Why I have ‘a major interest’ in dams project – DP Ruto answers Raila
“Don’t come and tell us that it was not Ksh.20 billion, it is only Ksh.7 billion… Who are you tell us… How did you know?”
Those were the words Opposition leader Raila Odinga used on Wednesday, March 6 as he told off Deputy President William Ruto for claiming that only Ksh.7 billion might have been lost in the Arror & Kimwarer dams project in Elgeyo Marakwet and not Ksh.21 billion as stated by the Director of Criminal investigations.
And on Thursday as the DP went to officially close the Devolution Conference, he had a response for Mr. Odinga’s questions.
“Yesterday the former PM asked legitimate questions about the dams and what my interest is in the dams and why I know all the figures in these dams. It a legitimate and important question,” said Ruto.
He went ahead to claim that he has “a major interest” in the dams since he is the deputy president and the dams are a key government project, hence, it is his duty to keenly follow the implementation of the government’s agenda and be privy of the details including the amounts spent.
“As deputy president I have an interest in the construction of the dams; a major interest. This is because with President Uhuru Kenyatta we put 57 dams to be constructed over the next 5 years in the manifesto of the Jubilee Party.
“It is not an accident that we are discussing the dams issue. Apart from roads and electricity, the third largest enabler of our development proposal in the Big 4 agenda is water,” said the deputy president.
He went ahead to compare Mr. Odinga’s question to “a hyena asking a herdsman why he is interested in his own herd.”
“As DP I would be reckless and have failed in my job if i don’t pay attention to numbers. The question I am being asked is like a hyena asking a herdsman ‘what is the interest in your herd and how do you know the number of the livestock your keeping.’ Honestly why would a herdsman not be intersted in the herd and number he is keeping,” said Ruto sparking laughter at the conference.
Meanwhile the DP has downplayed the political jitters stemming from his latest war words with Mr. Odinga, saying “I have absolutely no problem with the former prime minister.”
On Wednesday, as Odinga addressed the Devolution Conference in Kirinyaga he accused Ruto and his allies of interfering and politicizing the war against corruption in the country.
The opposition leader stated that investigative agencies should be given time to probe cases and present evidence in court without interference from the political class.
“Kenyans must now say enough is enough and that no body is above the law… Let us wait for investigations to be complete,” he said.
He said no one including himself or the President should be spared in the ongoing graft purge.
“Let us agree that this thing will happen to everybody. If it is Raila Odinga, I should carry my own cross without involving other people,’ said Odinga.
Investigations into the controversial payment of Ksh.21 billion to an Italian firm — CMC di Ravena — for the construction of the multi-purpose Kimwarer and Arror dams in Elgeyo Marakwet County has become a thorny issue causing jitters among political leaders.
A section of leaders allied to the Deputy President claim that the amount in question has been exaggerated and they are accusing the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti of being used to settle political scores.
Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich is the latest to be summoned and grilled over the dams scandal.