Deputy President William Ruto and Cord leader Raila Odinga were in the Rift Valley rallying for support in the vote-rich region.
Corruption and Mr Ruto’s case at the Hague dominated speeches, an indication that the two subjects will shape political debate as the clock ticks towards the 2017 elections.
Cord is seeking to shore up its support by taking on the government’s questionable record in the fight against corruption while defending itself from claims that its leaders fixed Mr Ruto, who has been charged with crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.
While Mr Ruto was in Kapsabet, Nandi County trying to keep intact his political hold on the region by promising to act on corruption, Mr Odinga was in Kericho, where he fought off allegation that he “fixed” the Deputy President.
Speaking at Kapsabet Boys’ High School, Mr Ruto said the government would not shield any of its officials implicated in corruption.
Even though he did not mention Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru by name, Mr Ruto turned the heat on the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions when he asked them to deal with those implicated in corruption “without fear or favour”.
Also appearing to heed the public outcry at the recent revelations involving corruption in government, Mr Ruto said that the EACC and DPP Keriako Tobiko should not let Kenyans down by failing to act on cases of State officers who have been implicated in corruption.
“Institutions charged with the fight against corruption must not let the people down by not taking action against perpetrators of graft and wastage,” he said. “Constitutional offices have been given the right to prosecute corruption and they should not let the people of Kenya down.
The EACC has finally summoned the Devolution CS for questioning on Tuesday regarding the questionable purchases and inflated prices in her ministry.
The commission will also want Ms Waiguru to shed light on the loss of Sh791 million at the National Youth Service early in the year and the aborted second attempt where individuals in the ministry colluded with suppliers in an attempt to siphon Sh800 million from the Gilgil-based institution’s account.
In Kericho, Mr Odinga, who is on a tour of the South Rift, countered accusations that he “fixed” Mr Ruto at the ICC.
He told a political rally that there was no way he could do such a thing yet Mr Ruto was on his side at the height of the 2007-2008 post-election violence.
He said when the 2007 presidential election results were disputed, throwing the country into a crisis, Mr Ruto was part of the ODM negotiations team.
Mr Odinga said he could never have sent Mr Ruto to the Hague because the then Eldoret North MP was a staunch member of his campaign team in 2007.
“Our core team was well known and Mr Ruto was among them. How could I have turned around and taken him to the ICC? That is a total lie and there was no way I could have done its,” said the former Prime Minister.
Mr Odinga was received by Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto before they presided over a fundraiser to complete the construction of the Kitoben African Gospel Church in Chepseon.
The Cord leader is expected to hold a series of meetings in Rift Valley largely believed to be an effort to regain the support he enjoyed there in 2007.
He and his team believe that the decision by voters in the Rift Valley to choose President Uhuru Kenyatta over him in the last elections cost him the State House.
He also sought to defend himself over the Mau evictions of 2009, another issue which is largely seen to have contributed towards the hostility against him by voters in the region, who abandoned him ahead of the 2013 elections.
Mr Odinga said the decision to remove the Mau Forest settlers was made by the Cabinet of the Grand Coalition Government, in which he was Prime Minister.
“Some people are going round saying I evicted people from the Mau forest yet it was not my decision to make. It was a resolution by the Cabinet. I have met with leaders of the Mau forest evictees and it is unfortunate that they are yet to be resettled,” he said.
Addressing the gathering, Siaya Senator James Orengo urged residents of Rift Valley to ignore the propaganda being peddled against Mr Odinga and support him in the 2017 elections.
In Nandi, Mr Ruto said citizens have a right to demand accountability from their leaders and must also play their part by blowing the whistle on corruption.
“We need the collective efforts of citizens and institutions. We all must be part of the solution and should not be part of the problem,” he said during a fundraiser for the Kapsabet Diocese of the Anglican Church.
“As a government we will ensure that citizens get services and that Kenya is transformed in the right direction.”
He also challenged the police and anti-corruption agencies to discharge their mandate and crack down on officials involved in graft.
He also promised goodies for the people of Nandi County and the North Rift region generally, saying that the government will make available Sh400 million for the purchase of 40 milk coolers and ensure each ward in Nandi County gets one cooler each.
“We will also have a replica of the Kabete Bull Station in Kitale and a liquid nitrogen plant in Eldoret to reduce the cost of semen and help the beef and milk industry grow,” he said.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION