How Raila diverted maize scandal attention from his family to Ruto

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The ongoing feud between opposition chief Raila Odinga nd Dp Ruto can be traced way back when the Former US ambassador to Kenya had warned of rampant corruption in the ruling elite when he said that President Mwai Kibaki, prime minister Raila Odinga and “most members of the cabinet and leaders of the political parties” were part of maize scandal that almost crippled Kenya.

“While some positive reform steps have been taken, the old guard associated with the culture of impunity continues to resist fundamental change,” he wrote.

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Secret cables sent by US Ambassador, Michael Ranneberger, to Washington and now released by WikiLeaks allege Raila wanted to create confusion when he said he was suspending Ruto and former Education Minister Sam Ongeri.

Raila Odinga attempted to suspend former Agriculture Minister William Ruto to divert attention from his family’s involvement in the Sh2 billion maize scam.

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However, the US believed Raila took the action not only because he wanted to be seen as fighting corruption, but to divert attention from his family’s involvement in the maize scandal.
The maize and education scandals came to light in January 2009. The following month, Kibaki suspended key officials in the Agriculture and Education ministries, a day before Raila announced he was sending the ministers home.

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“We have credible reports that members of Odinga’s family, presumably with his knowledge and/or involvement, were involved in the maize scandal. Thus, at the time he made his dramatic February 14 statements, Odinga was facing serious pressures on both the corruption and constitutional review issues,” wrote Ranneberger.

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