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Shared baby of the Jubilee coalition

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[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he troubles National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich finds himself in are providing a fresh headache for Deputy President William Ruto as he fights to protect his ambition to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Even though Rotich is believed to have got the top job through the association created with President Uhuru Kenyatta during his tenure as Finance minister, the fact that he hails from Ruto’s Rift Valley backyard means he must protect him as his ouster or prosecution over the multi-billion dams scandal could cost him politically.

Rotich was scheduled to appear before detectives on Wednesday a day after being grilled for 12 hours at Mazingira House. The investigators had first questioned the CS at his Nairobi home.

It is not the first time Ruto is protecting Rotich. Last year, he came to his defence after a National Assembly committee voted on a report recommending his impeachment alongside his East African Community (EAC) Affairs counterpart Aden Mohammed over the scandal involving importation of contaminated sugar. The DP accused the ad-hoc committee that investigated the illegal imports of doing a shoddy job. The report was rejected by the House.

Dr Ruto and his allies have always claimed the war on corruption targets senior officials from the Kalenjin community. Their fear is that President Uhuru’s ‘Handshake’ deal with Opposition leader Raila Odinga is what has informed the renewed fight against corruption and the targeting of ministers and other senior officials from Kalenjinland.

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Last week, Ruto hit out at Raila following his comments on the scandal surrounding the award of a tender to Italian company CMC di Ravenna to construct the Arror and Kimwerer multipurpose dams in Elgeyo Marakwet.

He asked Raila not to bring his “mambo ya mandazi” into government. Separately, he hit out at Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti, accusing him of misleading the public that Ksh 23 billion had been lost, clarifying the money involved was only Ksh 7 billion.

The war should not be ethnicised since those who plunder public funds do so as individuals.

Mr Rotich contradicted the DP when he placed an advertisement in the newspapers, stating that the figure stands at Ksh20 billion.

At the weekend, Dr Ruto’s ally Oscar Sudi claimed the anti-graft crusade was part of a deal between Uhuru and Raila, which would see him remain in government after 2022. He further claimed Uhuru is seeking to acquire the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) through Kenya Airways.

Speaking at this year’s devolution conference at Kirinyaga University, the President on Tuesday lambasted the MP, saying if he had any evidence of his involvement in graft, he should take it to Mazingira House instead of making the claims at funerals since the dead are of no help to him.

The President has previously said the war should not be ethnicised since those who plunder public funds do so as individuals and should carry their own crosses, a view shared with Raila.

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Speaking at the devolution conference on Wednesday, he also asked Ruto to allow the dams probe run its course, instead of criticising the DCI and disputing the amount of money in question.

It remains to be seen whether Kinoti will be able to slay the dragon that is corruption or whether he would succumb to the Ruto-led onslaught against him.  But from the look of things, his goose appears to have been cooked.

Besides, Marakwet dams, which the Italian firm is yet to begin constricting despite being paid a down payment.

Apart from Rotich, Water Cabinet Secretary Simeon Chelugui is also set to be grilled over another tender awarded to construction of Ksh 63 billion Itare dam in Nakuru, which it has also abandoned.

Read: KCB full year profit up 22% to Ksh 24 billion 

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BT Reporter
BT Reporterhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
editor [at] businesstoday.co.ke
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