As Kenyans train their focus on the shocking details of ’23 minutes con game’ at the Harambee Annex Office, which hosts the office of the Deputy President, they may have missed the main point.
Apparently, Ruto is no ordinary DP; Ruto is ‘obsessed’ with taking over power from President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022, and he is preparing to violently subdue his critics if elected Kenya’s fifth President.
Former CS Rashid Echesa was not procuring the equipment for the Government, but for DP Ruto in preparation of the 2022 succession matrix.
Ruto’s trip to South Sudan recently has been unmasked too; he is assembling and preparing an opposition army that will unleash terror on those who will oppose him.
The equipment in question has been rated as highly sophisticated and dangerous by security analysts.
Not only would they be able to conduct a vast network of digital and physical espionage, but they would also be able to filter, collect, and analyze staggering volumes of data flowing across the internet, and includes an advanced algorithmic surveillance system with facial and voice recognition.
In the wrong hands, such a system could be used to remotely alter government records, manipulate electioneering, exploit electronic banking, adjust tax records or conduct sabotage of untold proportions.
Such deals are usually done at high-level government to government contracting and not with civilians merely providing in-country logistical support.
Unknown to Echesa and his co-accused, they have been on the radar of Kenyan and US authorities for several months.
The American Federal Bureau of Investigation agents based in Nairobi were reportedly keenly following the case which has led to suspicion that the equipment, highly advanced integrated communication and security surveillance arsenal, which includes unmanned aerial vehicles, was intended to eavesdrop on the regional intelligence community.
Other sources intimated that Echesa, who is widely believed to be the front of DP Ruto, was using Kenya as a conduit for brokering illicit arms to aid themselves and facilitate groups that are planning to execute a coup d’état in 2022 should Ruto fail to win the presidency.
The case drew specific interest following confirmed reports of Kenyan officials engaging in cross border contraband trading and illicit arms transfer especially between lawless Somalia and Southern Sudan.
Echesa’s case is reminiscent of another similar one in September 2008 when a band of Somali pirates made a shocking discovery inside a Ukrainian ship they had just hijacked in the Gulf of Aden. The MV Faina was found packed with sophisticated weapons, including 32 Soviet-era battle tanks.
According to several secret US State Department cables made public by WikiLeaks, the tanks were not only headed to Southern Sudan, then under UN sanctions, but they were also the latest instalment of several underground arms shipments made by unscrupulous Kenyan businessmen.
By the time the freighter was seized by the pirates, up to 67 T-72 tanks and an unknown number of rocket launchers had already been delivered to Juba to bolster Southern Sudan’s armed forces against the government in Khartoum, then an international pariah for its human rights abuses in Darfur.
A source at Ulinzi House (KDF Headquarters) reported that the documentation seized by sleuths in Echesa’s car were not issued by the KDF, a development which has raised serious questions touching on national and regional security.
Surveillance equipment and hi-tech gear used by private investigators
Echesa with executives of Eco Advanced Technologies LLC in Warsaw, Poland Photo/Courtesy
In a statement on Monday, the State Department for Defense explicitly denied the existence of such a deal and said none of its officers had met nor negotiated with Echesa or officials of Eco Advanced Technologies.
On his part, a spokesman for DP Ruto was at pains to disassociate the Office of the Deputy President from Echesa. All evidence suggests that Ruto knew about the deal.
Officers from the Kenyan National Intelligence Service were understandably gathering more information on Echesa, including examining evidence that Echesa was used by persons not before the court to procure equipment for building a parallel intelligence system in order to circumvent State surveillance.
Investigators believe Echesa is a puppet in a major arms-dealing, extortion and money laundering transnational organised crime cartel which could be operating in several countries in the region.
Echesa has in past been implicated in a human trafficking case.
Is the Star Newspaper an Al Shabaab operative? Where do they get their intel? That is the question Kenyans are asking. As a Kenyan, it is appalling to see the Star Newspaper promote such derogatory remarks that clearly project a pro Al Shabaab media house meant to glorify the Al Shabaab and other terrorist groups while demeaning the country’s military fight against such coward extremist groups. It might not have been written in bold but this has evoked great anger among Kenyans towards the creators of such unworthy headlines.
Any form of media cannot and should not be overlooked as they have a direct effect on audiences and they build perception through the news and information disseminated. Hence, in this day and age, almost every, if not all military installations throughout the world, has a media strategy that enables them to psychologically tame their enemies. Countries have done this and, in some instances, have averted impending war. From the Cold War to the September 11 Terrorist attack, the media has proved to be a useful tool in wars and the fight against terrorism among other forms of conflict.
However, coming back home, our own local newspaper, The Star seems to be reading from a different script. With their Friday 24th 2020 headline reading ‘KDF BLEW UP EL ADDE CAMP, KILLING 147 OWN SOLDIERS’, a lot comes into question over their objective or end-game in what they are propagating as a media house. This headline out-rightly glorifies the mission of the Al Shabaab and empowers the terrorist group as an overbearing victorious group which is not the case. Questions must be asked on the ‘status’ of the Star Newspaper team from the writers and reporters, up to the sub-editors and editors.
Are there Al Shabaab sympathisers within the Star fraternity or are there operatives of the terrorist group? Is someone being paid to drive the group’s agenda? Do they want to plunge the country into a state of fear that would ensure businesses and other operations slow down or come to a halt as a result of instigated fear?
This is what terrorism thrives on and the Star newspaper has been continually fueling terrorist operations affecting Kenya through the dissemination of sensationalized media coverage of Al Shabaab attacks that are stabbing the country’s achievements towards the fight against terrorism.
To bring this into perspective, the Dusit Attack is a perfect example of how some media houses portrayed the country as triumphant, which in effect worked against the agenda of the Al Shabaab who were ultimately defeated. ‘Kenya unbowed’ by People Daily and ‘Terror in the city’ for the Star Newspaper are two extremely different headlines evoking a feeling of victory for the former and fear for the latter. However, both were explaining the same situation; the Dusit Attack.
This has been the nature of the Star Newspaper covertly furthering the agenda of the Al-Shabaab. Some of their insensitive headlines portraying the Kenya Defence Forces include ‘One more body, arms recovered after attack on KDF-US base in Lamu; KDF accused of torturing man over alleged Al-Shabaab link; Cowardly Acts? US army criticizes KDF action during Manda Bay attack, El-Adde; How 147 soldiers met their death in Somalia; Near death experience for KDF soldiers; Killing, parading of KDF soldiers in Kismayo was lowest moment – Brigadier. This is how the Star Newspaper is promoting and propagating the Al-Shabaab agenda.
This issue must be investigated and firmly dealt with to avert such scenarios. The country has no room for any terrorist activities neither does it have room for Al Shabaab sympathizers.
The ongoing sustained war against counterfeits, contraband and illicit trade in the country by President Uhuru Kenyatta is not about to end.
One thing is clear, contraband goods getting through the border are the main cause of terrorism in Northern Kenya.
Contraband goods that include milk, cooking oil, rice, sugar and other products that are still getting into the country despite the fact that the Kenya-Somali border remains closed is not only killing our local industries but funding terrorism in the North Eastern region.
Hundreds of lorries cross the border every night with contraband goods, which end up in our homes after being repackaged in Nyamakima. The trend to ferry such huge consignments conspicuously through Somalia without terror incidents and make it across the border implies that they are financing terrorism.
The contraband supply chain is also used as the conduit for smuggling small arms and light weapons into the country, which are feeding into urban crimes and cattle rustling menace.
Some powerful politicians behind these economic sabotages are legislating and networking in parliament and influencing policies in government, thereby rendering counter-terrorism efforts impotent and holding our national security hostage.
The President said during a recent destruction of illegal goods that he will neither be scared, threatened or side-tracked in his current determination to rid the country of corruption and economic crimes.
He also warned that no corrupt individual will be spared irrespective of their real or perceived seniority in society.
“All corrupt individuals will go to jail without compromise. But due process of the law will be followed so that those who think they have been wrongly accused can demonstrate their innocence and be vindicated,” said the Head of State.
It is the worst form of economic sabotage driven by the Al-Shabaab and their local sympathizers. It is responsible for killing local economies and rendering our young people jobless and denying the country much needed revenue.
Our farmers are broke and our industries are struggling to stay afloat. It is also frustrating the attainment of vision 2030 and the achievement of the Big 4 agenda.
In 1996, William Samoei Ruto was a struggling 30-year-old.
Then somebody took him to State House one afternoon in 1997 and by the time he went back home that evening, he had eight prime plots worth over Shs 50 million. He has never looked back and is today worth hundreds of billions.
For the ambitious and conniving WSR, the big break in the world of big money and mega deals must have come on Wednesday, December 3, 1997, just 18 days after celebrating his 31st birthday.
This particular Wednesday must hold special significance to Ruto for it is the day he accomplished the hitherto impossible feat of getting himself allocated close to a dozen prime plots in Nairobi; all part of a single day’s work.
These plots were to become the financial launching pad for the ambitious but humbly-bred young man from Eldoret. He may not be wealthy in the leagues of competitors such as Raila Odinga, Mwai Kibaki or Musalia Mudavadi, but he is certainly not a poor man even when compared with the other lot of well to do politicians such as Kalonzo Musyoka, William Kabogo and Governor Sonko.
Ruto is a man whose wealth could be in the region of a hundred billion-plus, quite a herculean feat for someone who started life with nothing but a burning ambition to succeed ‘no matter what, at whatever the cost’.
DP Ruto with Jirongo at a past event Photo/Courtesy
There are two particular people who played the crucial determining role in showing the then inexperienced Ruto which side was up and which was down in the world of mega-deals – former President Daniel Arap Moi and former Cabinet Minister Cyrus Jirongo.
Jirongo’s role in the education of Ruto started when the two teamed up in 1992 to create the infamous Kanu youth lobby group YK ’92. Jirongo, as chairman of the then high-powered and one of the few outfits that were willing to publicly stick their necks out for Moi’s re-election, had unlimited access to President Moi and enjoyed a place of honour at the high table.
Ruto, on the other hand, was a junior official in the outfit with little money and no high-level contacts of the kind Jirongo could marshal with a few phone calls.
But Ruto had something that Jirongo did not have. He had the patience, stealth, surreptitiousness and tenacity of a stalking leopard. Using Jirongo’s good rapport with President Moi, Ruto was able to use the lobby group’s meetings with the President to worm his way to the Head of State and to key Statehouse operatives of the time, such as former presidential aide, Joshua Kulei.
Former President Moi’s aide Joshua Kulei. Kulei owns, among others, Trade World Kenya, CFC Bank, CMC Holdings, Sian roses and Ngata Flower Farm. He also has interests in Bamburi Cement, Kenya Television Network, National Milling Company, Kenya Aerotech Ltd, Siginon Freight and National Milling Corporation
It is to be noted here that, it is with Joshua Kulei with the help of the former Finance Manager Hellen Waiyigo, that Ruto in 2001 was accused of defrauding Kenya Pipeline Corporation over Sh700 million; monies that have never been refunded to the corporation and allegedly drove Jacob Juma to permanent silence.
While Jirongo was fast, abrasive, impatient and raring to go, Ruto’s deceptively innocent-looking exterior masked a sly and shrewd operator whose calculating ways were expressed in his curious – one could even say devious, sense of humour.
Ruto, for instance, chose rather interesting names for the companies he used to facilitate various land deals. Ruto’s main vehicle for land deals was Oseng Properties Limited. The name Oseng or osengeng is Kalenjin for ‘these fools’. He had another firm that went by the name Orterter Enterprises Limited. Translated, orterter means ‘we must win’. Another of his operational firms went by the name Matiny Limited.
In Kalenjin, Matiny means ‘whatever the cost’. These were some of the more creatively named companies that Ruto used to effectively climb the financial ladder.
Soon after the 1992 general elections, the fast-paced Jirongo, who like the fabled Daedalus and Icarus of Greek mythology had flown too close to the sun, had his wings melted. Ruto, together with a few other more calculative members of YK ’92, quickly distanced themselves from the falling Jirongo. Besides helping twist the political knife stuck in Jirongo’s backside, Ruto and co. swiftly used the Jirongo crisis in Kanu to get even closer to the powers that were. By so doing, they inched as near to the ultimate dispenser of public goodies – President Moi – as they could.
Significantly, today, Ruto hardly sees eye to eye with either of his mentors, Moi and Jirongo. In his determination to achieve an individual political identity and autonomy, he has slowly sought new friends.
Record plot allocations
It all started with the formation of a company that went by the name Oseng properties Limited early in 1997 where Ruto was listed as director and chairman of the company, with his business right-hand man Paul K. Chirchir acting as the company secretary.
Hardly had the registrar’s ink dried on the company’s registration certificate than Oseng Properties Limited was in real business. The most active day for Oseng Properties was December 3rd, 1997.
The day started with an application to President Moi by Oseng Properties for allocation of a dozen or so prime commercial properties in the city’s plush suburbs and Ruto’s company’s given registration documents bearing the legend:
“Know all men by these presents that in consideration of the sum of shillings (relevant amount indicate) by way of stamp premium paid on or before the execution thereof, the President of the Republic of Kenya hereby grants unto Oseng Properties Limited all that piece of land situated in the City of Nairobi…..”
On that December day, Oseng Properties Limited and Orterter Enterprises were allocated at least eight plots whose total value was estimated to be in excess of Shs 50 million. Early in the year that followed, the companies were back in business. Two more plots were allocated on February 16 and another, two days later. On average, Ruto’s companies paid the government between Kshs 50,000 and 280,000 for the plots as statutory dues.
It was these plots that he used a few days later to get millions of shillings from City Finance Bank Company and Ajay Shah’s collapsed Trust Bank. Using some of these plots as collateral, Ruto got some Kshs 50 million from City Finance bank on July 2nd, 1998.
Then on November 24th the same year, he had another plot charged to the same finance company for Shs 7.5 million. The same property was later discharged and subsequently charged to Kenya Commercial bank for a loan of Shs 9.75 million.
It is certainly with the monies he got from these land dealings that Ruto was able to set himself in the world of business, and hence the world of the privileged.
DP Ruto’s apartments along Jogoo Road. Photo/Courtesy
Among his first business project was in real estate, initially with his erstwhile friend Cyrus Jirongo. Together they constructed a block of apartments in Ngong area sometime in 1993, although Jirongo was the main financier of the project.
However, these apartments were to later lead to a bitter row between Ruto and Jirongo. It is not clear how the matter was ultimately settled, but each party had accused the other of behaving dishonestly in the deal.
Years later, Ruto would construct his own block of rental apartments along Jogoo road. The Jogoo Road apartments were estimated to be worth around Shs 100 million. The apartments were later sold to the Kenya Police at a whopping Shs 1 billion.
He was to diversify his line of business later, and teaming up with some friends, set up an insurance company – AMACO – which did lucrative business during the last days of the Moi government. At the time, Ruto had joined Moi’s inner core and had been elevated to a Cabinet Minister.
His rhetoric oozes with refined contemporary democracy dogma, but his actions reveal a very violent and dictatorial streak.
We owe it to ourselves to examine closely those figures that aspire to lead us, who they cosy up within public and also in private. Just as birds of identical plumage flock in close proximity, a man’s character can also be judged from the company that he keeps.
Ruto’s politics, then as now, is deeply steeped in Machiavellian thinking, that the end justifies the means.
Whereas critics have christened this phase of the SGR as “a railroad to nowhere”, the benefits that will accrue from it cannot be overstated.
This launch was part of the Kenya Railways Master Plan that sets to transform the national and regional network with a view to providing efficient, safe and reliable rail transport.
For starters, this will be an efficient railway network catering for increased demand for passenger and cargo transport along the northern corridor, besides addressing traffic congestion within the urban and peri-urban areas.
Second, the railway line will play a huge role in the decongestion of the port of Mombasa as the increased capacity of transport infrastructure will meet the existing transport demand at the port.
Inside Nachu tunnel on the SGR route to Naivasha.
The region is also set to become a competitive investment destination as the SGR will lead to higher speeds, reducing transit times between destinations, and consequently, lower costs of production. Additionally, better access to markets will aid the exploitation of resources.
Finally, the railway will ensure seamless connectivity that will enhance regional integration, reduce carbon emissions and wear and tear of roads, thus lower maintenance costs.
Breathtaking views and designs
The design of the railway distinctly changes even before the train can enter the Nairobi National Park. For peaceful and sustainable co-existence with the animals, through the park, the train passes on top of a 6.563-kilometre bridge, hoisted by a total of 198 piers, 178 of which are within the park itself. The rail design through the park additionally features two abutments.
“With the bridge, animals, even tall ones like giraffes, can continue moving freely within the park,” says Kenya Railways. The shortest pier, the SGR management states, is 7.5 metres tall, tall enough to allow the unobstructed movement of giraffes.
The bridge at the park is just one of the two along the route, with the other located in Nol Chora. Along the route in the national park, the constructors have placed sound barriers to eliminate noise impact to animals during train operations.
Suswa SGR Terminus Aerial View. PHOTO/COURTESY
The Ngong station, designed to resemble a soaring eagle, symbolising the strength of the locals, will, besides serving Ngong residents, serve a connection point for people commuting from nearby areas such as Karen and Embulbul.
This train will offer great convenience to passengers travelling to and from Mombasa, who would prefer to go straight to Ongata Rongai and Ngong, without stopping in the Nairobi CBD. It also targets residents from Ngong, Rongai and its environs working in Machakos, Industrial Area and the Nairobi CBD.
Naivasha Inland Container Depot
During the launch of the Nairobi-Suswa SGR section, the President also presided over the groundbreaking of the Sh 6.9 billion Naivasha Inland Container Depot. This will address the congestion at Mlolongo and the Embakasi ICD. Besides revolutionizing transport in the Rift Valley and stimulating tourism, the SGR will lead to the creation of a Special Economic Zone as a number of East African Community member states have shown interest in investing in the dry port.
Kenya Railways must be commended for introducing passenger trains from Nairobi South station to Suswa, targeting tourists and locals travelling to and from Western Kenya, Nyanza and lower parts of the Rift Valley.
But the concerns raised by critics and residents of the four towns through which the train passes cannot be wished away. During the launch, Transport and Infrastructure CS James Macharia assured residents the issues of last-mile connectivity are being addressed to ensure commuters have easy access to the train stations.
While critics have opined that the SGR fares are higher than those charged by matatus, a comparison shows the reverse is true. For instance, matatus charge Sh150 from Ngong to the CBD during peak and Sh80 during off-peak hours.
The SGR train, on the other hand, charges a flat fare of Sh70 and Sh50 for connecting through the MGR to the Nairobi CBD. From Ongata Rongai, matatus charge Sh100 to the CBD during peak and Sh70 on off-peak hours, while the SGR train will charge Sh50 and another Sh50 to connect through the MGR to the Nairobi CBD.
From the above observation, SGR fares are still lower than those charged by matatus. Add these to the inconvenience of traffic jams witnessed on our roads, SGR trains remain affordable and convenient.
The increasing cases of evils in our society can be linked to increasing ungodliness and skepticism of which evolution contributes a great deal.
When a child is born, he is exposed to their parent’s religious beliefs and doctrines. They are taught about a friendly God, the Creator of everything and everyone, a God who punishes evil and blesses faithfulness.
Such a child trusts and fears God who is omnipresent and can’t be hidden from.
While in school, the same child is taught that human beings evolved from a lower order of apes (monkeys). The child dismisses religious beliefs and the fear of God is replaced by the fear of the law and the police.
What prevents this child from grabbing lands, robbing, aborting or killing if there is “no God” to punish evil and reward honesty so long as they hide from the law?
Just one year and the calendar will clock 2020. Five years more and Kenya will enter the home stretch of the vision 2030.
But the world, especially the legal fraternity, will be commemorating exactly a 100 yrs since the famous Scope Trial of 1925- the trial of the century.
The Scopes Trial was between John Scopes, a teacher of General Science and the state of Tennessee -USA over the teaching of Darwin’s theory of evolution in school.
The evolution theory was dangerously noted to not only undermine and destroy the religious faith of students but also make them agnostics.
The “Survival for the fittest” doctrine applied to the society was used by the powerful to justify marginalizing the powerless ( giving rise to Marxism).
In fact it was the basis on which the strong ruled over the weak by military force- the recipe for the WW1.
By 1929 about 45 anti-evolution bills were put in place to prohibit the inclusion of Darwinism in text books in 21 states eg. Arkansas, Texas, Carolina, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Kentucky and Tennessee among others.
Scopes was accused of teaching the evolution theory thus breaching the just enacted Butler’s Law which stated: ” It is unlawful for any teacher to teach any theory that denies the story of Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals… or any other hypothesis that links man in blood relationship to any other form of life.”
The anti-evolution controversy in US was so great and strong that the anti-evolution movement rocked the States and lasted for a good period of time in history.
Darwin’s work states in parts:
” Anatomically, there is a greater difference between the lowest type of monkey and the highest type of ape… ” “At the present time, there exists upon the earth 5 races of man, each very different from the other in instincts, social customs and to extend structure.”
It then continues to state:” If such people were animals, we would probably kill them off to prevent them from spreading.”
“With savages, the weak in body and mind are soon eliminated.We civilized men on the other hand check the process of elimination.”
Yet I don’t stand to criticize Darwin’s work but my question is : Is it still relevant to teach evolution in our syllabus?
What role does evolution play in solving our social problems?
Is it not ironical that we sing : O GOD OF ALL CREATION in our national anthem but in our classrooms we teach evolution??
The author is a teacher of English and Literature
By Ronald Kosgei