Weston is the millstone around Ruto’s neck that will sink his grand ambitions
By Kipkoech Tanui
| February 15th 2019
You haughtily buy land. You harvest ‘bonga’ points from friends. You build another concrete edifice -- a stubborn tribute to power and money which have come your way in torrents.
This also adds to your deposits in the bank of power and influence. For in Kenya, there is a “positive” image in the confluence of power and money.
Then one day it is revealed the land was stolen. The timing of the disclosure is horrible.
It comes after the triumph at the ICC and two electoral victories. In your own words, the Presidency is as close as the nose is to the mouth.
The timing is also aggravated by several other facts: first, it comes when there is a new fad in town – the green Sanny earthmover flattening edifices on illegally-acquired land.
A hotel in Gigiri, a housing estate in Kayole, the Taj Mall -- that stubborn citadel of capitalistic conquest in Eastlands, and the South End Mall that sat on riparian land on Langa’ta Road and Ukay Centre have gone down. The focus now shifts to your concrete edifice.
Legacy versus friendship
There is also the feeling President Kenyatta has decided to bite the bullet and reclaim the remaining part of his legacy. In town, there are three new enforcers of order and discipline; the elevated Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, the head of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti, and the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji and the behind-the-scenes meticulous outfit, the Phillip Kameru-led National Intelligence Service.
Still, on the timing, familiar faces most likely outstanding on your phonebook, at the Kenya Pipeline, Kenya Power, Kebs and NCPB have been hounded out of office, given a taste of police cells and the cold wooden benches in court.
All around, you are battling claims that you either are corrupt, which is inevitably an unavoidable consequence of public scrutiny since you are aspiring to rule Kenyans or have a close affinity to those that are corrupt. Or that you simply are an unlucky person against whom the gods have conspired to give the nasty image of an insatiable "acquisitionist".
Then, amid a swirling storm, it turns out that it is discernable from the grievances of your allies there is trouble in the Jubilee paradise and they suspect it is your boss who is cunningly stoking some fires under your seat whilst giving you hi-fives when you happen to be around.
Of course according to the script, this is one delicate balance you have to maintain because antagonising him could burn the bridges you need to walk on into the Central Kenya vote basket come 2022.
Then out of the blue, focus shifts to the concrete tower you built on the main road to your palatial city residence. Your argument; just like a leaf off the Adrian Muteshi land files, is that you too were duped and are an innocent buyer. Whereas the properties of all the others are lying in ruins, you insist that for your case the ‘vendor’, Priority and Monene, should compensate Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Sh300 million that the National Land Commission recommended as compensation for forfeiture of the land.
Now, this is the catch. For the other minions, the properties were flattened. But for you, well, Weston Hotel has to stand on the 0.7ha piece of land while the vendor compensates KCAA at a higher value than that which he received from you as buying price.
As to whether it is fair to ask His Excellency William Ruto to allow the demolition of the hotel, the issue does not arise if precedent is to be followed.
But in a way, it does arise when we consider the fact that Dr Ruto has put his foot forward as that trusted hand who should be entrusted with running Kenya after President Kenyatta-- not so much as reciprocation for his support for him but on merit.
It is because of this that Dr Ruto’s conscience should be troubled by Weston Hotel affair, not so much because he thinks those irked by his hold on to it are jealous, but because he owes Kenyans the best example on what to do with an illegally-acquired property.
If he thinks he does not, then he has yanked the red carpet off President Kenyatta’s and Jubilee’s feet on the high moral ground from which the President has been breathing fire and brimstone against the corrupt.
Not that Ruto will let go of Weston.That he won’t for sure. That is not him. And neither will Kenyans stop hanging the millstone of Weston around his neck as he tries to swim across Kenya’s turbulent political sea where a zillion crocodiles lie in wait.
Mr Tanui is Deputy Editorial Director and Managing Editor, The Standard
Fight or flight for Dr. William Ruto there is no middle groundThe political landscape is getting muddy, murky, slippery and hazy for the open ambitions of Deputy President William.
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