I’m no killer, land grab­ber – DP Ruto

“I have been an innocent pur­chaser of value, a long stand­ing dar­ling of the law of eq­uity,” says Ruto as he de­mands that Mwangi pro­vide strict proof.

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - CA­ROLE MAINA @MainaCa­role

Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto has de­fended him­self against ac­cu­sa­tions of land grab­bing, in­volve­ment in ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings and the mur­der of anti-govern­ment whis­tle-blower Ja­cob Juma.

In court doc­u­ments filed on Mon­day, Ruto fired the lat­est salvo in his ven­omous war of words with ac­tivist Boni­face Mwangi. The fire­works in­clude the DP’s re­pu­di­a­tion of the term ‘hus­tler’ used by Mwangi to de­scribe him. Mwangi re­sents the DP im­ply­ing — though not stat­ing specif­i­cally — that he is a drunk­ard.

On Mon­day Ruto said, “The plain­tiff (Ruto) de­nies he has a se­ri­ous lead­er­ship role in the de­sign and im­ple­men­ta­tion of a pol­icy of ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings and en­forced dis­ap­pear­ances.”

In an af­fi­davit filed by lawyer Kioko Kilukumi, the DP said Mwangi’s claims he was in­volved in Juma’s mur­der and that he is cor­rupt and stole pub­lic land are ma­li­cious, lu­di­crous and meant to in­jure his rep­u­ta­tion.

“I have been an innocent pur­chaser for value, a long-stand­ing dar­ling of the law of eq­uity,” he said.

The ac­tivist has ac­cused the DP of a range of crim­i­nal mis­con­duct, in­clud­ing cor­rup­tion and land theft.

The DP has sued Mwangi for defama­tion and de­manded apol­ogy. Mwangi re­fuses to say sorry, ar­gu­ing Ruto has no ster­ling rep­u­ta­tion to tar­nish.

Mwangi filed a counter-claim and sought from the KRA and the EACC the DP’s tax returns, wealth dec­la­ra­tions and list of com­pa­nies he owns or has in­ter­ests in. He wants the in­for­ma­tion to de­fend against the defama­tion suit.

Yes­ter­day, the KRA re­jected Mwangi’s request, say­ing in­di­vid­ual tax returns are con­fi­den­tial.

Juma, a no­to­ri­ous gad­fly with many ene­mies in govern­ment, was shot dead on May 6 as he drove to his home in Karen. No one has been ar­rested, spec­u­la­tion abounds, po­lice say the trail has gone cold.

Months be­fore he was killed, Juma tweeted, sug­gest­ing Ruto planned to as­sas­si­nate him.

On Mon­day, Ruto said the tweet does not amount in law to a dy­ing dec­la­ra­tion and is in­ad­mis­si­ble in court.

While de­scrib­ing Mwangi as “a rab­ble-rouser cam­ou­flaged as a pub­lic spir­ited in­di­vid­ual”, the DP says re­gard­less of his state of­fice, he is en­ti­tled to hu­man dig­nity and to have that dig­nity re­spected and pro­tected.

The DP sued Mwangi for defama­tion for link­ing him to Juma’s death in a tweet posted on Septem­ber 28.

In his af­fi­davit, Mwangi al­leged Ruto has been in­volved in cor­rupt land deals, no­tably those bor­der­ing KCAA land. He said Ruto ad­mit­ted to own­ing the pres­ti­gious We­ston Ho­tel, which he said is built on pub­lic land in Wil­son Air­port flight path.

“The plain­tiff (Ruto) was men­tioned in grab­bing of prison land and pro­ces­sional way from State House to Uhuru Park,” Mwangi’s af­fi­davit said.

Ruto de­nied the al­le­ga­tions and says Mwangi must pro­vide strict proof.

“I have not been in­volved in land deals enu­mer­ated,” he said.

The DP said the land in ques­tion was ac­quired by a cor­po­rate body in which he is a le­gal share­holder and ac­qui­si­tion was le­gal.

He said Mwangi’s sug­ges­tion he is guilty based on his ICC in­dict­ment for crimes against hu­man­ity is mis­lead­ing and meant to ag­gra­vate the defama­tion.

“The find­ings of the ICC pre-trial cham­ber were merely pro­ce­dural to de­ter­mine whether or not a trial should take place to de­ter­mine my in­no­cence or guilt,” he adds.

The case col­lapsed for lack of ev­i­dence but the ICC said Ruto had not been ac­quit­ted and said there had been ex­ten­sive po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence and wit­ness tam­per­ing.

Ruto, who for years proudly styled him­self a ‘hus­tler’ who made his own for­tune, takes of­fence at the “deroga­tory hus­tler ti­tle’ ap­plied by Mwangi.

“The name hus­tler as used in today’s sheng refers to “suf­ferer”, whereas in sheng it means a ‘sa­fara’, which means strug­gling to make ends,”Ruto says.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the word hus­tler dates back to 1825 and is wholly in­ap­pli­ca­ble to him when he uses the word to de­scribe his back­ground.

Ruto re­jects Mwangi’s claim he de­famed the ac­tivist by im­ply­ing (though not nam­ing Mwangi) he is a per­pet­ual drunk who wakes up late to nurse a hang­over. The DP made the com­ments on a broad­cast pro­gramme.

“A care­ful re­view of the words used will con­firm that I re­ferred to a class or group of peo­ple who spend ex­tra­or­di­nary amount of time on so­cial me­dia and drink­ing with­out en­gag­ing in any pro­duc­tive work ca­pa­ble of earn­ing them an in­come or un­der­writ­ing their liv­ing ex­penses” he says.

The DP wants the ac­tivist’s coun­ter­claim dis­missed, say­ing what­ever Mwangi al­leges does not con­sti­tute fair com­ment, value judge­ment, opin­ion and can­not be jus­ti­fi­able.

In his af­fi­davit, Mwangi claimed Ruto has been men­tioned in many scan­dals. He cites the Sh103 mil­lion maize scan­dal un­earthed in 2010 by an au­dit firm.

“In light of pub­li­ca­tions against him, Ruto has failed to live by stan­dards of con­duct de­manded of him by lead­er­ship and in­tegrity pro­vi­sions of the Con­sti­tu­tion, the Lead­er­ship and In­tegrity Act and Pub­lic Of­fi­cers and Ethics Act,” Mwangi said.

He wants Ruto de­clared un­fit to hold of­fice.

/DPPS

DP Ruto is re­ceived by Côte d’Ivoire Pres­i­dent Alas­sane Ou­at­tara at the Pres­i­den­tial Palace in Abid­jan

/DPPS

Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto and For­eign Af­fairs CS Amina Mo­hamed ar­rive at Fe­lix Houphoet Boigny In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Abid­jan yes­ter­day

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