By Simiyu Simiyu
Meet the 11th Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya, outspoken and a master of “public eloquence” who rarely reads his speaches. Always confident and composed in his public addresses. His name is William Samoei Ruto.
Born and raised in Uashin Gishu County where he’s said to have sold chicken to earn a living, his name continues to attract public attention and affect the headlines.
This writer highlights a number of scandals his name has been mentioned in.
10. Allegedly aquires an IDP’s land
Friday 28 June 2013: A High Court in Nairobi directs the Deputy President William Ruto to pay an Internally Displaced Person Sh5 Million for irregularly acquiring his 100-acre piece of land.
Mr Adrian Gilbert Muteshi had accused the Deputy President-elect of false acquisition of his land which was then subdivided and sold to him. Mr Muteshi welcomes the ruling but says the reward not sufficient.
9. Indicted at the ICC
In 2007/2008, a post election violence broke out after the disputed general election. 1,133 people lost their lives and 600,000 others diaplaced from their homes. The then Eldoret-North legislator and five others including former Radio presenter Joshua arap Sang, former Tinderet MP Henry Kosgei, former Police Inspector Muhammed Ali, President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Public Service Commissioner Francis Muthaura.
Though Mr Ruto was tried at the Hague, he and the co-accused were confirmed innocent.
8. Lang’ata Land grab
In June 2015, the police were filmed tear-gassing pupils of Lang’ata Primary School for protesting the grabbing of their playing ground by a private developer. The incident attracted international fury as the name of Weston Hotel dominated the headlines as being at the centre stage of the saga. Though, through his laywer Ahmed Nassir, denied the allegations of land grabbing of the school land, the DP later conceded on Citizen TV that he owns shares at the said hotel.
7. Karen Land saga
Damaging the headlines a gain, another multi-million scandal hit the country that would later propell Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu appear on President Uhuru Kenyatta’s famous List of Shame where he suspended alleged corrupt officials.
Ms Ngilu has recently accussed Deputy President of being behind her woes and linked him to the grabbing of the said land.
6. Moi Referral Hospital saga
Treated to another twist of events in a continuously growing list of scandals, the country was again left glued to national television screens and print publications following the Sh28 billion referral hospital saga. According to businessman Herbert Ojwang’, the Deputy President allegedly influenced a deal to construct a new referral hospital in Eldoret at the expense of updating the current one. Such a move, Mr Ojwang’ claimed, would see the taxpayer lose up to Sh11 billion in a tender “won” by a Chinese firm Wu Yi.
5. Child Upkeep saga
A woman recently went to court to sue Mr Ruto of child neglect. Ms Prisca Chemutai Bet accused the DP of neglecting an 11 year old daughter he sired with her.
The former high school receptionist, in her submissions, reported that Mr Ruto literally stoped providing upkeep to her and the daughter immediately he became the Deputy President.
However, in a series of tweets from the DP’s verified twitter account, Mr Ruto denied the allegations and claimed he still takes care of the 11-year old Abby’s school and maintenance bills.
4. Jacob Juma’s killing
Arguably the country’s shocking series of drama and allegations, the killing of tycoon businessman and anti-corruption crusader Jacob Juma on May 5, 2016 put the DP on the spot after the diseased has earlier own claimed on his twitter handle that Mr Ruto was plotting to have him killed, the allegations the DP dismissed. A year later, it’s not clear if the police have ever summoned Deputy President over the alleged killing.
3. Mumias Sugar woes
May 2017. Mumias Sugar Company CEO writes a letter to board chairman Kennedy Mulwe and copies it to other department managers linking the DP to the companies woes.
Mr Errol Johnstone claimed Mr Ruto visited the company on May 6 and instructed Mr Mulwe to get rid of corrupt managers.
It’s at this point that Mr Mulwe asked the residents to field their complains that would later be a scapegoat for the CEO’s sacking, according to the three-paged letter.
Mr Jonstone also claimes some government officials wanted a kick-back of Sh10 million for them to facilitate the Sh300 million the government had pledged to the kneeling company, an idea the Australian rejected. The CEO then resigned on May 24 this year while on his official leave in his home country in Australia.
2. Death of witness Meshack Yebei
The death of ICC witness Meshack Yebei generated a heated debate between Mr Ruto and the ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. The prosecution and the defence traded accusations on the interference of ICC witnesses that could apparently subbotage justice delivery at the Hague.
Mr Yebei’s body was found mutilated even after the family had expressed fear of his life. It’s not yet established who killed him.
1. The “Hustler’s jet”
Months after the 2013 general elections that saw Mr Ruto become the first Deputy President under the new constitution, Uhuru’s government lodged a campaign for foreign policy under the guidance of PanAfricansm that saw the Deputy President fly to four different countries in a the VistaJet-supplied plane at Ksh100 million costing the taxpayer a whooping Sh100 million at a time when the public was crying over government expenditure on unnecessary travels at the expense of infrastructural development. He flied to Congo, Gabon, Nigeria and Algeria.