DP Ruto: How Raila, ODM Exposed Themselves in Covid-19 Scandal

An undated photo of  ODM leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto
An undated photo of ODM leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto on Tuesday, August 25 turned up the heat on the Raila Odinga-led Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) over their stance on the headline-grabbing Covid-19 graft scandal at the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA).

A day after Raila issued a statement clarifying the party's position on the matter, Ruto accused ODM of changing tune after the backlash that followed an initial party statement issued by ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna.

In his statement, Sifuna had spoken against sensational reporting, widely perceived as a reference to an NTV exposé by journalist Dennis Okari that opened the lid on the mismanagement of funds and donations.

Referring to ODM as the 'former opposition', Ruto demanded that ODM explain why they seemed to have shifted their position on media coverage of corruption scandals after coming under fire. 

Ruto holds his walking stick at an event in his Karen home, Nairobi on August 11, 2020

ODM had maintained that it wanted a special audit at KEMSA to find evidence of the alleged corruption, stating that noise around the scandal would derail investigations and subsequent prosecution of suspects.

"Kenyans want to know the following: a) When did they change their position on the role of the media?

"They have always told us the media is independent and has a role in informing the public and over-sighting the Government," Ruto tweeted, in now characteristic fashion.

Referencing past criticism from ODM of himself and his Tanga tanga faction for stating that graft cases should not be prosecuted in the media, the Deputy President also sought to know why their stance had apparently changed.

"They chastised us when we said criminal investigations should not be carried out in the media. What has changed?" he posed.

In ODM's initial statement, Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna had questioned remarks from the Deputy President condemning the scandal, stating that he appeared jealous to have been left out of the gravy train.

"We will keep raising any concerns we have about government operations, specifically Covid-19-related issues, through the proper channels, without unnecessary drama and hubris.

"For that reason, we ask that media houses and other news agencies exercise responsibility in their coverage, because sensational and baseless reports may compromise international support for our Covid-19 war, endangering ordinary Kenyans and not just the leaders,” the statement issued on Saturday, August 22 read in part.

In his statement, Raila maintained that ODM would not defend anyone implicated in corruption, calling for a thorough audit to find evidence to facilitate prosecution.

"As matters stand now, none of the people taking to the podium or social media to condemn theft of funds has any evidence.

"The so-called condemnations of theft could well be part of a cover-up, the statement read in part.

Watch a video of Ruto addressing the matter below:

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