Deputy President William Ruto has slammed research firm Ipsos Synovate over a poll ranking him as one of the most corrupt leaders in the country, saying it was manipulated to tarnish his reputation.
Mr Ruto said the poll was sponsored by his opponents who want him to lose focus of his presidential bid in 2022.
“We know how these things are done. Let me ask you, between propaganda and development which one do you prefer?” Mr Ruto asked attendants of Endebess MP Robert Pukose’s thanksgiving ceremony in Trans Nzoia County on Friday.
He went on: “Fake news, corrupted headlines and manipulated opinion polls are among the tools used by my political competitors to try pull me down.”
The survey showed that about a third of its respondents viewed Mr Ruto and Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru as the most corrupt of “all the current and past but still alive political leaders”.
Mr Ruto challenged his rivals to meet him at the ballot and prove their development record instead of using research firms to mudsling him.
Mr Ruto’s allies also dismissed the opinion poll, terming it as a ploy to derail his political ambitions.
“When he (Ruto) rallied behind Raila Odinga he was not branded a thief. When he supported Uhuru Kenyatta he was also not a thief. Now that he is seeking the top job he has suddenly become a thief,” Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi said at the function.
Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny challenged the research firm to conduct a fresh opinion poll on who is the favourable candidate for presidency in 2022.
“They have now released an opinion poll on corruption, and since they are experts on matters of polls let them conduct another poll on who is the candidate likely to succeed President [Uhuru] Kenyatta in 2022,” Mr Kutuny said.
On matters of agriculture, Mr Ruto announced the reduction of semen price by 50 per cent and encouraged farmers to utilise the semen bull station in Endebess to improve their herds.
“When you go to a neighbour to ask for a bull to sire a calf he or she may come up with [an] excuse that the bull is busy, but now you have a solution where you can go to a bull station to have high quality semen for either meat or milk production,” he said when he inspected ongoing construction and equipping of the bull station.
He also announced that Sh4.7 billion had been set aside for the construction of Kitale-Endebess-Suam road; and that a further Sh900 million had been set aside for the Last Mile Electricity programme in Trans Nzoia.
“We are going to build three technology training institutions in Trans Nzoia. Many youth have no skills and that is why we are saying that they will be admitted to these technical colleges,” he said, adding that all learners joining technical colleges will be given Sh30,000 bursary each and also have access State loans through the Higher Education Loans Board.
He added that national government will distribute over 35 milk coolers worth Sh300 million in the region to improve preservation.
The Deputy President also used his visit to launch the 52-kilometre Lessos-Chepchoina Road that will link Kitale and Kwanza in Trans Nzoia County and Tartar in West Pokot County at Namanjalala, Trans Nzoia County.
“A good road network improves mobility, benefits the people by linking them to schools, hospitals, markets and knowledge. The construction of roads is a key pillar of our agenda that has a positive correlation to the country’s economic development,” he said.
He was accompanied by Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka who challenged farmers to participate in the planned sittings the Senate’s Agriculture committee will organise in the region.
“We as Senate have formed an ad hoc committee that will soon hold sittings in Trans Nzoia over the maize issue. We want to give a permanent solution to challenges facing both the maize and sugarcane sectors,” Mr Lusaka said.
Mr Kutuny said maize cartels should be rooted out.
Other leaders present were Trans Nzoia Senator Michael Mbito, Deputy Governor Stanley Tarus, Woman Representative Janet Nangabo, MPs Robert Pukose (Endebess) and Ferdinand Wanyonyi (Kwanza).