Deputy President William Ruto has hit out at opposition leader Raila Odinga and his brigade for claiming the handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta will help tackle corruption.
Speaking during a fundraiser at Mwambeta Pefa Church in Voi Constituency, Taita Taveta, on Monday, Mr Ruto said his opponents should leave the fight to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the Judiciary and other independent institutions.
The deputy president (DP) noted that the Constitution is clear on who is mandated to fight corruption, agencies which he pointed out have competent officers.
“The independent institutions are mandated to deal with corrupt government officials – those who are wasting government resources – and take action,” he said.
Mr Ruto added that the anti-graft war should not be politicised.
“Don’t pretend you are the ones spearheading the fight against corruption. The constitution is very clear. Our duty as politicians is to plan for development,” he said, adding his critics have no agenda for the country.
He said that if every institution, including the Judiciary, does its work, the country will move forward.
The DP further criticised Mr Odinga, saying that if he were sincere about the Building Bridges Initiative, he would not undermine efforts to unite all Kenyans and ensure they benefit from the handshake.
“If their goal is to unite Kenyans, why are they bitter when I unite with coastal leaders for development for the Coast and Kenya at large?” he posed.
He said he will continue discharging his duties despite criticism, which he noted will not improve the lives of poor Kenyans yearning for development.
“I will not stop working on serious issues affecting Kenyans. Let them dwell on propaganda that will not take them anywhere,” he said.
“I will work with leaders who were elected by Kenyans. Kenyans made a choice last year and we all agreed to work together for development.”
Mr Ruto, who on Monday ended his five-day visit of the Coast, urged leaders to focus on issues that will transform Kenya rather than “waste their time” talking about him.
He said he and the president are focused on the Big Four Agenda on universal healthcare, manufacturing, food security and affordable housing.
“Our politics is development-focused. Our main agenda is to empower all Kenyans economically. We are not like those other greedy politicians who waste their time talking about others,” he said in Voi town during the launch of the town’s Modern Market.
He said as they endeavoured to boost the living standards of Kenyans, their competitors “with their simple minds were discussing people”.
Earlier, the deputy president commissioned a computed tomography scans (CT scans) imaging centre at Moi County Referral Hospital in Voi.
He launched equipment worth Sh120 million.
“There will be no need for patients to travel to Nairobi or Mombasa to seek medical care. All services will be provided at the referral hospital,” he said.
Mr Ruto said the national government will partner with the county for the erection of an Intensive Care Unit.
“We will also assist in the expansion of the Kenya Medical Training College in Voi. We have already set aside Sh10 million for this work.”
The DP further said the national government has allocated Sh60 million to extend the Mzima One water project to Mbulia area Voi. The funds will are part of the Sh380 million set aside by the government to end perennial water shortages in the area.
“We will work with the governor and your MPs to ensure that water problems in this area are tackled,” he said.
Mr Ruto was with Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja and Members of Parliament (MP) Suleiman Dori (Msambweni), Ali wario (Bura), Hashaka Wario (Garsen), Owen Baya (Kilifi North), Said Haribae (Galole), Badi Twalib (Jomvu), Stanley Muthama (Lamu West) and Danson Mwashako (Wundanyi).
Others present were Senators Juma Wario (Tana River), Anuar Toitiptip (Lamu) and Christine Zawadi (Nominated) and MPs Benjamin Tayari (Kinango), Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), Shariff Ali (Lamu East) Aisha Jumwa (Malindi), Lydia Haika (Taita Taveta), Michel Kingi (Magarini), Naomi Shaaban (Taveta) and Gertrude Mbeyu (Kilifi).
The leaders said they will continue supporting Coast Parliamentary Group chairman, Mr Dori, despite threats by Mr Odinga’s party, the Orange Democratic Movement.
Mr Mwashako said leaders from the region are united and will take whichever direction their leader gives.
“This time around, we are not playing blind politics. We will not just follow others. We will go where our people benefit,” he said.
Ms Shaban said the region will “never” be in the opposition.
“We know too well the price of being outside the government. That will not happen again. We are in the government and are not ashamed of being associated with development,” she said.
Mr Dori said the region is interested in politics that will better the lives of people.
“We are after uniting. We must put aside our political differences and work towards development,” he said and reiterated that the Coastal region’s support for Mr Ruto in 2022 is guaranteed.