Ruto backtracks on Waki report

Sunday November 23 2008

Minister for Agriculture William Ruto

Minister for Agriculture William Ruto addressing a crowd at Kuresoi during a home coming party for the Kuresoi MP Zakayo Cheruiyot. PHOTO/ FILE  

By JOHN NGIRACHU and JOHN SHILITSA

Agriculture minister William Ruto on Sunday changed his mind and said he would support full implementation of the Waki Report.

He however said he would only support it if it will get to the bottom of post election violence and identify those responsible for the chaos.

He asked the Cabinet to speed the process so that leaders can focus on development.

Speaking in Garissa, Mr Ruto changed his stand on the controversial report, saying its implementation would help to identify those behind post-election violence early this year and clear those who are innocent.

The minister, whose Eldoret North constituency was among the hardest hit by the violence, was among the first to speak on the report, dismissing it as ‘‘shoddy, incomplete and a collection of rumours’’.

He was among MPs from the Rift Valley who had vowed not to allow its implementation, saying it would be used to victimise members of the Kalenjin community.

“It is the Cabinet’s role to see that it is done fairly so that we can know who organised and paid for others to be killed,” said the minister.

The report is expected to be part of the agenda as the Cabinet meets this week. Mr Ruto also vowed to resign from the Cabinet and Parliament if he is implicated in a just process.

In declaring support for the controversial report, Mr Ruto joins ODM head Raila Odinga and other Cabinet colleagues who have done the same.

The report has led to a split within the Cabinet and has seen ODM change its stand on it twice.

A Parliamentary group meeting rejected it ‘‘in toto’’ but the party appeared to backtrack on it a few days later and appointed a 10-man committee to look at it further.

At the same time, an MP says ODM is still in the woods despite gestures by big wigs to show all is well.

Mumias MP Ben Washiali said the Waki report could be the last nail in the ODM coffin.

Entered the trap

“The truth is that we entered the trap during the Serena talks when our four representatives appended their signatures on the proposals that had been reached there. We had only one lawyer on our side while PNU sent three law experts,” he said.

The legislator said if the names of party bigwigs are in the Waki report, the ODM would be dead.

Speaking at a public meeting in East Wanga division, Mumias District, Mr Washiali said the matter was grave because those mentioned would be required to resign as recommended by the Waki report.

Additional reporting by KNA