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Kikuyu elders in vicious fight over Sh8 million Ruto handout

By Vivianne Wandera | January 7th 2020

A row has emerged over millions dished out to a delegation of Kikuyu leaders that visited Deputy President William Ruto’s Sugoi home last month.

It is alleged the DP gave out Sh8 million to reimburse transport costs for the over 4,000 Kikuyu leaders from the Rift Valley who attended the December 19 meeting meant to foster peace among communities living in the region ahead of 2022 elections. 

The delegation was led by Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri, who is the chairman of the Kikuyu community living in Rift Valley, and his vice chair Joseph Wainaina.

But one of those who was privy to the finances accused the organisers of only sharing out less than Sh1 million and keeping the rest.

He claimed each of the 4,770 people who attended the meeting was to be given an allowance. Some people had fund-raised money for transport logistics and the DP reportedly topped up this amount.

“While planning for the meeting, different people contributed money to help in the transportation of people from different areas of Rift Valley to Sugoi. I personally contributed about Sh30,000 and I know other people who contributed the same amount or more towards the transport costs,” said the official who played a key role in planning the event.

“When we got to the deputy president’s home, he gave us Sh8 million as a refund for the transport money we had spent. He just wanted to appreciate everyone who attended the meeting and didn’t want anyone to leave empty handed,” he further claimed.  

The official explained drivers of the more than 100 vehicles that ferried people to the event were each given between Sh1,000 and Sh1,500. About 40 vehicles had been donated by a leading shuttle service and they were fully fuelled by the transport company.

“When you do the maths, you will find that only about Sh150,000 was spent on refunding people their transport money and some of the representatives were paid up to Sh50,000 on the side to keep their people in the dark. The rest of the people left empty handed. The money was divided according to wards and many people can attest to the fact that they did not receive anything,” said the official.

Paul Kinyanjui, organising secretary of Gema, also acknowledged the money issue has caused a lot of problems among the Rift Valley leaders.  

“The fact that the trusted leaders did such a thing is shameful and annoying and most embarrassing since these are the people who have put themselves around the deputy president for one reason or another and they lied to him about this money. The elders called a meeting after realising what had happened and they decided to strip them of their leadership positions, which they gave themselves because there was no official routine followed in their election. That is how bad the situation is,” Kinyanjui claimed.

However, when contacted by The Standard, Wainaina dismissed claims that he had kept any money.

It was claimed he had acquired a brand new car, which he reportedly bought about a week after the Sugoi meeting.  

Wainaina, who is also a prominent businessman in Eldoret town, said the lies were being peddled by his enemies to tarnish his good image. 

“These are just plots by people to ruin my name. I did not steal any money. The deputy president gave us Sh8 million. I cannot deny that, as he said it in front of everyone. As the vice chair, the duty of distributing the money was not on me. Most of the money went to refunding people their transport money. I personally contributed Sh500,000 towards the transport needs, Senator gave over 20 buses, MP Kimani Ngunjiri gave about Sh1 million for the transport needs of the people from his constituency and North Rift Shuttle company gave us 30 vehicles,” Wainaina said.

Official responds

“This Sh8 million was distributed equally among everyone and we gave everyone who attended about Sh1,600 and others got Sh1,500. I am not one to be scared. Anyone who thinks they can scare me with such claims should come out clearly and face me. They should call me. In fact, you should find out their identities and tell me so that I can sue them immediately. I will have my lawyer contact them immediately. I am not scared of being on any newspaper and I am not scared of anyone,” Wainaina said.

Sources said the meeting ended at around 8pm and people were promised they would receive their money via Mpesa, but only a few specific people got the money. The rest are still waiting to date.

Ngunjiri and David Mugonyi, the DP’s spokesman, did not respond to our calls and text messages on the matter.

At the meeting, Ruto declared that he was ready to stand down from the 2022 presidential race if his candidacy would spark chaos.

The DP said he would not want any Kenyan to die because they were backing his political ambition to become the country’s fifth president.

He stressed his commitment to pursuing peace among communities to ensure the country never slides back into anarchy because of elections, as it happened in December 2007.

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