November 22nd 2017

Top Stories / National

Was ‘raid’ on Ruto home staged to prop up Jubilee in Rift Valley?

Today, more than four years later, critics still believe that the calling of the Army to Westgate, as well as the destruction of the building, was a strategy by authorities to ensure that Kenya got maximum attention from the world and dissuade the ICC from pursuing the cases against President Uhuru

By Derrick Kirakadkiraka@kenyafreepress.comTuesday, 01 Aug 2017 22:22 EAT

A contingent of police officers arrive at DP William Ruto's Sugoi home in Turbo Constituency, Uasin Gishu County, following an attack at the home on Saturday.

The Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet is fighting widespread perceptions that the much-hyped “raid” on Deputy President William Ruto’s home over the weekend was stage-managed for political purposes.

“It was not staged-managed. The reason the operation took many hours is because we had to handle things clearly,” The Star newspaper reported Boinnet telling journalists from his Sunday briefing.

Despite Boinnet’s denial, Kenyans have poked holes into the official account of what happened at the home to warrant the deployment of several armed personnel carriers, helicopters, sniffer dogs and hundreds of police officers from different formations of the force.

Initial reports about the raid on Saturday had put the number of invaders at four, with two of them riding a motor cycle while their accomplices accessed the home on foot. The four were said to have arrived at the DP’s gate a few minutes to 11am. One of them drew a machete, hacked a GSU officer and seized his gun.

That account was followed with several mutations, until on Sunday the IG told journalists that there had only been attacker armed a knife. Boinnet said the attacker killed a nightshift GSU officer whom he held hostage in a room.

The story has raised many questions that the police will likely never answer unless they are ready to open themselves up to scrutiny on an issue in which the deep state has a high stake.

How did one attacker breach the guard of 10 officers? If as has been reported by some sections of the media, some officers had left duty to accompany the DP to his rally, has the commander responsible for that breach been punished? Why did the police mobilise such monumental resources for one attacker?

There are reports from Uasin Gishu to the effect that the incident may have been a deliberate attempt by the government to gain sympathy votes for the DP from the skeptical Kalenjin community that appears to be drifting from Jubilee to NASA.

The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that failure by Jubilee to cater for the welfare of the Kalenjin Nation has forced many of them to withdraw their support from the ruling party. The ruling party has been accused of betraying the region’s farmers, whose earnings from maize and milk have deteriorated while farm inputs soar.

Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, who is a member of the NASA Pentagon, has put the DP under growing pressure in the South Rift which is increasingly tilting towards NASA. Then there is the Jackson Mandago, the Uasin Gishu governor who last week endorsed NASA candidates as part of an ad hoc cooperation strategy with the opposition.

Mandago has severally accused the DP of fronting his rival, Independent candidate, Bundotich Zedekiah Kiprop (Buzeki). NASA principals made the first public overture to Mandago at the 64 Stadium in Eldoret, with Musalia Mudavadi, Isaac Ruto and Moses Wetangula explicitly endorsing his re-election.

It is this dynamic which shook the DP and his handlers to the core. Two days later, Mandago returned a favour by publicly endorsing the NASA candidate for Langas Ward, Charles Okumu, in the company of Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi who is also bitter with the DP since the Jubilee nomination exercise which Sudi won over Ruto’s wishes.

The attack on the Deputy President could therefore lead to his galvanizing the Kalenjin community who would seek to protect their “son” from external aggression if they believe the attack was intended to harm the DP.

The DP himself appeared to let the cat out of the bag when, at a series of rallies in Embu and Machakos on Sunday, he linked the attack to people “who want to create discord and misunderstanding in Jubilee.” He did not elaborate.

Yet, another theory could be that the “attack” was intended to introduce the notion that Kenya was under serious terror threat justifying massive deployment of security officers, including the military, a week in the run-up to the General Election. This way, Jubilee would have achieved its goal of intimidating and suppressing voters from NASA strongholds owing to heavy presence of security officers in these regions, without raising suspicions.

Critics are also wont to draw similarities between the publicity hype of the raid with that of the Westgate attack a few years ago. In the Westgate case, Recce squad officers were said to have subdued the attackers and were on the verge of cleaning up the area, when the Army was called in.

The arrival of the military only helped to aggravate the situation, causing massive damage to the building where the attackers were believed to have been holed up. Yet, it gave the attack maximum national and international media attention during the time the DP was at The Hague to answer charges at the International Criminal Court.

Today, more than four years later, critics still believe that the calling of the Army to Westgate, as well as the destruction of the building, was a strategy by authorities to ensure that Kenya got maximum attention from the world and dissuade the ICC from pursuing the cases against President Uhuru and DP Ruto.

Even more, the incident at the DP’s home could have been timed to deflect attention from NASA’s revelation of military involvement in Jubilee’s plot to rig the forthcoming election. The DP’s home was raided just as the country was getting to hear of the NASA claims.

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