Politics

ODM rebukes Ruto over Covid-19 scam

ODM rebukes Ruto over Covid-19 scam

Summary

  • Through Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna, Mr Odinga’s party said the DP suggested it is okay for the funds to be stolen as long as he is not the one to blame.
  • The ODM official further noted the need for the Auditor-General to audit media reports on corruption at the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa) over the procurement and handling of Covid-19 protective gear.
  • Regarding the prices of the protective gear, he said it makes sense that prices were lower before the pandemic ravaged the world.

Politician Raila Odinga’s party has told off Deputy President William Ruto following his remarks on allegations of corruption in the procurement of Covid-19 supplies.

Dr Ruto Thursday distanced himself from the “theft of Covid-19 billions” and said that “at least for once it won't be possible to be blamed for what someone said started in Wuhan as a virus, landed in Italy as a pandemic and is now in Kenya as a multi-billion shilling corruption enterprise”.

"Wacha niendelee kama spectator. (Let me continue being a spectator). It's right," the DP also wrote on his Twitter page.

On Saturday, the Orange Democratic Movement said it was "disheartening to hear no less a senior government official than the Deputy President go public with a “juvenile and improper statement” about not being blamed for the mess.

Through Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna, Mr Odinga’s party said the DP suggested it is okay for the funds to be stolen as long as he is not the one to blame.

"Even more unsettling [is that his remarks] express the jealousy of being left out of the gravy train," Mr Sifuna said.

Unaudited reports

The ODM official further noted the need for the Auditor-General to review media reports on corruption at the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa).

On August 14, the Kemsa board suspended chief executive Jonah Manjari and directors Eliud Muriithi (commercial) and Charles Jume (procurement) amid investigations by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) into alleged procurement irregularities and funds misuse.

Mr Sifuna explained that the media often "goes on a sensationalist extravaganza, with half-baked information obtained from shadowy sources, ending up creating more problems than solutions”.

"Suffice it to say that all Kenyans of goodwill have found these allegations disturbing and thoroughly demoralising, at a time when we are losing more lives to the virus," said Mr Sifuna.

"We gather that the DCI has been called into Kemsa to investigate these matters. We, however, wonder how this can be so before a credible audit by the Auditor-General is carried out to ascertain the veracity of these claims.”

Regarding the prices of the protective gear, he said it makes sense that prices were lower before the pandemic ravaged the world.

“Any procurement happening in the current time has to come with higher values,” he said, adding higher costs cannot be the basis  for doubting the probity of those who undertook procurement.

“Dwindling profile”

Mr Sifuna further accused Dr Ruto of having an uncooperative attitude and lacking political emotional intelligence, aspects which he said hinder the government’s smooth operations.

"At a time when he should help the President crack the whip on corruption cartels within government, he holds campaigns at his residence while cheering wrongdoing within government in the mistaken belief that any perceived failures by the President will raise his dwindling profile."

The DP, the ODM official said, must either rise to the occasion and play the role of DP or ship out and let the President work in peace.

"We will keep raising any concerns we have about government operations, specifically Covid-19-related issues, through the proper channels, without unnecessary drama and hubris,” he said, adding Mr Odinga’s party will not merely condemn the government but will keep probing and defending the Kenyans; rights to efficient government services through correct processes.

"For that reason, we ask that media houses and other news agencies exercise responsibility in their coverage, because sensational and baseless reports may compromise international support for our Covid-19 war, endangering ordinary Kenyans and not just the leaders,” he said.

"Any information of wrongdoing must be passed to the rightful agencies for clear action.”