Reuben Mwambingu @reubenmwambingu
Deputy President William Ruto yesterday scoffed at innuendos and rumours swirling around recent lifestyle audit call for public servants by President Uhuru Kenyatta, and declared readiness to explain the source of his wealth.
Wondering why the obsession with him, the DP challenged all public servants to support the course to achieve integrity to enable the country to attain ambitious goals such as the Big Four agenda and Vision 2030.
Speaking during the official opening of the 43rd Kenya Secondary School Heads Association’s annual conference at a Mombasa hotel, Ruto said he had become a subject of discussion over the lifestyle audit directive. He said he’s ready to be audited so that rumours surrounding his wealth can be put to rest.
“I have nothing to hide”, said the DP, adding that he would be among the first public officers to face the integrity test.
“The other day I saw the media trying to write something on what I own. Well…I thought they would continue the following day with another leader. But I saw nothing…it seemed the agenda was me because it started and ended on me. I thought this lifestyle audit was meant for all public servants?,” he posed.
“The President pronounced government policy on every public servant to be subjected to a lifestyle audit and it is expected that every public servant will subject themselves to lifestyle audit when that process begins. William Ruto will be among the first to submit himself for that exercise when that process begins.”
He said the ghost of corruption must be slain through collective efforts by all citizens before it becomes too big to handle and end up dimming hopes for progress.
Ruto said wastage and corruption must be dealt with firmly and decisively to safeguard integrity and affirmed the government’s commitment to fight corruption.
“It is a serious threat. We cannot attain the Big Four agenda if these vices are not tamed. That is why I will also undergo the lifestyle scrutiny,” he said, adding that the exercise would help put to rest rumour mills and half truths about him.
Ruto became the latest prominent leader to express readiness to submit to the audit after the President, Nasa leader Raila Odinga and Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka.
But the lifestyle audit call notwithstanding and leaders expressing willingness to be subjected to the same, questions have emerged on the practicality of the audit with observers citing legal loopholes.
Ruto told the 8,000 school heads that as leaders, they play a critical role in building the foundation for citizens and urged the principals to institute strong participatory structures that are open to students.
“We need you as leaders at hand to help the government reach her promises such as Vision 2030 and the Big Four agenda that is shaping the way for the next five years,” he said.
Noting that schools are fertile grounds to breed and nurture leaders, Ruto called on Teachers Service Commission to consider expanding the insurance cover enjoyed by tutors to include evacuation by air and foreign treatment.
He directed National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) service providers to begin to provide outpatient services to 2.8 million students within their respective schools to avoid absenteeism.
“NHIF services must be provided within the schools… we do not expect students to leave schools to seek outpatient services. Unless when the student needs be admitted,” he said. (See separate story on page 7)
Ruto urged the school heads to stand tall against cases of sexual harassments in schools, saying leaders cannot be produced in an environment stained by tyrannical and physical abuse.
“Cases of sexual harassments in schools must be stopped at once,” he said.