Deputy President Dr William Ruto laughed off ODM leader Raila Odinga’s claim that a vehicle the DP had gifted Kisumu Archbishop Phillip Anyolo was returned to its giver after Pope Francis established that the car was acquired from proceeds of corruption.
Speaking at the 6th Annual Devolution Conference in Kirinyaga County on Thursday, the DP insinuated “there was no way the Pope could have had a conversation with Mr Odinga”.
Last Saturday in Siaya, the ODM leader sparked a debate online, when he claimed Pope Francis had directed Dr Ruto’s Mitsubishi Pajero gift to Archbishop Anyolo be returned.
“Recently, during the installation of Archbishop of Catholic Diocese of Kisumu, someone took a vehicle to the bishop as a gift. When the Pope was informed that the Archbishop had received a car gift, he [Pope Francis] ordered that the vehicle be returned. And, true to his instruction, the car was returned because it was acquired from proceeds of corruption,” said Mr Odinga on March 2 during the burial of former senior chief Daudi Owino Olaka at Lifunga Kobiero Village in Ugenya.
During his address to governors in Kirinyaga Thursay, Dr Ruto used the opportunity to respond to Mr Odinga’s claims linking him to mega graft scandals that have deflated the Jubilee ball.
The latest Kamwarer and Arror scandals have seen Mr Odinga questioning why the DP was quick to point out that only Ksh7 billion was used in the projects despite records showing that close to Ksh21 billion was paid out to an Italian firm in questionable circumstances.
In response to Mr Odinga, the DP said he knows how he arrived at the Ksh7 billion because he is in government; and, therefore, he has a responsibility of keeping records of how Kenyans’ money is spent.
The DP further stated that the controversial dams were being built “for the purposes of irrigation”.
“The question that I am being asked is akin to a hyena asking a herdsman: ‘What is the interest in your heart, and why do you know the number of the livestock you are keeping?’ Why wouldn’t a herdsman have an interest in the number of herd he is keeping?” posed the DP.
“Unajua hii Kenya iko na maneno, and we are very interesting people. In the last election, you [Mr Odinga] said your competitor stole the Eurobond. Now, you are accusing the person you perceive to be your future competitor as the one stealing money from dams. And if you are asked: ‘Sasa mkubwa, hii evidence utapeleka Karura [DCI] ama pale EACC, unasema hapana… Najua nyinyi ni wezi kwa sababu nilipigiwa simu na Baba Mtakatifu… Ati, ‘I was called by the Pope’. Really, wewe ulipigiwa simu na Pope? Kweli? Aaah, Kenya… It only happens in Kenya,” said Dr Ruto.
The deputy president said the National Government is committed to the war on graft, “only that that battle shouldn’t be politicised”.
“We must fight the war against corruption, and we can only fight it with the right tools,” said Dr Ruto.
The deputy president officially closed the 5-day devolution seminar.