Cor­rupt? Not me, says DP Ruto

CLEAN DEPUTY PRES­I­DENT SAYS HE CAN AC­COUNT FOR HIS PO­LIT­I­CAL AND FI­NAN­CIAL ACHIEVE­MENTS

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - BY PAUL ILADO IN NEW YORK @thes­tarkenya

Wil­liam claims some peo­ple did not want him to sup­port Uhuru be­cause he is the son of a for­mer Pres­i­dent

Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto has dis­missed claims that he is cor­rupt and ac­cused those who say so of envy.

Ruto de­fended his po­lit­i­cal and fi­nan­cial achieve­ments, say­ing he can ac­count for all his suc­cess.

“I’m very proud of my record,” said Ruto in an in­ter­view with the Star in New York.

“I per­fectly un­der­stand the peo­ple who be­lieve that the only way to get any­where is to take short­cuts. I have got here by sheer hard work,” said Ruto.

Ruto said he has al­ways com­peted with many other able Kenyans for the po­si­tions he has held over the years.

Ruto first joined ac­tive politics in 1997, when he trounced Reuben Ch­e­sire, now de­ceased, a rel­a­tive of the then Pres­i­dent Daniel Moi.

He was sub­se­quently re­elected twice, serv­ing as an MP for 15 years un­til 2013, when he be­came Uhuru Keny­atta’s run­ning mate in the deal that gave birth to the Ju­bilee coali­tion.

“Ev­ery po­si­tion that I have got­ten, I have com­peted for with oth­ers. I have worked hard for it and I have not got­ten a lift from any­body,” stated Ruto.

He said he un­der­stood that some peo­ple had a prob­lem with his achieve­ments in life be­cause he came from nowhere, with lit­tle-known par­ents, to be­come the coun­try’s sec­ond most pow­er­ful man un­der the new Con­sti­tu­tion.

“I un­der­stand why some peo­ple have a prob­lem with a son of a peas­ant get­ting this far – be­cause it nor­mally does not hap­pen. But they should wake up to a new re­al­ity that this is a Kenya in which ev­ery child, ir­re­spec­tive of their back­ground or where they come from – that it does not mat­ter the sta­tus of their par­ents, whether poor or not, we must all have an equal chance,” added Ruto.

The DP re­called some un­named peo­ple had a prob­lem with his sup­port­ing Uhuru merely be­cause he is the son of a for­mer Pres­i­dent.

“They said, ‘why do you sup­port the son of a for­mer Pres­i­dent? You mean there are no other peo­ple in this Kenya who can be lead­ers ex­cept the Keny­at­tas?

“My po­si­tion was, and is, that you can­not pe­nalise Keny­atta merely be­cause his fa­ther was a for­mer Pres­i­dent.

“You should look at Keny­atta as his own man: Ask if he is ca­pa­ble or not. It is the same way we should look at Ruto and not judge him that ‘your fa­ther was a poor man, so why do you have money?’ That is prim­i­tive and back­ward. We should be even­handed,” said Ruto.

Ruto is a wealthy politi­cian with a sub­stan­tial stake in in­sur­ance and real es­tate, among other in­vest­ments. He is as­so­ci­ated with the Amaco In­sur­ance Com­pany, the We­ston Ho­tel at Wil­son Air­port, and rental houses in Nairobi and else­where.

He has homes in Karen, El­gon View in El­doret and a farm in Su­goi.

The DP is build­ing a new home in Keiyo.

Op­po­si­tion leader Raila Odinga has pre­vi­ously ques­tioned Ruto’s sources of cash and asked him to ac­count for it.

The two fell out in 2010, when Raila, then Prime Min­is­ter, un­suc­cess­fully tried to sack Ruto from the Cab­i­net over his al­leged in­volve­ment in a maize scan­dal.

Raila and other op­po­si­tion lead­ers have also raised ques­tions about the huge amounts of cash the Deputy Pres­i­dent has do­nated at harambees across the coun­try on a vir­tu­ally weekly ba­sis.

The per­cep­tion is wide­spread, es­pe­cially on so­cial me­dia, that the for­mer El­doret North MP has amassed wealth through du­bi­ous means.

Raised in a hum­ble Chris­tian en­vi­ron­ment, Ruto, 47, has fought many bat­tles on his way to the top.

Un­til he con­firmed that he has an in­ter­est in the We­ston Ho­tel along Lang’ata Road and stated that he ac­quired the prime piece of land legally, Ruto had been ac­cused of grab­bing the land, which pre­vi­ously be­longed to the Kenya Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity.

In 2010, the High Court ruled he had a case to an­swer in con­nec­tion with al­leged pay­ment of mil­lions of shillings aris­ing from land deals in­volv­ing the Kenya Pipe­line Com­pany.

He was charged with sell­ing to KPL land in Ngong For­est that had not been de-gazetted. He was ac­quit­ted for lack of ev­i­dence.

The same year, Ruto was back in the dock af­ter Adrian Muteshi filed a suit at the High Court ac­cus­ing him of grab­bing his 100-acre farm in Turbo at the height of the 2008 post­elec­tion vi­o­lence.

Muteshi claimed he fled the land in the midst of the vi­o­lence, and sub­se­quently found Ruto had taken pos­ses­sion of it.

The court or­dered Ruto to sur­ren­der the land to Muteshi.

Ruto’s story is most un­likely in Kenya’s politics of power, priv­i­lege

and pa­tron­age. The DP is the quin­tes­sen­tial self-made politi­cian.

He grew up in poverty in Ka­m­agut, Uasin Gishu, tread­ing bare­foot to school, cran­ing his neck to reach pas­sen­gers in buses ply­ing the Mal­aba-Nairobi high­way and sell them peanuts and chick­ens to sup­ple­ment the fam­ily in­come.

He made it to the Univer­sity of Nairobi, where he com­pleted a de­gree in Botany and Zo­ol­ogy in 1990.

He briefly taught in sec­ondary schools in the North Rift, where he also met his fu­ture wife and mother of their six chil­dren, Rachel.

At 26, Ruto joined the Youth for Kanu 1992 lobby group, which was led by Cyrus Jirongo, to cam­paign for Moi dur­ing the first multi-party elec­tions in Kenya for 26 years.

His fam­ily says Ruto grew up like any other child “and God knew he would one day be­come a leader”. They also say that his strong be­lief in God has made him what he is to­day.

As a young boy, he never missed Sun­day School, at the Ka­m­agut African In­land Church, and as he grew older, his de­ter­mi­na­tion, fo­cus and hard work saw the youth of the church elect him their chair­man.

Ruto, the third-born in his fam­ily, is de­scribed as very or­gan­ised and dis­ci­plined in all his un­der­tak­ings.

OP­PO­SI­TION LEAD­ERS HAVE ALSO RAISED DOUBTS ABOUT THE HUGE AMOUNTS OF CASH THE DP HAS DO­NATED AT HARAMBEES. THE PER­CEP­TION IS WIDE­SPREAD, ES­PE­CIALLY ON SO­CIAL ME­DIA, THAT THE FOR­MER EL­DORET NORTH MP HAS AMASSED WEALTH THROUGH DU­BI­OUS MEANS

PHOTO / CHARLES KIMANI / DPPS

PHOTO / REUTERS

Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto ad­dresses the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly in the Man­hat­tan bor­ough of New York, US, Septem­ber 21, 2016.

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