It might seem to have come from nowhere the notice by Central Bank of Kenya that Sh1000 denomination notes bearing the image of presidents Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel Moi will be worthless paper the moment the minute hand clocks 12 midnight on September 30.
Ask William Ruto however and he will swear that he sees where the CBK announcement is coming from and declare it part of a sinister plot and that indeed, he is the target. Ruto, it is said, has been amassing a war chest to paint Kenya brown with Sh1000 bank notes and has already stashed a good amount as he waits for the whistle.
With the new CBK rule however, the DP who is not leaving anything to chance as he schemes to succeed Uhuru Kenyatta will have to return to the drafting board and work out a formula that will see the bank notes in his safes taken to the bank before the October 1 date or quickly converted into US dollars, British pounds or Chinese Yuans.
Given that it is believed that Ruto has tens of billions in Sh1000 notes bundles stacked somewhere, and considering that one can only bank a maximum of Sh1,000,000 per day or else explain where you got the money from and show proof of the transaction, it goes without saying that Ruto will not have time to bank all the billions. What a way to kill a cat!
It is said in some quarters that powerful forces out to stop Ruto ascending to power learnt to their awe and shock that Ruto was working on a Sh100 billion 2022 budget for his presidential campaigns, a big chunk of which he already has and is now merely looking for topup. Apart from running his presidential campaign, the money is to bankroll governors, senators, MPs and MCAs across the country running on his party ticket.
The money is to be raised through government tenders awarded to his family, reliable business associates and international links mainly of Chinese firms doing business in Kenya. Ruto is also befriending and doing business with Britons and Americans.
The DP raised a substantial amount of the money during the Jubilee government’s first term in office and is reportedly stashed in safe houses in Kenya, in offshore and local banks accounts.
It is part of the money the DP has been using to traverse the country to market his candidature by giving hefty donations in churches, schools and also bankrolling politicians in the Tanga Tanga squad that is setting pace for his 2022 campaigns.
The MPs in the Tanga Tanga squad are paid Sh200,000 for every visit they make to market Ruto. At one time, the DP’s personal assistant, Farouk Kibet, exchanged blows with Dagoretti MP John Kiarie over the handouts.
The DP is also using the kitty to oil hordes of delegations from across the country, including church leaders, visiting him at his Karen or Uasin Gishu homes. Since the 2017 elections, the deputy president has stepped up his charm offensive into regions hitherto controlled by the disintegrating opposition in what may signal early campaigns.
Even though he insists that it is all about development, the gusto with which Ruto is hosting delegations at his Karen residence reminds one of the Moi era, when endless delegations to Kabarak by politicians to pledge their loyalty was the order of the day. The delegates are paid a minimum of Sh10,000 whenever they visit Ruto. The DP knows that presidential campaigns are expensive and is raising the money to avoid being caught offguard.
A study by the Coalition for Accountable Political Financing estimated that in 2007, the two frontrunners – Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga – spent Sh7 billion of traceable amounts on their presidential campaigns.
The report further stated that in the 2013 general election, Raila and Uhuru spent over Sh10 billion and Sh20 billion respectively, but the amount was not inclusive of the financial support they gave to governors, senators, MPs and other candidates to make their coalition’s victory resounding.
In the 2017 polls, Uhuru spent over Sh30 billion on his two presidential bids while Raila spent over Sh10 billion before pulling out of the repeat presidential poll for lack of cash. Sources close to the DP say Ruto is eyeing to take control of 30 counties out of the 47 counties, and already his strategists are working on the aspirants who will be bankrolled for various seats.
To raise the Sh100 billion, insiders aver, Ruto has established a discreet secretariat based in Upper Hill, Nairobi, whose faces include Patrick Osero, Giles Fearn, CEO, Petredec, David Muge, his business proxy, and Mike Abbott (CFO, Petredec). Others in this team included Kibet and Isaac Maiyo.