Why Ruto has declared open war on Uhuru

DP goes hammer and tongs against DCI, DPP

In Summary

• DP's allies dismiss war on graft, saying it is a political witch-hunt meant to kill his 2022 presidential ambition

• Ruto, in an unprecedented move, is going hammer and tongs against the country’s investigating agencies

Deputy President during a Church service at Mary Leakey High School
Deputy President during a Church service at Mary Leakey High School
Image: DPPS

Deputy President William Ruto has begun to openly stage a rebellion against his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta, in what is likely to sound the death knell of the Jubilee Party.

Ruto, in an unprecedented move, is going hammer and tongs against the country’s investigating agencies –– headed by Uhuru’s own appointees whom the head of state has time and again given his vote of confidence.

The rebellion has been systematic and was initially being waged by DP Ruto's allies only.

Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso claimed Ruto is being persecuted.

“I want to say, we are seeing bad signs. We are seeing our person being persecuted. He is being treated as though he never worked. And all of us know the work William [Ruto] has done. He traversed the whole country [campaigning], but if you look at how he is being treated now …” she protested.

At the weekend, a furious DP, taking his cue from his allies, accused investigating agencies of selective prosecutions, devoid of facts and propelled by lies.

Ruto has said that only Sh7 billion on the dams is in question, and every shilling guaranteed, while investigators say the amount is Sh21 billion.

“As we move forward as a nation, selective prosecution targeting predetermined individuals and projects, and steamrolled by a narrative of convenient lies and falsehood and propaganda, is not a fight against corruption,” Ruto said on Saturday at the Coast.

“It’s impunity, it’s politics, and it’s headed in the wrong direction.”

This was the first major pointer that the gloves were off in Jubilee, with the President and his deputy headed for an open clash.

“If we are fighting corruption, it must be on the basis of truth. It must not be about the politics of targeting others. It must not target any project and we must be clear as a nation where we want to go … If we want to play politics, let’s play politics. If we want to fight corruption, let’s fight corruption,” Ruto saiThe straw that appears to have broken the camel’s back is the Sh21 billion Arror and Kimwarer dams scandal. A number of Ruto’s allies, including Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, are on the DCI’s radar. Ironically, Uhuru has said he plans to make anti-corruption part of his legacy and expressed confidence in Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti and Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.

“We reformed the offices of the DCI and DPP, and appointed people who are ready to fight corruption. We’ve empowered the office of the DPP to tackle the cases as required. Mr Kinoti and Mr Haji are doing their work,” Uhuru said recently.

Mount Kenya MPs say the onslaught adopted by the DP and his allies is a tactic to intimidate the head of state. Nominated MP Maina Kamanda urged those dissatisfied within Jubilee to quit, instead of insulting the President.

Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu said, “We need you to pray that the President gets the energy and strength to finish the battle he has begun.”

Senate Majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen, Jubilee’s senior-most representative in the Senate, termed the war against graft "a charade".

“It is unfortunate that the project is being weaponised as a tool for 2022 political fights. It saddens me when I see the labelling of Kenyan citizens based on their ethnic identity as corrupt and the massive operation being mounted against one individual’s [Ruto's] political ambitions,” Murkomen said bitterly in the Senate.

Political analysts say it’s only a matter of time before the Uhuru and Ruto camps clash in full-blown political warfare.

For the first time, Ruto and his allies are no longer pretending that the political truce between Uhuru and ODM leader Raila Odinga is significant.

“The handshake is the worst political fraud ever witnessed in this country. It’s being used as a scheme to fight one individual, together with the charade called the fight against corruption. It’s a sham,” Murkomen tweeted.

Ngunjiri said it’s no longer a secret that Ruto is fighting Uhuru.

“The people undermining the DCI, who is an appointee of the President, the people who are attacking the DPP are allies of the Deputy President … if you ask me, the Deputy President is actually fighting the President. There is no other way you can explain it,” he said at the weekend.