Kenya: Kieleweke Demand Answers From State House on Ruto's Church Fundraisers

Deputy President William Ruto (right) and ODM leader Raila Odinga during a past event (file photo).
9 September 2019

A section of Mt Kenya Members of Parliament have called on State House to clarify whether President Uhuru Kenyatta gives his deputy William Ruto money to dish out in churches fundraisers.

While questioning the huge and frequent financial donations done by Dr Ruto, the MPs said the church fundraisers have turned to be campaign forums for the DP's political grouping known as Tangatanga to ridicule President Kenyatta.

PRESIDENTIAL BID

Led by nominated MP Maina Kamanda, Ngunjiri Wambugu (Nyeri Town), Maoka Maore (Igembe North) and Muturi Kigano (Kangema) the MPs, who are allied to an anti-Ruto called Kieleweke, urged the President to pronounce himself on the financial donations where his name has been invoked by his deputy.

"Uhuru should tell us if he has been giving Dr Ruto the Sh1 million he is giving at every village he visits. Dr Ruto has turned central Kenya churches to political platforms," said Mr Kamanda, in an interview with the Nation.

Kamanda is leading a campaign to scuttle Dr Ruto's 2022 Presidential bid.

According to the veteran MP, Dr Ruto's frequent tours in the Mt Kenya region will not earn him votes for critscising and opposing President Kenyatta's initiatives such as the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

He gave instance of Dr Ruto's recent tour in Nyeri and Kirinyaga counties, where he donated Sh7.5 million to four churches. Dr Ruto said Sh2 million was from the President.

In Nyeri he donated Sh3 million to ACK St Paul's Church Kariki Othaya - Sh2 million from his own pocket and Sh1 million from President Kenyatta.

RUTO'S DONATIONS

He also donated Sh1 million to the African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa (AIPCA) in Narumoru town Kieni.

In Kirinyaga county, he donated Sh3 million to Kangaita Catholic Parish in Kerugoya - his own Sh2 million and Sh1 million from the President - before proceeding to Full Gospel church in Gichugu where he gave Sh500,000.

"Central Kenya won't be cheated to follow him. We're everywhere and so we will build bridges everywhere,' said Mr Kamanda.

Hi sentiments were echoed by MPs Ngunjiri Wambugu (Nyeri town), Muturi Kigano (Kangema) and Maoka Maore (Igembe North).

Efforts to get a substantial comment from Dr Ruto's office on the issue of the financial donations and other statements made by the MPs, were futile as his press secretary David Mugonyi only said 'we have no time to answer'.

But Dr Ruto during the Nyeri tour said he was neither ashamed nor apologetic for his huge and frequent financial donations to churches.

On his part, MP Wambugu said the State House should speak due to the raging doubts on whether the president sends his deputy to the fundraisers.

UHURU'S CONTRIBUTIONS

"I personally do not believe that the president sends Ruto with money to donate to any of the functions that Dr Ruto claims that he has the president's contribution," said Wambugu.

"What I believe Dr Ruto is doing with these contributions that he claims are from the president, is to try and associate himself with the president so to hoodwink the public that the president is aware of what he is doing and supports it, which in my opinion is completely untrue," he added.

The MP observed that Dr Ruto's repeatedly mentioning the President Kenyatta's name in Mt Kenya and giving his contribution, is a strategy to endear himself to the locals.

"I actually do not believe the President has sent Ruto anywhere to represent him in any capacity of late, at all. The last time Ruto came to Nyeri town for an event- the Catholic Lentern Campaign that was led by Archbishop Anthony Muheria at the Cathedral- it was CS Margaret Kobia who had been sent by the president to represent him despite the fact that the Deputy President was also there," stated Mr Wambugu.

Mr Maore described a campaign by some Mt Kenya MPs for Dr Ruto's presidency as 'deception' as he also warned them against attacking ODM leader Raila Odinga.

"The persistent attacks on Raila are targeted insults at the president as well since he's co-principal in the handshake. The DP has declined to allow President Kenyatta to enjoy his 10 years. The onslaught on the president began in 2018," said Mr Maore.

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