Dinah Ondari, Robert Ochoro and DPPS @PeopleDailyKe
Deputy President William Ruto has come out guns blazing against those he charged were advancing “the devil’s agenda” in accusing him of being corrupt.
Speaking a day after Ipsos-Synovate opinion survey claimed he was the most corrupt leader in Kenya, Ruto told his accusers he will not be distracted by under-the-table tactics by opponents.
“Those running ‘injili ya shetani’ that unless your father was minister, a vice president or a president, however hard you work, you must remain poor, and if not a pauper you must be corrupt & have stolen, they should know that those without godfathers we have GOD the father. Shindwe” (sic), Ruto said on his official Twitter handle.
Whereas the post was later pulled down, the DP nonetheless dared his competitors to challenge him on what he has done to improve the lives of Kenyans.
“When my competitors are through with sponsored headlines, paid opinion polls and fake news, they are welcome to the real contest based on real mwananchi issues,” he said.
The DP trained arsenal at newspapers and unnamed forces within State House and the Opposition who he says are hellbent on derailing his chances to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022.
He repeated the same message while conducting a funds-drive for Bomachoge Chache boda boda operators at Tendere Stadium, where he told political rivals to prepare for bruising battle in the 2022 presidential race.
Earlier, while speaking at his Karen official residence, where he received Kirinyaga leaders, led by Governor Anne Waiguru, who had been ranked second most corrupt in the opinion poll, Ruto dismissed his accusers as idle people who had no development record to show.
“This story about constant, perennial, unending headlines about William Ruto this, William Ruto that, opinion poll this, corruption the other, is sponsored by our competitors who have failed to match our development record,” he said.
“I tell them when they are through with the headlines and with the corruption propaganda, let us meet at the development arena for the people of Kenya. That is where the development is, and we will not allow them to mislead us and to take us to an arena that has no benefit for anybody. We will not allow ourselves to go the arena of fake news and fake opinion polls.”
The DP said together with Uhuru, his focus is on serving Kenyans and ensuring the government realises its development plans, adding that he had become a punching bag for political lightweights in the country.
“Gazeti haiuzwi Kenya leo hii bila headline ya Ruto … kwa sababu hawa watu hawana plan ingine (I have become the daily subject of newspaper headlines because our critics have nothing else to do). The real contest is on the development arena, the electricity, the roads, the water, technical training, the things that matter to the ordinary people that will change their lives. That where the contest will be,” he added.
He spoke even as Ipsos management defended the opinion poll released on Wednesday, saying, “As Ipsos, all we do is collect data, analyse it and present the outcome. That many Kenyans perceive one to be more corrupt than another is not news.”
And in response to Waiguru’s threat to sue the pollster, Ipsos said on its official Twitter handle: “@Anne Waiguru we shall plead truth as our defense in a court of law.”
The Ipsos study listed Waiguru as second most corrupt person in a perception index of 31 per cent, followed by retired President Moi at 11 per cent.
And yesterday Waiguru said: “An arrow that is sent at night is sent by the same way it came. They will bring in politics and they will call us names but that will not affect us… I was surprised when they grouped me together with heads of states and I am just a hustler. It must mean that God has something prepared for me,” she added.
Ruto’s remarks against those accusing him of corruption came two months after allies led by Senate Leader of Majority Kipchumba Murkomen claimed the renewed anti-graft war was targeting the DP.
Murkomen said the fight was aimed at “isolating” the DP and sabotaging his 2022 political goals.
In his reaction, the majority leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale, said Jubilee leaders both in and outside Parliament support the war on corruption and warned “powerful people” he did not name of using constitutional bodies and the media to smear political leaders.
On counties the DP said the national government would continue supporting the devolved units in their push for more development.
“In the last six years of our leadership, we have put massive resources in the modernisation of roads and intensified power connectivity to households and businesses. Our goal is to make Kenya business friendly and attract foreign investments,” he said.
While promising to support Ruto’s presidential bid in 2022, Waiguru observed that “even though we were advised to stop politicking, those attacking us will going forward get stronger political attacks.”
Kirinyaga County Assembly majority leader Kamau Murango said they were committed to supporting the Deputy President, adding that it is not a debt the people of Mt Kenya would be paying but fulfilling a promise made.
The Ipsos-funded poll, however, showed a rigid dichotomy between values held by respondents and their choice of leaders despite 87 per cent expressing reservations with the ability of corrupt individuals to provide good leadership.
Ipsos Synovate lead researcher Tom Wolf yesterday defended the poll and expressed confidence that the survey findings conducted between July and August 2018, reflected the true perception of Kenyans regarding the two high ranking politicians.
He clarified the survey report was not based on his own perception, but rather how Kenyans felt about different issues affecting the country, including corruption.
“The questions were asked in Swahili, English and Somali. On corruption, Kenyans were asked to name the person they believed was the most corrupt based on media reports they had heard,” Wolf explained.