Betrayal? Ruto ‘was assured Ruai land won’t be touched’
Eric Wainaina and Mercy Mwai
Deputy President William Ruto had been assured that the government would not reclaim his 1,600-acre Ruai land hours before structures in the parcel were demolished last week, the People Daily has established.
Reliable sources privy to events preceding demolition of buildings and perimeter wall at the land meant for expansion of the city’s sewerage system said the DP was shocked by the repossession despite a promise by a high-ranking State official that his land would be spared.
Ruto had apparently made calls to senior government officials when he got wind that the land had been targeted for repossession.
“He was assured that the land would not be touched and told to rest easy ... until the tractors started moving in,” said the source who cannot be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, adding that the DP was “very dejected” by the turn of events.
The seizure of the land linked to Ruto and registered under Renton Company, marks a new low in the relationship between Ruto and his boss President Uhuru Kenyatta, with some DP’s allies saying the relationship was now “irreparable”.
There’s also the speculation among the DP’s supporters that repossession could not have taken place without the President’s sanction.
Yesterday, Belgut MP Nelson Koech, a Ruto ally, told the People Daily that the DP’s supporters were aware the relationship between the two Jubilee leaders has been deteriorating, forcing them to go back to the drawing board.
“As a matter of fact, it is clear the bromance between the President and Deputy President is not as it used to be in the past. Something must have happened.
We are planning every step and as they scheme, we are also scheming and as they plan we are also planning, but we don’t want to let out cards yet,” he said.
According Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, the tiff between the two leaders was indicative of a leadership crisis.
“There are interesting times ahead. There is a lacuna which calls for a revolutionary leadership change to address issues facing the country,” said the governor.
Kikuyu Elders of Council national deputy chairman Dr Michael Mugo said the DP’s relationship with his boss had changed dramatically, saying it was not yet clear what had prompted the turn of events.
“The recent activities, from Ruai land and Jubilee take-over, all of which head to the same direction speaks volumes.
I won’t be surprised if something fresh emerges pointing to the same direction,” said Mugo, alluding to the controversial change of officials in the Jubilee Party.
Lately, Ruto has cut the image of a lone figure who despite putting a brave face saying that all was well between him and his boss and in the ruling Jubilee, his latest vicious fight for control of the party amidst strong opposition by Uhuru’s key men projects a man who has either been or has elbowed himself out of the inner circle.
Koech, who has in the past openly accused the President and his allies of plotting to renege on the promise to support Ruto in 2022 presidential bid, claimed there are people who are “uncomfortable with the relationship between the two”.
“We are live to the fact that there are individuals out to frustrate the DP’s presidential bid.
We are aware of what is going on and we want to assure our people that we are also planning something. Our focus is to make sure the DP becomes president,” the MP said.
Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa, however, said Uhuru and Ruto “are together” and blamed some Jubilee leaders and supporters of the President for behaving badly.
“President Uhuru has never told us that the DP is bad and as far as we are concerned, the relationship between the two is good.
Uhuru acquired new friends like Raila who are behaving badly and we hope they are going to see the light,” he said.
But Uasin Gishu Woman Representative Gladys Shollei said the DP was aware that he was being fought by Uhuru’s men, including through frequent provocation.
“It is obviously clear that the DP has been shortchanged,” she said, adding: “Ruto is aware and so are we all, only that he is a gentleman.”
Since the March 2018 handshake between Uhuru and Opposition leader Raila Odinga, the President and his deputy have appeared to have been reading from different scripts.
On the other hand, Uhuru and Raila have been collaborating on national initiatives including the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and the graft war.
The DP’s office is the subject of investigations over the Sh39 billion fake arms deal hatched by former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa, which is linked to the murder of Sergeant Kipyegon Kenei.
Moreover, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations has re-opened investigations into Ruto’ Kenya Pipeline Company land case as well as circumstances under which he acquired 1,000 acres of land belonging to the family of former Vice-President Joseph Murumbi in Narok County.