By James Wafula Correspondent Nairobi.
The storm that is brewing in Nairobi over the cancelled private visit of Deputy President Mr. William Ruto to Uganda may have a heavy bearing on Kenya’s 2022 election.
And in the eye of the storm is long serving Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
The Ugandan leader is now being accused by some Kenyan opposition members of using Mr Ruto to “meddle” in next year’s election.
Ruto’s cancelled visit to Uganda appears to have catapulted some key players involved in shaping the 2022 Uhuru succession that up to now has no “heir” after the President ruled out supporting anyone in the race.
The Workers Eye has established that Mr Ruto was blocked from flying to Uganda not because of his business interests in Kampala but due to his Kenyan internal security matters.
Security agencies in Nairobi are yet to establish details that surrounded alleged arms dealers from Poland early this year whose aborted mission saw a top security official at the Deputy President’s office murdered, and disguised as a suicide.
Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) later ruled it was murder as Mr Ruto accused his detractors of “targeting” his people instead of facing him. The deal that was disowned by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) painted the Deputy President in negative light. CCTV footage narrated cosy details of a fake “General” who purported to be the army commander.
The Polish gun merchants were spotted in the boardroom of Mr Ruto’s Harambee Annex office in Nairobi and are reported to have wired Kshs 250m to a bank account whose details remained unclear.
The CCTV further showed the security aide to the Deputy President speaking on phone throughout in vernacular appearing to be taking orders from somebody “above”.
The following night the security official was found dead in his Imara Daima house on the outskirts of Nairobi. DCI detectives had announced they needed his testimony to help investigations in the alleged arms deal.
That was February 2020 when Mr Ruto’s office for the first time became a scene of crime. The ugly backlash almost swept the Deputy President(DP)out of office as gathering storm raged. The DP political angels must have been very awake as the storm deflated with the explosion of the covid-19 virus economic lockdown of March 2020.
Sources told the Workers Eye that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) in Nairobi has been following closely business transactions of Mr Ruto especially as yet another bodyguard committed suicide in unexplained circumstances in May this year.
As President Museveni walks a delicate balance trying not to rock the boat in Nairobi a year before 2022 elections, the rift between Uhuruto has widened even further.
Both men have key business interests in Kampala and have been frequent visitors always given red carpet warm reception. Mr Ruto was in Uganda to campaign for President Museveni in 2016 and during 2021 elections, and returned to Kampala recently after the swearing – in to launch a project in Matugga, near Kampala.
But Mr Museveni has of late become alarmed at the possibility of his critic and former Prime Minister Mr. Raila Odinga becoming President in 2022.
The fact that Uhuru now prefers Raila since the March 9, 2018 political handshake truce, appears to be causing the Kampala strongman sleepless nights”.
Matters are not helped by a clique in Nairobi opposed to a Ruto regime in 2022 linking him to all manner of shady transactions. This includes claims that Ruto’s associate, a Turkish “investor” Harun Aydin, is now on the watchlist of Federal Bureau of Investigators (FBI), for wanted terrorists.
The 54-year-old Turk, said to be a businessman, was according to the New York Times, arrested in October 2001 in Germany and charged with “having planned serious acts of violence as a member of a terrorist group with an Islamic fundamentalist background”. He was about to board an Iran Air flight to Tehran when he was nabbed. His luggage contained camouflage clothing, a chemical weapons protection suit, a ski mask and materials to produce an explosive detonator.
Kenya’s only brush with the military was the failed airforce coup in August 1982. The five hour coup in Nairobi was crushed by forces loyal to President Daniel Moi led by Colonel Mohamud Mohammed. Coup leader, Hezekiah Ochuka, a Luo from Odinga’s backyard was tried and hanged for high treason.
Mr Odinga was also detained over links to the coup plotters and subjected to horrendous torture in the notorious water-flooded dark Nyayo house dungeons.
Mr Ruto has roundly accused his boss of sidelining him on all state functions and vigorously opposed the multibillion shilling gun and ammunition factory at Ruiru on the outskirts of Nairobi.
The DP told a national TV that the arms and ammunition factory was a poor investment that sunk Shs 4 billion to create only 100 jobs.
He said the gun factory did not make “economic sense” and that if the Kshs 4 billion had been invested in the informal sector, 20,000 jobs would have been created.
Sources told Workers Eye in Nairobi that President Uhuru is not keen on his deputy succeeding him, next year. Uhuru, 61, is said to be uncomfortable with Ruto, 56, and would rather back Raila, 77. The sources in Nairobi further claimed Ruto has been committing the government on “deals” he calls “private” but which have wide-ranging ramifications for the government.
While security agencies in Nairobi have been tight lipped on Mr Ruto’s airport drama, detectives have since arrested and detained the Turk who was in the DP’s entourage to Kampala and had returned to Kenya.
The Deputy Presidents’s entourage included Members of Parliament Oscar Sudi (Kapseret), Benjamin Tayari (Kinango) and Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu), who were the first to arrive at the airport.
They were blocked by Immigration officers and asked to seek clearance from National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi. This they did in time to fly on to Kampala leaving Kenya’s Deputy President of nine years stranded and gnashing teeth.
But President Uhuru Kenyatta who has been on a state visit to the United Kingdom flew back quietly and maintained a studious silence as the drama involving his deputy played out.
Ruto was making his second private visit to Uganda in less than three weeks for an alleged business meeting with investors.
Uganda State Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr Henry Okello Oryem said there is no record that the Kenyan Deputy President H.E William Ruto requested Kampala authorities to provide him protocal.
He refuted allegations linking Uganda to Kenya’s political stand off.
Harun Aydin was in Ruto’s delegation but FBI and Interpol warned Nairobi that the Turk had terror links.
Aydin has been frequenting Kenya and accompanied the Mr Ruto in recent trips to Sudan and Zanzibar. The Turk was in 2001 arrested and charged in Germany, accused of planning violence as a member of a terrorist group. Many Ruto detractors accuse him of fronting “briefcase” companies to win government tenders from which billions are collected as he oils his 2022 electoral machine for Kenya’s fifth president.
President Museveni helped or played a pivotal role in liberating Rwanda and restoring peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan, Burundi and Somalia.
Mr Museveni has made no secret about his support for Kenya Deputy President William Ruto.
Museveni, 77, believes he is backing the “right horse” for Kenya’s August 2022 presidential duel through DP Ruto, a friend and business partner.
President Museveni has no love lost for veteran opposition leader and four times Presidential contender Hon. Raila Odinga. But Mr Odinga has kept denouncing elections in Kampala since 2016 as a “sham” and blatant abuse of democracy. He has also accused Mr Museveni of using the army to harass Kenya fishermen in Mighingo which is a disputed territory between the two countries.
The fact that the Jaramogi Luo family had close ties with the late founding President Apollo Milton Obote, a fellow nilotic Luo, only could fuel the ethnic hostility
In 1986 when Museveni shot his way to power after capturing Kampala kicking out the Okello junta that had earlier overthrown Obote, Kikuyus in Nairobi openly celebrated the fall of a “Luo”. Bars were packed to capacity as revellers drunk to wee hours booing “disappointed” Luos walking around with long faces.
How successful he will remain a question he will be answered in August2022■