere that it is William Ruto who was solely responsible for pushing or placing Raila to Prime Minister,” responded Mathare MP Anthony Oluoch.

Whether corruption can be an election issue yet again a significant question, even as some political pundits project an Odinga-Ruto contest in next year’s State House succession race.

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Story By Ian Omondi
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