Deputy President William Ruto has for the first time revealed his private engagements in Uganda that have raised political heat over the past few days.
The DP was on Monday blocked at Wilson Airport from travelling to Uganda for failing to secure clearance from President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The Star has also established that Ruto will today host more than 100 MPs at his Karen residence to discuss the prevailing political situation and the 2022 campaign roadmap.
Soy MP Caleb Kositany, a close ally of the DP, confirmed the meeting but declined to disclose the agenda.
“The meeting is there but you will have to wait until tomorrow. We will issue a statement,” Kositany said.
MPs Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu), and David Sankok (nominated) also confirmed the meeting.
Nyoro said, “We will discuss parliamentary matters.”
However, the Star established that the 2022 elections, the aborted Uganda trip and the ‘hustlers’ agenda in Parliament are top on the list.
On Wednesday, Ruto said he helped a Ugandan investor secure Sh15 billion funding from Equity Bank to set up a biotech factory that was launched last month.
The DP also said he is interested in learning how the wealth fund in Uganda —which has made the country food secure — was rolled out by Yoweri Museveni’s administration.
The DP, however, did not say whether he has an interest in the biotech firm.
There are also criticisms of why a top government official took an investor to another country.
“The investor had come to my office and asked me to link them with Equity Bank. I took my phone and called Equity and told them there is one of us from East Africa, you have a branch in Uganda, help him if you can,” Ruto said in an interview on Inooro FM.
“When the guy succeeded, he went and built the factory. Where is the problem?” Ruto posed.
The investor whom he did not name had promised he would sell the vaccines to Kenya at a fair price just like Uganda because of his help.
It’s the construction of an mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility that was launched last month in Uganda by Ruto and Museveni.
According to Ruto, Museveni had himself invited him.
“People are saying I have a relationship with Museveni. Museveni is a friend to the Kenyan President. Museveni is my friend. I have campaigned for him in Uganda. All these Nasa leaders have campaigned for him…how come it’s Ok for Museveni to be friends to all these others and if it’s the Deputy President there is a problem?”Ruto posed.
Ruto revealed that he had planned to learn from Uganda how they have successfully implemented the wealth fund, which he likened to his bottom-up economic model.
“I wanted to go and study how the wealth fund helps the Ugandan dairy farmer get feeds and fertilizer for maize farmers. This is because I have started a conversation in Kenya called bottom-up,” Ruto said.
Asked on whether President Uhuru Kenyatta was aware of the trip, Ruto said he has never been asked for clearance during the many trips he has made out of the country.
“I have been DP for nine years. I have gone to many countries, at no point was I asked there was a need for clearance. Which is this new law that has started working today?” he said.
Ruto said the Wilson Airport experience was part of a strategy to humiliate him.
“What happened were among efforts to undermine me, and make me look useless in government and to show me that there are people with powers. The events are about supremacy in government.”
“For four years people have heaped blame on me that I am competing with the President, that I am disrespectful. I have rejected such insinuations,” he added.
On the Uganda trip, the DP said it defeated logic for a country that is championing free movement of people and business across its borders.
Ruto also defended the Turkish national, Harun Aydin, who was in his entourage from claims of a criminal record.
The DP said the Turkish embassy had issued a statement that Aydin is a legitimate businessman with a work permit who has invested heavily in Kenya.
He said linking the investor to terrorism activities was ruining Kenya’s global image.
“How can you expose an investor as a criminal? That is how we destroy our country because of politics,” he stated.
Ruto narrowed down his attacks to Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, saying his team has failed to deliver for the President.
Ruto said when his roles were given to Matiang’i, he did not complain but government delivery came to a screeching halt.
“When he [Uhuru] decided that my roles be taken to Matiang’i, did you hear me complain?… Unfortunately, those who were given the job, ether for not knowing or lacking capacity or laziness, didn’t do the work,” Ruto stated.
He also blamed the handshake for what he said is Jubilee’s dismimal performance in the second term.
“Our problems started from the move to combine Opposition and government. We have now bigger problems since Nasa is dead, same to Jubilee. The Big Four has sunk; there is no rule of law and the economy is doing badly because of this confusion,” Ruto said.
The DP said President Kenyatta’s administration will only be remembered for the projects that he played a key role in their conception and delivery.
“Uhuru’s legacy will be expanded roads, railway, technical training institutes, and electricity connectivity. What would have been the icing on the cake – the Big Four – was run down by these other people.”