Deputy President William Ruto Saturday clashed with Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and his Amani National Congress counterpart Musalia Mudavadi over the fight against corruption.
While the DP felt that exposing graft in the government was meant to scuttle his 2022 presidential bid, the two leaders strongly supported current investigations into the loss of funds in various government projects.
Speaking during the launch of the Lenten campaign at Our Lady of Consolata in Nyeri town, Dr Ruto insisted that the fight against corruption has been politicised through exaggerated figures on projects with an aim of profiling specific leaders for political gain in the next elections and interfering with the implementation of the Big Four Agenda.
“But as a government, we will not allow people to taint projects for political reasons. The fight against graft must be on the basis of accurate information and solid evidence,” he insisted.
Dr Ruto said that the war against graft had become a tool for politicising government projects to scare away development partners.
This, he said, will result in stalled projects and consequently paint a picture of a dishonest government that had failed to fulfil its promise.
“There are people plotting on how they will give false information for newspaper headlines and use it for political campaigns down the road. Instead of taking matters to courts, they are taking those discussions to the newsroom,” he claimed.
The DP said that the dam projects across the country will continue as the government had put in place measures to ensure that public money is not lost. His talk followed claims that government paid for work not done in Arror and Kimwarer dam projects in Elgeyo-Marakwet County.
But Mr Musyoka insisted that corruption suspects must be shamed as Kenyans were tired of the government treating lost funds as “pocket change.”
“If we win this war against corruption, this country will not be the same again. If someone is a thief, we have no other name for it,” he said.
The former vice-president warned leaders against waging war against Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti and the media, which he said was doing a good job in informing the public.
“Without the media, Kenyans would not know what they know now. When the newspapers point out who is stealing public money, we should not stop there,” he said.
Mr Mudavadi also insisted that those mentioned in corrupt dealings must be arrested and prosecuted to end impunity.
“The Archbishop talked about moving beyond handshakes to heart shakes but he forgot that in the middle, we have handcuffs. We must work together to fight corruption,” said Mr Mudavadi.
The Catholic Church Saturday launched the Lenten period that will focus on fighting corruption, impunity and promoting environmental conservation.
During the 40-day period of prayer and fasting, the faithful will pray for the country's unity and cohesion.
Nyeri Catholic Archbishop Anthony Muheria also put Kenyans on the spot for contributing to the corruption problem through taking and giving of bribes and failing to take a proactive approach as a citizen and only focusing on the government.
Archbishop Muheria noted that the corruption dragon can only be slayed if Kenyans speak out against evil and impunity among influential people while committing to obey the constitution.
“Today, we celebrate evildoers and condemn those who do good. Citizens have glorified evil and the danger we have is that we no longer know what is good,” he said.
He added: “Our leaders have been enslaved by greed of wealth and money. If everyone of us were to stop taking bribes, we would stop feeding the monster.”
The Archbishop also took issue with increased gambling among citizens, noting that it was propagating a ‘get-rich-quickly’ mentality.
“Nearly all billboards in our towns are advertising betting firms. How I wish that proceeds from gambling would be taxed double or 10 times because it appears attractive and is breaking families,” he said.
The first week will be dedicated towards environmental conservation while, in the second week, the church will pray for the family, unity and values.