Last week, the Star Newspaper carried a top story detailing behind the scenes efforts by some of the country’s top clergy to reconcile erstwhile buddies turned nemeses President Uhuru Kenyatta and his principal secretary William Ruto
Though different nabobs angled to broker a truce, one of the most mentioned is National Assembly speaker Justin Muturi, now a Presidential candidate in his own right, and who in his recent travails across the country, alluding to the unsuccessful reconciliation efforts he undertook.
“I tried my best and did not succeed,” Muturi said in his Siakago home.
Although both President Kenyatta and Ruto have remained elusive over what really strained their relationship, it is understood they previously exchanged bitter text messages. Some of which have been read by their allies.
“From the messages that I was shown, the differences between the two are personal and very deep. It will take a miracle for them to be ironed out,” one source said. His opinion was reportedly echoed by others.
But a group of Uhuru allies laughed off the efforts, saying the clergy remained mum when Ruto laid siege to the President.
“Where were the bishops when the deputy terrorized the President in 2018-19 when we started the Kieleweke team to ease the onslaught?” asked Deputy Majority Whip Maoka Maore.
Albeit unverified, new street investigations have unearthed another angle seeking to unmask the cradle of the sour bromance between the leaders that once saw the media gush over them as the ‘dynamic- digital duo.’
According to a weekly tabloid, Citizen Weekly, the two went over a series of disagreements that finally culminated into their cold war that has been characterized by slights, snides, State humiliation, persecution of allies, and calls for resignation. Some of their woes are political and some, have to do to with economic matters-read- deals worth billions
Citizen Weekly reports that one such deal saw the two differ over the bank to be picked to roll out Safaricom’s multibillion program several months after the repeat elections.
According to insiders, both president Uhuru and Ruto suggested different banks roll out the Fuliza program which allows Mpesa users to acquire instant loans even if their balance is insufficient.
While William Ruto fronted the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) to roll out the program, President Uhuru and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi teamed up to front his family’s National Commercial Bank of Africa (NCBA) that eventually bagged the deal singlehandedly despite an earlier agreement that KCB would also be part and parcel of this program.
Worth noting is that the Mois and Kenyattas are joined at the hip even in matters business and the Moi family is one of the major shareholders at Safaricom.
Consequently, this raw deal saw William Ruto lose billions of money he would have pocketed as commissions if KCB was to be included in the Fuliza program.
Citizen Weekly further reported that William Ruto had been made to believe that he was part of the deal during the 2017 electioneering period. The deal would have seen Safaricom, Kenya Commercial Bank, and NCBA Bank introduce the payments interface on M-Pesa which allows customers pre-authorization of transactions for payments to be made later.
The sources further reveal that DP Ruto spared no energy and went all out, during the proverbial midnight oil to campaign for President Uhuru to be re-elected with the hope of bagging the billions of shillings from the deal to use in his 2022 presidential ambitions!
Insiders further say that the move annoyed the second in command so much and to make matters worse, president Uhuru in 2018 went for a handshake with Ruto’s political enemy Raila Odinga, further locking him out of the goodies.
This move alone had meant that William Ruto had successfully been denied billions of shillings that he would have added to his 2022 campaign cash.
With the handshake, Ruto was completely elbowed out of the Fuliza deal, and his efforts to have KCB roll out the project were thwarted since he was no longer at the “high table.”
So why exactly was the DP angling for KCB? Ostensibly, he was controlling the board of directors by then and he was very sure that he would benefit financially
“It is said, Ruto handlers had opened a bank account in Dubai where commissions from the fuliza deal would be deposited.” Quoted Citizen weekly.
Besides, Ruto is reported to have been very close with KCB CEO Joshua Oigara who acted as his private banker at some point, with insiders disclosing that Oigara had a rough time at some point after the exit of pro-Ruto sympathizers at the board of management.