George Kebaso @Morarak
Intrigues of Rift Valley politics played out in an embarrassing incident in which Deputy President William Ruto was blocked from meeting retired President Daniel arap Moi with whom he had an appointment at his Kabarak home.
Frosty relations between Ruto and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi was seen to have informed the cold shoulder reception, as sources in the DP’s camp said his meeting with the former President was barred despite prior arrangements made last week.
Details both from Kabarak and from Ruto’s entourage indicated that the DP landed at Moi’s private airstrip in a red helicopter, accompanied by Energy Cabinet secretary Charles Keter, Ainabkoi MP William Chepkut and lawyer Stephen Kipkenda. However, the visit was destined to end without a grand reception, as it emerged that Moi’s foremost political son Gideon, the Kanu chairman, had not been briefed on fine details of the visit.
Members of Ruto’s entourage said they believe Gideon issued the order to bar them from seeing Moi, for leaving him out of their planning for the significant meeting, although they insisted Gideon knew they were coming. Ruto and his team were welcomed courteously by Moi’s home staff who appeared to have known they were coming, according to sources.
They were ushered into a guest room outside the main house and asked to wait. Some staff members could be seen making phone calls outside the guest room as the DP and his team settled down. However, Gideon was not in the home and sources said his clearance had to be sought for such a high-level group to see his father.
Apparently, the Ruto group had made the arrangement by sending two members of his team who met Moi in the presence of Gideon last week. Sources in Ruto’s camp said, last week on Thursday CS Keter and MP Chepkut flew to Kabarak to arrange yesterday’s meeting.
Gideon was seen with them in a picture but details of what had been discussed were not released. It was in that meeting that they were understood to have told Moi that Ruto wished to see him, to which the former Head of State agreed to yesterday’s meeting.
But they apparently did not inform Gideon, who plays a central role in such high profile visits to his father. On arrival, Ruto’s team were kept waiting for over one hour. Keter was said to have tried to reach Gideon on phone in vain.
Finally, one staff member told the DP that Moi was having an appointment with his doctor and would not be in a position to see them. However, a member of the DP’s entourage said in confidence: “Gideon blocked us from seeing Mzee, yet he knew we were coming”.
Gideon did not comment on the matter but Kabarak issued a short statement that read: “Former President Mzee Daniel arap Moi was visited today by Deputy President His Excellency William Ruto at his Kabarak home. Ruto who was accompanied by Energy CS Charles Keter, Ainabkoi MP William Chepkut and lawyer Stephen Kipkenda were welcomed and had lunch at Mzee’s Kabarak home.
Unfortunately, this coincided with the time Mzee Moi was undergoing routine physical exercise with his doctors. Mzee Moi agreed to meet the visitors at convenient time another day in the very near future.” State House director of diaspora and digital communication Dennis Itumbi commented on matter saying on Twitter:
“Just take note of this, DP William Ruto cannot just appear anywhere without prior arrangement and confirmation. Unless its an emergency.” One of Ruto team members said the bad blood between the DP and Gideon was more the cause of the snub than failure to loop in Gideon.
Ruto’s visit to Kabarak came after Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s April 12 call on Moi in which Gideon was seen as playing a central role. Yesterday’s snub has the potential to further strain the rivalry between Ruto and the younger Moi, both who have their eyes trained on the presidency in 2022, with Rift Valley as their launching pad.
The genesis of the bad blood between the duo could be traced to the jostling to inherit Moi’s political mantle in Rift Valley close to 11 years ago, when Ruto rebelled against his mentor and joined the opposition ODM under Raila.