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DP Ruto questions cancelled Uganda trip, says he had gone to see his friend Museveni

By Betty Njeru | August 4th 2021

DP William Ruto with Uganda President Yoweri Museveni at Mubende state lodge in Uganda when he paid him a courtesy call. [DPPS]

Deputy President William Ruto has defended his recently cancelled visit to Uganda, saying he was going to see President Yoweri Museveni, whom he considers a friend.

Ruto and his allies were on Monday evening blocked at the Wilson airport from travelling to Uganda. His Communication Secretary David Mugonyi said the DP and his team were advised to seek clearance from the Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Joseph Kinyua.

But in an interview on Inooro TV Wednesday morning, Ruto fiercely defended his position saying he never needed to seek clearance from anyone for either State or personal visits in the nine years he has been Kenya’s deputy president.

“Museveni is my friend and a friend of Kenya too. I am entitled to rights as a person. I am not a fool to leave without knowing what’s needed. Am I not allowed to have friends?” he posed.

The DP, who had visited the East African country early last month also condemned those involved in the cancellation of his trip, terming it foolish and selfish.

“Kuna ujinga, upambavu ambayo inaingia watu maanake hawataki kuuliza nini kimenipeleka huko. (You see the DP and his allies on a trip and want to jump into conclusions…),” he lamented.

Ruto said his early July visit to Uganda was an avenue to build partnerships with other African countries in a bid to steer the continent towards the restructuring of its market to focus more on upstream production.

“Museveni spoke about how he revived Uganda’s food security through a wealth fund. I had gone to look at how this model works. How can we help the person at the bottom, the same way Uganda has succeeded in providing surplus? Makosa iko wapi nikienda kuuliza msaada?” the DP asked.

The DP has not shied away from making constant visits outside the country to tend to private business.

He has made three private visits to Kampala this year and Monday’s planned three-day trip to the neighbouring country would have been his second within a month.

He had recently travelled to Uganda where he was invited as Museveni’s chief guest during the official laying of the foundation stone for a vaccine manufacturing facility last month, but it was the private meetings thereafter that had senior government officials on high alert.

After his visit, Ruto then went to Zanzibar for a retreat with close allies.

In January 2020, Ruto flew to South Sudan, reportedly on private business, to visit a chicken farm in Khartoum.

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