NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 23 – Quite a number of Kenyans still want the Agriculture Minister William Ruto to resign over the maize scandal barely a week after surviving a censure motion in Parliament.
According to a Steadman poll released on Monday, Mr Ruto topped the list of Cabinet Ministers – including the Prime Minister – whom respondents felt had failed in their respective dockets.
“Honourable Ruto is unhappily in the first place with 56 percent mentioning him, while 21 percent mentioned Kiraitu Murungi (Energy Minister),” said research consultant Dr Tom Wolf as he presented the findings.
Dr Wolf said that out of 1,021 respondents, 719 believed that at least one of the ministers should step aside temporarily so that allegations about their possible involvement in corruption could be investigated. The respondents expressed dissatisfaction with corruption in the oil and maize sectors, extra-judicial killings, fire safety and disaster preparedness.
Other Ministers that the respondents wanted censured include Trade Minister Amos Kimunya (7 percent) Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti (5 percent) PM Raila Odinga (3 percent) and Justice Minister Martha Karua (2 percent).
Last Wednesday, Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale’s censure motion against Mr Ruto was defeated in Parliament. Mr Khalwale wanted Mr Ruto to step aside as a probe is conducted into the loss of millions of shillings in the inappropriate purchase and allocation of maize from the National Cereals and Produce Board. Mr Kiraitu on the other hand is facing an oil related scandal worth Sh7.9 billion, while Prof Saitoti has been cornered over extra judicial killings by the police.
The poll was conducted between Wednesday and Friday last week using a new system, Computer Assisted Telephone Interview.
The respondents rated the government’s performance at almost nil, while 70 percent indicated that the government had done little to meet the expectations of Kenyans.
“More than two thirds said the government had done nothing beyond bringing the post election violence to an end.”
Eight percent however felt that some progress had been achieved in the education sector; one percent recognised efforts made in economic improvement while another one percent thought the distribution of resources had improved. Only two percent recognized that progress had been made in fighting corruption.
The poll also revealed that Kenyans were slowly losing faith in political parties. 37 percent said that they did not feel close to any political party. The Orange Democratic Movement has 38 percent support, while the Party of National Unity enjoys the support of 25 percent of those polled.