Interior CS Fred Matiang’i faces MPs today over DP William Ruto's security

Deputy President William Ruto welcoming the new security team to his official residence in Karen, Nairobi on August 30, 2021. [Sarafina Kaiyongi/DPPS, Standard]

Showdown looms in the National Assembly today as MPs question Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangí and top security bosses over changes in the Deputy President William Ruto’s security detail.

The National Security and Administration Committee chairperson Peter Mwathi (Limuru) yesterday said should they establish a breach of the law, they will recommend to have the elite team reinstated.

He said the committee picked up the matter following public uproar and complaints by the office of the DP.

“We want him to tell us what is happening because there was outcry after the officers were replaced. We also want him to brief the committee on the general status of security,” said Mr Mwathi.

“The committee is concerned that the law has to be followed in provision of security, not just to him (DP) but also to the public. We will make a recommendation to the House once we establish facts around the matter,” he added.

But Ruto downplayed the summons, and asked lawmakers to instead address insecurity concerns across the country including cattle rustling.

Already, Gusii MPs have taken issue with the summons to Dr Matiang’i, claiming it is a deliberate scheme to besmirch his character.

The lawmakers Ben Momanyi (Borabu), Jerusha Momanyi (Nyamira Woman Rep), Jimmy Angwenyi (Kitutu Chache), Richard Onyonka (Kitutu Chache South), Samuel Arama (Nakuru Town West) and Ezekiel Mochogu (Nyaribari Masaba) claimed Ruto and his allies have sustained attacks against the CS for political reasons.

“We would like Kenyans to know that there has been a deliberate attempt by the Deputy President and his UDA team to discredit, character assassinate, and diminish the public service record and performance of CS Matiang’i, whose performance is well known,” Momanyi read the statement.

The MPs told the Tangatanga wing they will not entertain further attacks.

“We are therefore making a request to the DP and surrogates to respect all our leaders. We demand this reciprocity. The Gusii community always plays mature politics based on common decency,” it added.

They said the National Police Service through the Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai has already explained the reassignment of duties.

The CS is expected to explain the replacement of the elite General Service Unit (GSU) officers guarding Ruto’s official and private residences with Administration Police officers (APs).

Mr Mutyambai last week clarified that the Presidential Escort Unit (PEU) guarding the DP and family remains intact.

Ruot yesterday asked MPs to prioritise more important issues like insecurity in areas prone to cattle rustling and banditry.

He said those who think replacing GSU officers with APs was a downgrade of his security were wrong.

“The Deputy President is not more important than the ordinary citizen. We are all equal before the law. The security of people being harassed and terrorised by bandits is as important as that of any citizen, including the Deputy President. We should not waste time discussing one thing when we have a myriad challenges,” said Ruto when he hosting traders from Dagoretti North.

“Parliamentary time should not be wasted on non-issues. Parliament should instead focus on deployment to serious security situations in areas where bandits are causing mayhem and destruction.” 

This position, however, contradicts the earlier protest by his office, demanding an explanation why the elite officers had been withdrawn.

The official statement by his spokesperson David Mugonya last week had claimed the replacement was the latest installment in a sustained effort to undermine the DP’s personal security in pursuit of political vendetta.

The DP’s Chief of Staff Ken Osinde also penned a protest letter to Mutyambai questioning what informed the decision, and cautioned that this move might expose Ruto to harm.

The changes also affected four prison officers serving as drivers and offering others services.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei is also pushing for a Special Sitting by the Senate to have Matiang’i explain the move. 

Yesterday, Cherargei said he has secured 17 signatures, more than the 14 provided for in the Standing Orders, and shared with the Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio and his Minority counterpart James Orengo for submission to Speaker Ken Lusaka.