In Summary

• Ruto office declines to respond, saying the statement is not worth responding to.

• Murkomen says Tuju and team are grieving, mourning the death of Jubilee.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s troops want Deputy President William Ruto to explain how he acquired his multibillion empire.

In a  press conference at Jubilee House on Monday, they cited large tracts of land, hotels and helicopters.   

The President’s men, led by Jubilee Party secretary general Raphael Tuju, accused Ruto of tribalism, blackmail and “selfishness and greed of the highest order”. 

The statement was the clearest signal the internal feuds in government, especially the bitter differences between Uhuru and Ruto, have reached a point of no return.

The Deputy President's office declined to respond to the accusations. Ruto’s communications officer Emmanuel Talam told the Star the statement about Ruto's wealth is not “worth responding to".

But Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said Tuju and his brigade were grieving because Jubilee is dead.

“[Swiss psychiatrist Elizabeth] Kübler-Ross constructed five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Tuju and company are in Stage 2—anger…They will get better when they reach the final stage of acceptance,” he said.

Flanked by Jubilee parliamentary leadership, Tuju questioned how Ruto has managed to build a multibillion-shilling empire in just over seven years.

“By his own account, the DP is on video record when he told Kenyans that he was worth Sh100 million in the year 2015,” Tuju said.

“In the intervening seven years. He has 'worked very hard' in his businesses and now, therefore, he has assets like choppers, hotels and land worth billions of shillings,” he said. 

Last week, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i said Ruto's 18,500 acres, two luxury hotels, five helicopters, a gas company and several homes are guarded by the police.

Tuju challenged Ruto to declare his tax compliance status—ridiculing his known philanthropy—as a man more 'generous' than Safaricom and other blue-chip companies. 

“We thank him [for saying he makes Sh1.5 million daily from chickens] because his generosity that adds up to millions at different churches and transport money paid to his many visitors at his Karen residence was not adding up,” he said.

Ruto has been hosting huge delegations at his Karen residence, presiding over fundraising in churches and ‘empowering’ youth and women's groups across the country. He gives out large amounts of cash, sometimes running into millions of shillings.

“The only thing left in his wonderful act of transparency is for him to show us the figures with respect to his very big payment to Kenya Revenue Authority,” Tuju stated.

“A great leader should lead from the front. We request that as a person who is also a good Bible-quoting born-again Christian, he will shame the devil and publicly give all Kenyans this information. Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what belongs to Him.”

Tuju issued the statement in the company of Jubilee’s top parliamentary leaders at a press conference at the party headquarters in Pangani, Nairobi.

He was joined by Senate Majority leader Samuel Poghisio, his National Assembly counterpart Amos Kimunya and their deputies Fatuma Dullo and Jimmy Angwenyi, respectively.

National Assembly Majority whip Emmanuel Wangwe, his deputy Maoka Maore and Jubilee coalition secretary Adan Keynan were also present.

The leaders assailed the DP as a dishonest, selfish, indecent and tribal leader who has been thriving on blackmail to achieve his ends. 

Tuju said Ruto possesses what he described as “political blackmail stock options” that he has exploited to extort from everyone, including his boss, the President.

"It is an open political secret that in the first term of this presidency, Deputy President Ruto possessed some political blackmail stock options that he used to his great personal advantage,” he said.

Tuju claimed Ruto would blackmail Uhuru, saying that if his demands were not met, he would withdraw his ethnic support for the President.

The 'blackmail' collapsed after the handshake in 2018, Tuju said.

“We believe our President has been very tolerant and has accommodated his past behaviour and demands as a statesman whose mission is to make Kenya viable by uniting the country,” the Jubilee statement adds.

The leaders claimed Ruto gave all top government jobs, including Cabinet slots, to his tribesmen.

This, they said, left Uhuru with the difficult job of getting jobs for all the other Kenyan communities. This claim was first raised by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka.

Despite their attacks, the Jubilee leaders did not say whether the party would initiate disciplinary action against the DP. They said they have left it [quitting Jubilee] to his conscience.

Ruto has formed and announced UDA as his 2022 presidential bid vehicle.

Kimunya said the DP has displayed an "indecent" character by refusing to resign and continuing to draw government benefits without providing services.

“For the person of the deputy party leader, who is also the deputy president, who took the Bible and swore to uphold the law and the Constitution, [this] is very unfortunate he is continuing living a lie.

“Promoting another party when living and deriving benefits from being a member of Jubilee, the decent thing would be, for a person who believes in decency, would have been to take the earliest opportunity and resign,” Kimunya said.

Wangwe accused the DP of often using "unpalatable" names to refer to leaders, calling the 'habit' indecent. He said it could incite the masses.

Dullo, for her part, attacked Ruto for ignoring government directives and policies banning large political gatherings to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tuju denied the remarks by the DP that he and vice chairman David Murathe ‘sold’ Jubilee to ODM. He said the decision to form a coalition with ODM was sanctioned by the party organs.

During his tour of the Mt Kenya region on Sunday, Ruto accused Tuju and Murathe of auctioning Jubilee to ODM. He held several stopovers from Nyeri to Githurai, attracting crowds. 

Ruto had also disputed some of the properties Matiang'i said he owned. He said he does not, for instance, own a 15,000-acre ranch, as the CS said.

He disclosed that he owns 400,000 shares of telecom giant Safaricom and 8,000 shares of Kenya Airways. The DP said he makes Sh1.5 million a day from his Koitalel poultry farm with 200,000 chickens.

“These people from the OP (Office of the President) have done a lifestyle audit on me even without the law and have improved on what was done by the media,” Ruto said at his residence days after Matiang'i publicly reported his properties. (Edited by V. Graham), By Julius Otieno, The Star