Even as lawmakers allied to William Ruto ask police boss Hillary Mutyambai to beef up Ruto’s security over fears of an assassination attempt, details are emerging of how the second in command has hired highly trained and experienced ex-military, police and intelligence officers to up his security.The DP has also set up a parallel security network that is keeping him updated on all the developments across the country. Last week, over 100 lawmakers wrote to Mutyambai claiming the deputy president’s life is in danger, citing six instances where his events were not given adequate security.
They claimed there was a squad targeting Ruto and his allies but their assertions were dismissed by police spokesman Charles Owino who said the DP has three levels of security – G-Company, the Presidential Escort and the elite Recce Company – that guard him round the clock.But insiders revealed that Ruto has taken the threats on his life seriously and hence, enlisted a private security detail from outside the Recce Company of the General Service Unit. His move has caught security bosses off-guard and they are now unable to trail him and only learn of his planned events when his team reveals them. Ruto’s move to use his private security team has further been necessitated by the current poor relationship with president Uhuru Kenyatta.
Insiders revealed that the new squad hired by Ruto comprises Israel- trained former military, police and intelligence officers most of whom served under late president Daniel Arap Moi and his predecessor Mwai Kibaki.The new officers have now taken charge of the deputy president’s security. Majority of those enlisted had retired and formed private security companies only to be accommodated by Ruto men in charge of his security. The new squad also has a secret code of communication as witnessed in Burma Market in Nairobi when Ruto used the code to order them to evacuate him after some in the crowd started heckling him by chanting “tunataka BBI, hatutaki Ruto”.
Insiders added that the new squad is drawing all security arrangements in DP’s functions and has reportedly advised him to avoid using his Harambee House Annex offices for fear the offices are bugged. According to sources, Ruto has never set foot at Harambee House Annex after they were designated crime scene following former Sports cabinet secretary Rashid Echesa’s infamous fake guns scandal. The threats on Ruto’s life were brought to the public limelight by his chief blogger, Dennis Itumbi, who claimed senior government officials had met at a hotel to plot how to assassinate him but the state dismissed the claims.
Ruto insiders added that suspect he was the target in a raid at his Sugoi home in Uasin Gishu county ahead of the 2017 elections which left a GSU officer injured. Insiders revealed that after the raid, Ruto security advisers worked out a plan of ensuring they were privy to everything that was going in the country if they were keen on him becoming president in 2022. The security operatives then came up with a plan to register numerous private security companies with operations across the country some enjoying contracts from strategic public and private installations.
To this end, Ruto security runs a parallel intelligence gathering network. The DP had even planted spies at Uhuru’s State House. Ruto is even said to have sympathisers in the government security system who leak to him classified information. Insiders added that the DP is countering the deep state which he believes is out to stop his presidential bid by having him prosecuted. Of concern to him is the murder of Sergeant Kipyegon Kenei who was attached to his office. The stern-faced guards have now taken charge of Ruto’s personal security and are not taking chances even in churches or when the DP is socialising with his children.
The deputy president’s top security team has also ordered his staff, both domestic and office, to cooperate with the new squad which he fully trusts. Insiders added that it was this squad that organised Ruto’s secret trip to Kisumu at night to attend a wedding which caught government officials in the lakeside city off-guard, though he spent over eight hours in the invite-only wedding. The DP had travelled to Kisumu with his wife Rachael without his motorcade to attend the wedding of an Asian family. To conceal his identity, Ruto was driven to the event in a Toyota Land Cruiser V8 belonging to one of the local businessmen through Kakamega-Kisumu road via Kondele.
Insiders added that the deputy president has now decided to throw caution to the wind and directly face off the deep state and this is why he has rolled out elaborate security measures including buying bulletproof vehicles, vests and a helicopter that flies at night as he ramps up his security to deter any plot against his personal safety. The members are using their connections to collect intelligence on political developments to help Ruto consolidate his position to win the coming 2022 presidential election. Ruto’s feelings about the deep state were evident when he lashed at it for persecuting him and planning how to rig the 2022 presidential race. He started reading mischief when his personal pilot Captain Mario Magonga was killed in a chopper crash in Lake Turkana in Turkana county.
Captain Magonga died with all the four Americans he was flying after their helicopter came down near Lobolo in Central Island National Park at 8pm. The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority said the Bell 505, registration SYKDL, crashed soon after takeoff as it was taking the two American tourists to the Central Island. To date, details of what caused the accident have not been made public although the KCAA undertook investigations. Captain Magonga, a former Kenya Defence Forces pilot, hailed from Nyamataro, Kitutu Chache South, Kisii county. He was a Chief Pilot, (ATP) and a qualified helicopter instructor trained in the Kenya Defence Forces. Immediately after his death, Ruto acquired a special Airbus H145 chopper registration number 5Y DSC, fitted with special features that include being able to land at night and fly and land even after experiencing a screen display failure.
According to Aerospace Technology, the H145 helicopter is a twin-engine multipurpose aircraft manufactured by Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters). The cost of a used Airbus H145 is Sh730 million but a new one would see one part with Sh1 billion, coupled with an average maintenance cost of Sh52 million per year. The helicopter is reported to have the option to accommodate one pilot and 10 passengers, or two pilots and nine passengers at any one time. Being a multipurpose helicopter, it can be used for air rescue services, law enforcement, private use and civil missions.
Last year, Ruto was able to land in Kapenguria, West Pokot hours after a military chopper carrying Interior cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i and his Devolution counterpart Eugene Wamalwa was forced to land in Eldoret due to bad weather.
Insiders added that besides hiring the new squad, Ruto has also purchased a fleet of bullet proof four-drive vehicles as part of the precautionary measures. Among the vehicles is Toyota Land Cruiser 200 series popularly referred to as the Toyota V8. DP Ruto has used this vehicle on countless tours across the country. Weighing an estimated 2.7 tonnes, the gigantic car boasts of enviable off-road capability thanks to its 4.5-litre V8 engine. Costing an estimated Sh14 million for the 2018/2019 and 2020 models, DP Ruto has been spotted not only comfortably cruising on the back-left but also behind the wheel driving himself. Of late, the DP has acquired a fleet of 2018 Lexus LX450d that have been priced at Sh15 million. Standard equipment includes 20-inch alloy wheels, tyre-pressure monitoring, LED headlights with LED daytime-running lights, sequential indicators, surround camera system, adaptive variable suspension, leather-accented interior and four-zone climate control.
The cars are bullet-proof. In his entourage, there are top of the range Mercedes Benz cars with leather seats and a sunroof, 1800cc litre petrol engine, features include a half-leather interior, cruise control, keyless-go, Eco start/stop function, AMG styling package – front spoiler, side skirt, parking guidance, electrically adjustable left driver seat with memory, automatically dimming interior and exterior mirror, rain sensor, tire pressure loss warner and bullet proof. That Ruto security team only takes orders from his own men that saw them dispatched to rescue Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi from his rural home, which had been surrounded by the police. Fully armed, one of the arrested officers, Simon Siengo had a Ceska pistol with two magazines of 15 rounds of ammunition. Isaac Dida had a Jericho pistol with a magazine of 15 rounds of ammunition while CI Ekiru, the third guard fled. A magazine of 30 rounds was found inside a car used by the officers to Sudi’s home. They had arrived in a black Toyota Prado registration No KBU 893V. They also had another motor vehicle registration no KBR 257S, a Toyota Allion where a Ceska pistol with a magazine of 11 rounds was found. Weekly Citizen could not establish if it is true, that the current state operations in Kapedo, Baringo county, and investigations surrounding former Nairobi governor Mike Mbuvi on terrorism, are linked to Uhuru succession.