Home General OMOLE & APOLLO: Raila-Ruto feud clouding noble ‘handshake’ mission

OMOLE & APOLLO: Raila-Ruto feud clouding noble ‘handshake’ mission

by kenya-tribune

One year after the famous handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, which cooled political temperatures and put back the country on the path of economic recovery and stability, one thing seems to threaten it. Instead of setting the stage for a real truce, the handshake has turned out to be a catalyst for constant political feuds between Mr Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto.

The two have accused each other of every thinkable crime, calling each other names at every public event. The two hardly find time for each other and do not agree on any point of national importance. Mr Odinga insists that Dr Ruto is the high priest of graft while Dr Ruto has christened the former Prime Minister ‘the lord of poverty’.

In their speeches during the recently concluded Sixth Devolution Conference, Mr Odinga accused Dr Ruto of interfering with the investigation agencies while Dr Ruto retorted that this was a case of a hyena asking the shepherd what interest he should have with the figures and numbers of his sheep.

Mr Odinga wants a referendum with a regional tier to devolution while Dr Ruto is against it. But one positive thing is that the handshake has resulted in renewed vigour to fight graft in Kenya. This is shaping up to be the greatest legacy of the Kenyatta presidency.

However, the sideshows between Mr Odinga and Dr Ruto may end up sucking in all the air from it. As the President has constantly reminded the people, the war on graft should not be taken as a joke. It shouldn’t be perceived as tribal persecution where “our man” is seen as being persecuted whenever a name crops up.

As Cotu Secretray-General Francis Atwoli puts it, if the anti-corruption net does not trap people from other communities, then it is simply because they were not appointed into those plum dockets and so did not have a chance to loot.

Omole Joseph, via e-mail.

The much-touted handshake was met with both scepticism and approval by Kenyans. However, one thing it has achieved so far, which could be of great help if narrow ethnic and sectarian interests do not throw a spanner in the works, is changing the mindset of Kenyans. The war on graft, which has in the past been hampered by feuds between the government and the opposition, is now viewed by majority of Kenyans as a national responsibility.

The war on graft has the public goodwill and the President must press on irrespective of the discomfort it causes to the political elite. Kenya must earn its place in the league of economic giants, but before achieving that, it has to deal firmly with the graft monster.

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