What you need to know:
- As a ‘Very Very Important Person’ in government protocol, the DP ought to have at his disposal military and police fixed-wing planes and helicopters.
- Earlier in the year Mr Ruto was denied access to the Deputy President’s official residence in Mombasa, and in Mombasa last week had no access to government facilities.
When Deputy president William Ruto left Nairobi for Mombasa on August 28, two things stood out; one, he boarded a commercial Kenya Airways plane and, two, spent the night at a private hotel.
There were no military planes to take him to the coastal city and back to Nairobi as is the norm, and he was not accommodated at his official residence there.
As a ‘Very Very Important Person’ (VVIP) in government protocol, the DP ought to have at his disposal military and police fixed-wing planes and helicopters. In ordinary times, were he to use a military plane, his Chief of Staff would write to the VVIP wing of the military with the itinerary and, after confirmation of availability of the plane, a passenger manifest would be issued.
The military would then contact the airport for advance arrangements, and the same would be communicated to the Head of Public Service, who pays for the trips on behalf of the President.
It was not clear on Saturday whether Mr Ruto is the one who has opted to forgo that luxury, even though his handlers told the Sunday Nation he plans to fly commercial for the foreseeable future.
His deputy spokesperson Emmanuel Talam said the DP is “comfortable in position, given by the people in the last two elections”.
Build his legacy
“He is not the complaining type. He wants the President to build his legacy and is committed to help him achieve that,” said Mr Talam He declined to comment on whether the DP’s office has in recent times sought to get a military or police plane.
But Mr Caleb Kositany, MP for Soy, waxed lyrical on the issue, saying Mr Ruto is increasingly becoming “an independent candidate relying on personal logistical solutions as opposed to State offerings”.
“They have shown him that he is unwanted and he has decided to engage wananchi from his pocket if need be. He was not born to wealth or state largesse and therefore financing his travels is not a big deal. He will walk to meet the people if need be,” he said. He did not elaborate on who those who have made the DP feel “unwanted” are.
Mr Ruto is also known to travel by private helicopter, with sources indicating that the costs of such trips are covered by the State. We understand he will continue using these for short trips.
Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho did not immediately respond to our enquiries on whether access to planes had been denied or it was the DP who had opted to avoid them. Other sources from the Interior ministry we had earlier contacted termed the subject “a hot potato” and referred the Sunday Nation to their supervisors for comment.
Earlier in the year Mr Ruto was denied access to the Deputy President’s official residence in Mombasa, and in Mombasa last week had no access to government facilities. His host Nyali MP Mohamed Ali and former Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar managed his itinerary.
The DP accuses a cabal in the Office of the President and around it, like Jubilee Party Vice-Chairman David Murathe, of hatching a plot to frustrate his ambition of succeeding President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022.