When in February this year news emerged that President William Ruto’s administration had scaled down the security of his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta and his family, the magnitude of the effect was not immediately felt.
Until on Monday when one of the family’s properties—the 11,576 acres Northlands estate—situated in Ruiru was raided by hired goons who stole about 1,500 sheep, cut down trees and demarcated parts of the land among themselves. Some even built structures that were only brought down on Tuesday by workers when police were finally deployed.
The farm that had during Mr Kenyatta’s 10-year reign had watertight security, including General Service Unit officers on horses, was dangerously exposed with only a dozen private security guards when the goons overrun the property.
Yesterday, the head of security at the farm, Mr Patrick Masinde, said “we were found unawares”.
“In the face of machetes, power saws, iron and crowbars, mallets and axes that formed the raiders’ arms, we gave way and watched helplessly as trees were cut down, outright theft executed and fire lit,” Mr Masinde said. He added that the farm has been visited by senior security officers and collaborative measures put in place to prevent future attacks.
The Nation now understands that the National Security Advisory Council has sanctioned more vigilance around Mr Kenyatta’s properties and those of his family.
“We asked the Kiambu security committee to brief us on the incident and we have made our recommendations….The gist of the matter is that, the country has found itself with no option but to remain very vigilant on all of the more than 100 business interests across the country,” said our source. The most urgent to be protected, the source said, are those in Rift Valley, Central and Nairobi regions.
“Discreet security attention”
The Nation was shown a list of the properties that will enjoy “discreet security attention”.
“The scaling down of the Kenyatta family security was in line with the law, it was done above board. The security attached to his interests was also lowered and specifically for Northlands, elite officers who had been guarding it for the past 10 years had been withdrawn,” said a security officer at Vigilance House.
At the time Mr Kenyatta’s security was scaled down, Inspector-General of Police Mr Japhet Koome said that “the security detail of a sitting president is too senior in ranks and once in retirement, that seniority must be relooked so as not to duplicate that of the sitting president”.
“That is okay, we had accepted and moved on, until Monday when a well-choreographed attack on Mr Kenyatta and his family by senior government officials, complete with a public warning that his land will be invaded and property destroyed. We now demand answers and guarantee of our statesman’s security and that of his family and properties,” said Jubilee Secretary-General Jeremiah Kioni.
Yesterday, Ruiru sub-county police boss Alexander Shikondi said “the search for all number plates and faces that were recorded taking part in the transportation and raid scheme have been compiled and the process of going after them is on”.
He added that he was mobilising his team to secure Northlands and the properties of other Kenyans. He further criticised the media for concentrating too much on certain aspects of the incident for “convenience”.