President Kenyatta the 1st invented the dark arts of waging war against his principal assistant. From the early years of Independence, Vice-President Oginga Odinga was incessantly accused of undermining his boss, plotting to seize power and importing arms from neighbouring Uganda. Of course, most of those accusations were arrant nonsense from the fertile minds of a political and security apparatus intent on cutting the VP down to size.
It is apparent that President Kenyatta the 2nd learnt well at daddy’s feet. The propaganda offensive since Deputy President William Ruto was stopped from boarding a flight to Uganda on Monday last week reads eerily like history repeating itself.
The DP being stopped at the airport by junior immigration officials was designed to cause him maximum humiliation and also to set the stage for a campaign of slander. The civilised thing would have been for Dr Ruto to be politely advised even before he left for the airport that he is required, henceforth, to seek clearance to travel out of the country.
Officialdom, after all, could not have been taken by surprise on the arrival of Dr Ruto’s entourage at Wilson Airport.
The DP has a veritable army of aides and courtiers. There are fellows on the public payroll responsible for his security, travel, diary, household, meals, laundry, expenses and even travelling bags. There is also the large battalion of political flunkies who shadow his every move and claim to read his mind and speak for him.
A good number of the most trusted and reliable confidants don’t just report to him but also report on him. It is therefore given that the government security establishment was aware almost as soon as the aircraft was booked that the DP was flying to Uganda. That is the nature of any job where one voluntarily surrenders privacy and becomes, in effect, both a public and state property.
Somebody decided that Dr Ruto must be ambushed at the airport for the purpose of generating dramatic news headlines. Of particular interest was, of course, the Turkish merchant on the flight. Almost from the word go, state-sponsored blogs reported that Mr Harun Aydin was a suspected terrorist.
The problem here is that his is as common a name in Turkey as Kamau Njoroge might be in Kiambu. My own Internet search on the names bring up the alleged terrorist, as well as a professional footballer, a musician, a disk jockey and numerous other persons in the news.
The terrorist linkage (to borrow newsroom terms) was the one that could sell. But then, it raised questions why the government allowed a suspected terrorist to catch the flight to Uganda, even sans the DP. The same ‘terrorist’ had also been allowed to fly into and out of Kenya on a regular basis in recent times, including accompanying Dr Ruto on previous excursions – and had a Kenya visa and work permit to boot!
It is instructive that Mr Aydin was given a clean bill of health by the Turkish government, seeing as the regime in Ankara terminates suspected security threats with extreme prejudice. Chances are, the subsequent decision to arrest the Turk was an afterthought, implemented by a security unit taking on characteristics of a political police rather than serious crime-fighting organ.
Dr Ruto also insisted that the man was a genuine investor and assailed his own government for harassing him only because of their relationship. This, however, raises queries about the DP’s own linkages. He too often gets entangled with shadowy figures pursuing suspect deals. Neither the DP nor any of his loquacious mouthpieces have cared to identify even one of Mr Aydin’s investments in Kenya.
It is also strange that the company cited on his work permit has absolutely no digital footprint indicating its activities, website, address or abode. It uses a free GMail address rather than an own corporate email account! A shell, if there ever was one.
Then there are those fellows who claim to speak for Dr Ruto but cause him irreparable harm instead. Kapsaret MP Oscar Sudi takes the cake for volunteering information that frequent visits to Uganda were intended to ‘borrow political lessons’. The only political lessons one can borrow from President Yoweri Museveni include how to shoot your way into power and holding onto it through brute force.
The DP also scores an own goal with his disclosure that he helped some foreign investor to clinch a Sh15 billion bank loan for a project in Uganda – billions to build big business on foreign shores while his ‘Hustler Nation’ at home is reduced to wheelbarrows!
[email protected] @MachariaGaitho