By P W
Tension is rising within the civil service following reports that an NGO founded and managed by Mrs Rachel Ruto is compelling boards of parastals, CEOs and heads of government departments to contribute funds towards its forthcoming anniversary celebrations.
The Eldoret based Joyful Women Organisation (JOYWO) which has reportedly mobilised nearly 200,000 mostly-rural women to participate in economic activities under the table banking concept is commemorating its sixth anniversary next month and there is active behind the scene resource mobilization going on towards financing the fete.
The matter is so serious that it has caught the attention of foreign donors who have not only raised integrity questions but have also questioned the legitimacy of the activities of the NGO that is managed by the wife of Deputy President William Ruto.
Already, the Economic Crimes Unit of the US Attorney General’s office is reportedly investigating the beneficiaries of hundreds of thousands of dollars remitted to various Kenyan NGOs among them JOYWO with a view to establishing the truth behind the formation of these NGOs vis providing direct assistance through organisations such as USAid. The uptake is that the funds could be fraudulently obtained for ponzi scheme projects or for funding terrorist activities.
Aware of local and international perceptions, the Office of the Deputy President, whose occupier is husband to JOYWO patron – William Ruto, has quietly deployed government machinery for purposes of raising funds for the organization’s sixth anniversary fete.
The demand for money to various government departments heads is being conducted by close aides of the DP and is said to be so aggressive that some departmental heads, parastatal CEOs and leading businessmen have been threatened with dire consequences should they refuse to support ‘noble cause being driven by the Second Lady’.
Coming soon after the Sh5 billion ministry of health scandal that is related to the Beyond Zero Campaign spearheaded by the First Lady Mrs Margaret Kenyatta that raises funds from donors with the goal of improving maternal and child health outcomes, the latest fund raising effort by JOYWO is being viewed suspiciously in government and donor circles.
This writer independently confirmed that a former MP and cabinet minister Raphael Tuju has donated Ksh500,000 towards the impending JOYWO anniversary celebrations. At the same time, it is expected ‘friendly’ governors will provide resources that will transport the hundreds of thousands of women to Nairobi where the bash will take place because the DP who remains very much aware of pre-election perceptions and is therefore very keen to make a political statement with the mobilization of JOYWO members in Nairobi.
Some senior civil servants who did not want to named for fear of victimization revealed to this writer that bosses in government were being forced to contribute to the kitty and they were wondering why tax payers should be the ones to foot bills for a private NGO. The manner in which the funds are being demanded forces civil servants to engage in corruption so as to meet the demands of their seniors.