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Ruto dilemma over his supporters’ fury

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Deputy President William Ruto is walking a tight political rope, torn between assuaging his supporters’ anger over his apparently declining fortunes and maintaining loyalty to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Ruto’s supporters, including elected leaders, are simmering with rage over what they believe is a move by people close to State House to isolate the DP and cut him down to size.

The Star has established that some of Ruto’s allies have been pushing him to call the bluff of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s men he believes are sabotaging his 2022 presidential bid.

But the DP is said to believe this strategy would fuel the inferno gutting Jubilee and prematurely end the political marriage with Uhuru, three and half years to the polls.

Ruto thus has remained tight-lipped about his political tribulations, putting on a brave face and dismissing any claims that he has been sidelined as street talk.

In his characteristic style, the DP yesterday played down the succession intrigues that hit fever pitch last week, following the elevation of Interior CS Fred Matiang’i.

Read: My focus is on development not 2022 politics – Ruto

Uhuru made Matiang’i chairman of a powerful Cabinet subcommittee in charge of all development projects. Pundits say that makes him a ‘super minister’.

“We are past the elections period,” Ruto said yesterday during a church service in Ngong’, Kajiado county.

“This is not the time to talk about the politics of succession but the time to serve Kenyans. We have a country that we must ensure goes places,” he said.

The DP said Kenyans need not to be anxious about political events and urged leaders to shun politics of ethnicity. They should adopt politics founded on development, he added.

Political analyst Herman Manyora however advises Ruto to quit in protest.

“My advice to him is to quit government and begin hitting at Uhuru as a betrayer. Tell the Kikuyus that this is not how to live with other Kenyans. He can also look for other people who have been betrayed before, like Kalonzo, and work with them,” he suggests.

Ruto has cut down on his political activities and countrywide travels since the President reportedly read him the riot act on January 14, a day before the attack on the Dusit Hotel.

Cabinet Secretaries have also been asked to stop attending official functions at DP Ruto’s Karen home; instead, all development meetings will be held at Harambee House.

Interviews with various politicians from the Rift Valley captured growing discontent fuelled by a feeling that the DP is being isolated before he is finally elbowed out.

“The Kalenjin nation is unhappy. Their hearts are burning. We aren’t just speaking about it because we feel we will whip up emotions,” a former Cabinet minister told the Star in confidence.

The former bureaucrat was categorical that it would be really difficult for Ruto to convince his supporters that the Jubilee marriage is still working and the bride would “deliver a bouncing baby in 2022.”

“I wish you could have moved across the Rift Valley and listened to the voices of our people, it is really bad and their hearts are boiling,” the former ODM politician said.

A close Ruto ally and confidant told the Star the DP may be pushed into a corner where he would be unable to contain his angry supporters when they demand answers and want to know whether he will fight or give in

“Currently you can’t even go for a church service within the Rift Valley and escape without answering some of those concerns. How do you even start really? It is painful,” the Ruto ally said.

Read: Uhuru trims Ruto’s power in new order

Some of the DP’s hitherto most vocal allies have ducked and maintained a studious silence, as part of the wider Ruto game plan.

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The DP hosted his inner circle at a strategy meeting last Thursday. They included National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, General Assembly Chief Whip Benjamin Washiali and Nandi Governor Stephen Sang. The details remain unclear.

Yesterday Duale, Murkomen and Washiali — the DP’s most trusted and loyal lieutenants — declined to comment on their boss’s current political turmoil.

Yesterday, political analyst Mark Bichachi said the DP is walking a tightrope in diffusing the negative perception among his allies and supporters who hold the view that he is being pushed out of government.

Bichachi said while in reality and according to the Constitution, Ruto is Deputy President with sweeping powers, practically there is a perception that he has lost considerable ground in government.

“The biggest issue is perception. He [Ruto] is perceived to believe that in every passing day there is something that happens that puts him aside,” Bichachi said.

He added, “He needs to do a lot to bring himself to the centre of Jubilee politics. He needs to tone down the rhetoric of his allies who keep shouting”

The analyst warned that the more Ruto’s allies sustain their attacks, the more there is a feeling of a rift in government.

“He must do more to tame his allies and show that he is working with President Uhuru and that he is part and parcel of the decisions the President is making,” the analyst said.

ODM Treasurer and former Kitutu Masaba MP Timothy Bosire said the DP had panicked because of a clash between his personal interests and the national interest.

He said the March 9 handshake approach to the country’s political dispensation was still being resisted by the DP and his allies whom he said were pursuing personal interests.

“He might be compelled to look at things differently with the new political approach that emphasises management and national interested,” the ex-MP said.

Read also: Ruto rushes to defend Uhuru against attacks

Bosire said the DP fears a looming political dispensation being worked on by the Building Bridges initiative — like expanding the Executive in size, reducing the powers of the President and introducing a Prime Minister.

“This approach will bring a fundamental shift in management. This approach may not necessary please many, especially when their personal interests are not being catered for,” he added.

Kajiado West MP George Sunkuyia said Kenyans should ignore the current noises, terming them normal in politics.

“We are fully in support of the ongoing development projects in the country. We will not dare to be out of the government now or in the future,” Sunkuyia said.

However, although his confidants have remained tight-lipped about the growing disquiet, the Star independently established that the DP’s expansive Rift Valley constituency is seething with rage.

Troubling the DP further was Uhuru’s decision last week to appoint Interior CS Fred Matiang’i as the focal point of Jubilee’s development agenda. Ruto himself had been going around the country campaigning and commissioning projects.

The appointment of the fierce technocrat to the powerful position of chairman of the National Development Implementation and Communication committee of the Cabinet has been interpreted as a strategy to frustrate Ruto.

While the DP tried to down play the elevation of Matiang’i, his confidants have been rattled by the President’s move against backdrop of concerns that the CS was enhanced to reduce Ruto’s influence.

“Government officers at all levels should align their operations to the order issued by the President setting up committees at the county, regional and national levels,” Ruto said in a tweet last week, his first comment on the executive order elevating Matiang’i.

See also: Ruto tells civil servants to follow Uhuru’s order

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Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’

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Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
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Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

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Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –

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Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

Read Also: Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme To Undergo Viability Test Before Being Privatised

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“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

Email your news TIPS to [email protected] or WhatsApp +254708677607. You can also find us on Telegram through www.t.me/kahawatungu

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard

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Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

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