There is rising concern over allegations that William Ruto owns an expansive 500,000 acres of land in Congo where he is said to be planting maize for export to Kenya.
Questions have also arisen as to whether the DP’s chopper was allegedly used to smuggle gold from Democratic Republic of Congo valued at a staggering Sh14 billion into the country.
These are some of the disturbing questions after three Kalenjin MPs made startling revelations that the DP owns 500,000 acres of land in Congo where he is planting maize to export to Kenya as local farmers go without pay for months.
The MPs, Joshua Kutunny of Cherangany, Alfred Keter, Nandi Hills and Silas Tiren, Moiben claimed Ruto has been encouraging local farmers to substitute maize farming with avocado and macadamia so as to create a maize shortage for him to ship in the product from his vast farm in Congo.
The legislators made the revelations after word hit political circles to the effect that the DP’s chopper was used to smuggle up to 5 tonnes of gold out of Congo into Kenya. The gold was reportedly worth a gigantic Sh14 billion.
Your favourite Weekly Citizen has through its intelligence systems established that the said gold smuggled was a creation of a section fully involved in Uhuru Kenyatta succession game but opposed to Ruto in the gameplan to succeed to Uhuru come 2022.
Back to the Congo land claims, the rebel Jubilee lawmakers claimed Ruto was positioning himself to be the principal maize supplier to the scandal-ridden National Cereals and Produce Board by discouraging the region from maize farming.
Their revelations came in the wake of an official tour the DP made to the Republic of Congo in early September.
The DP travelled alongside Mining and Petroleum cabinet secretary John Munyes, governors Kahiga Mutahi, Nyeri, Granton Samboja, TaitaTaveta and Trade principal secretary Chris Kiptoo.
On arrival at the Maya-Maya International Airport in Brazzaville, Ruto was received by Congolese Prime Minister Clement Mouamba.
But the Kalenjin rebel MPs claimed Ruto used the trip to visit his Congo farm. It was Keter who claimed Ruto had gone to Congo where he is growing maize on 500,000 acres of land. The move by the MPs to link Ruto in Congo land saga cannot be taken lightly.
Sources say that of late, the DP has been investing heavily in land properties in areas such as TaitaTaveta in Mombasa county, Trans Nzoia and Nairobi counties. In TaitaTaveta, Ruto is said to have bought an enormous piece of land that he plans to do an irrigation project.
The land which was a former sisal estate was recently fenced off. Apart from Ruto, Kirinyaga governor Anne Waiguru also owns land that neighbours Ruto’s. In Trans Nzoia, the DP is said to have bought land from former permanent secretary in the Moi era, one Samson Akute, and that of the late secretary to the cabinet Joseph Leting.
In Mombasa, Ruto acquired land that hosts Dolphin Hotel. Recently, while in Mombasa, Uhuru when launching Kenya Maritine Force, gave orders to reclaim maritime sites that have been grabbed.
Sources say that Ruto’s Dolphin Hotel that is under construction has encroached on public maritime sites which the lae prohibitss.
In Nairobi, the DP’s Weston Hotel is battling the ownership of land that it stands on which is claimed to be a public utility land. The DP is also said to have acquired gold rich land in Migori, hence, his close relationship with governor the embattled and besieged Governor Okoth Obando.
One of the MPs behind the Congo land puzzle was bold and said it is true the DP like any other prominent Kenyan political family, has decided to invest outside the country. He said that if the DP is offended with their remarks he can sue them for damages.
In fact, he revealed that apart from the land being fertile for agriculture, it is also believed to have huge mineral deposits. To the MP, the land cost the DP a monstrous Sh1.2 billion.
On his part, Kutunny asked the ministry of Foreign Affairs to come clean on the deals he claimed Ruto had signed with the Dennis Nguesso government. Kutunny said it was during this tour that Ruto sealed his maize deal.
“Part of his mission to Congo recently was to sign the deal to start maize farming there. He wants local farmers to do avocado to occasion a maize shortage in the country so that his maize from Brazzaville can get its way to the local market,” he stated.
The three Kalenjin legislators asked the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji to crack the whip on the country’s second in command and influential officers at Harambee House Annex.
The disgruntled legislators also linked the DP to cartels frustrating maize farmers and alleged that the DP has interest in maize farming in the country.
Their concerns were echoed by Kenya Farmers Association director Kipkorir Menjo, who stated: “Those coming here to tell us we should plant avocados and cabbages should be investigated to let us know what changed. They are playing games that are hurting our people”.
Kutuny led the team in dismissing Ruto’s 2022 bid, challenging him to first focus on addressing issues facing Kenyans.
They also took issue with Ruto’s frequent visits across the country where he donates handsome cash during fundraisers, declaring that Kenyans have no interest in numerous harambees by the DP while farmers and poor Kenyans are suffering.
The MPs spoke in Eldoret shortly after attending a meeting with the disgruntled and agitated farmers.
But Kapseret MP Sudi dismissed claims by the rebel Jubilee lawmakers, terming their assertions as sideshows aimed at tainting Ruto’s name after he declared interest to run for the presidency in 2022.
Before he departed Kenya, Ruto, the reports claimed, ignored security advice to take a fixed wing aircraft as he was going to overfly swathes of Congo forest which are controlled by antigovernment rebels.
The reports claimed in Nairobi that despite demands from Congolese sleuths, the chopper in question was promptly hidden under the pretext that it flew out of Kenya for routine service in South Africa after dropping off its VIP passenger.
The explanation incensed the Congolese whose senior government officials had made contact with Kenya’s Foreign Affairs ministry demanding to inspect the helicopter.
Desperate to keep the story under wraps, People Daily, owned partly by the DP, published reports claiming Kenyan police had launched investigations into alleged smuggled gold.
But according to one of the rebel Kalenjin MPs, some dealers where embedded in DP’s delegation and decided to use his chopper for smuggling.
Other sources said the DP has thirst for land. They averred that Ruto has acquired land in the mineral-rich Kishushe area in Wundanyi in TaitaTaveta county and the parcel of land has since been fenced off.
The DP has now joined prominent families that own land in TaitaTaveta who include the Kenyatta Family with 24,000 acres adjacent to the 74,000 acres owned by former Taveta MP Basil Criticos while Beth Mugo, nominated senator and Uhuru’s kin, owns 50,000 acres.
The DP was in Migori recently where he donated Sh600,000 to help two widows from Nyatike constituency buy parcels of land.
He was on a tour at Osiri gold mines, where he has bought land during the launch of last mile electricity connectivity project that will cost Sh50 million for the constituency.
Insiders say Ruto is amassing a war kitty ahead of the 2022 polls to tame those on his way to the presidency. The DP has considerable interests in the hotel industry and is the major shareholder in the Africa Merchant Assurance Company, Amaco. However, Amaco is experiencing financial challenges.
Ruto also owns the Easton Apartments in Eastlands, flats in Ongata Rongai, a palatial home in Eldoret and land countrywide.
His wealth include a fleet of cars worth millions of shillings, choppers worth Sh1.2 billion; a new residence in Uasin Gishu estimated to be worth Sh1.2 billion and hotels in Mombasa and Mara worth Sh3 billion.
It was Raila who triggered the debate when he challenged the DP to explain how he acquired more than 2,000 hectares of land in Narok that belonged to the family of Kenya’s second vice-president, the late Joseph Murumbi. Then ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi followed suit in asking the DP’s source of his wealth.
Addressing a rally at Naroosura market in Narok West constituency, Raila claimed Ruto was abetting corruption and should explain how he acquired the 2,700 hectares tract of land near Lolgorian.
A group of 99 members of the Moitanik clan also laid claim to the land, and a court judgment ruled that the resource be divided between Agricultural Finance Corporation and the community.
As there was default in repayment, AFC was prompted to demand settlement of the outstanding amount.
When that failed, AFC through Dawning Agencies and Auctioneers advertised the property for sale by public auction and the land was allegedly bought by the DP.
The DP with former Lugari legislator Cyrus Jirongo was also linked to ownership of disputed land in Ruai. Former Nairobi county assembly majority leader Elias Otieno claimed Ruto and Jirongo were among the beneficiaries of about 5,319.9 hectares of land in Ruai.
In 2014, Ruto was ordered to pay Sh5 million to a postelection violence victim for illegally occupying his land.
Adrian Gilbert Muteshi had accused Ruto of hatching up a plot to grab his 100-acre farm in Uasin Gishu during the 2008 post-election violence when Muteshi had fled for safety.
The High Court in Nairobi ruled that Muteshi had proved that the property was his and that he had been deprived of it by the DP.
Ruto had stated that he was an unsuspecting buyer who heard that some land was being sold and conducted due diligence before purchasing the land from people he believed were the owners of the property only to be duped.