Find something else to do, DP tells House team
The push and pull over the replacement of Deputy President William Ruto’s security detail escalated yesterday after Ruto dismissed today’s meeting between Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i and MPs over the matter as a “waste of time.”
Ruto spoke even as Matiang’i and the National Assembly Committee on Security confirmed that the meeting will proceed as planned.
Ruto while dismissing the MPs’ summons to Matiang’i, Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho and Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai, maintained that last week’s replacement of General Service Unit (GSU) officers from his residences across the country and their replacement with their counterparts from the Administration Police (AP) was a “non issue”.
“The Administration Police is a professional security service, those who think it is a downgrade are wrong.
Parliament should instead focus on deployment to serious security situations in areas where bandits are causing mayhem and destruction,” Ruto said in a tweet.
The DP’s change of heart came as a surprise considering that he had condemned the move last week and demanded the immediate reinstatement of the GSU officers, claiming that his life is in danger.
In a letter to Mutyambai, Ruto read a sinister motive in the change of the security detail.
“On numerous occasions, persons well known to you have publicly stated that Ruto will not be there in 2022.
You have refused to act upon reports made to you on the implications of such remarks for the security, safety and wellbeing of the DP,” the letter signed by Ken Osinde, who is DP Ruto’s Chief of Staff said.
Acting on petition
But in what signalled his change of heart, the DP’s press unit circulated photos of him enjoying a cup of tea with the new AP detail posted to his Karen residence on Monday.
Reacting to the DP’s statement yesterday, committee chairman Peter Mwathi (Limuru) said the MPs were acting on a petition by some MPs allied to Ruto.
Asked if the meeting with the security chiefs will go ahead as planned following the DP’s statement, Mwathi insisted that the meeting will proceed and that Matiang’i had already confirmed attendance.
“His people wrote to complain; didn’t he know that when he asked them to?” Mwathi posed.
MPs from Kisii and Nyamira counties also waded into the debate accusing the DP and his allies of engaging in a smear campaign targeting Matiang’i.
“As the DP has frequently said, he is part of the government. All government decisions taken by CS Matiang’i are decisions made collectively. He (Ruto) is, therefore, bound by these decisions and actions.
Consequently, the DP and his brigade must spare the country of their constant whining and complaining about CS Matiang’i because he is simply performing his duty as per his job description,” read a statement signed by MPs Jimmy Angwenyi, Richard Onyonka, Ben Momanyi, Ezekiel Machogu, Samuel Arama and Jerusha Momanyi.
This morning, Matiang’i and the IG are expected to appraise members on what led to the changes in Ruto’s security detail.
“We want them to shed light on whether the action they took is within the law and if not, we will have no option but to ensure the law is followed,” Mwathi told the People Daily. “We want to bring the matter to a closure,” Mwathi said.
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei has since written to Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka requesting for a special sitting to deliberate on the issue at the Senate.
He said the withdrawal of qualified security personnel from the DP’s residence is a matter of national importance and should be given due attention.
Yesterday, Cherargei said he was waiting for the Speaker’s response to his request.
Addressing businesswomen from Dagoretti at his Karen residence yesterday, Ruto said his security should not be over emphasised. He asked the security apparatus to address the plight of the many people facing security challenges in many parts of the country.
“We must have a country that cares for everybody, the Deputy President is not more important than the ordinary citizen of this country, we are all equal before the law, security of the people who are being harassed and terrorised by bandits and cattle rustlers is as important as that of the DP. We should not waste time discussing one thing,” Ruto said.
The changes in Ruto’s security detail were effected last Thursday when 77 officers drawn from the General Service Unit guarding his Karen residence were replaced by AP officers.
Last week, the DP’s office had termed it as a breach of his security.
“The office of the DP has formally written to the IG, seeking an official explanation on this matter and reason for the breach of security,” said David Mugonyi, the DPs communication secretary.
“This is the latest installment in a sustained and systematic effort to undermine the DP’s personal security in pursuit of political vendetta, and is consistent with a strategy to expose the DP of the Republic to personal harm.”
Mugonyi further said: “The withdrawal extends to all of His Excellency’s residences. At this stage, no explanation has been offered for the strange and unlawful decision.
The decision has been made contrary to Public Service Standing Orders, Chapter 8, Section 5(e), that the GSU Commandant shall be responsible for security of the President, the Deputy President, Statehouses and lodges.”