The rift within the Jubilee government moved a notch higher when Deputy President William Ruto dramatically confronted Interior Principal secretary Karanja Kibicho accusing him of being used to sabotage his tour to launch projects across the country.
The two had met at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at around 8pm on Wednesday where they had gone to welcome President Uhuru Kenyatta back from his one-day visit to Kigali, Rwanda, where he attended an ICT conference.
And for close to 15 minutes, a visibly angry Ruto is said to have engaged the PS wanting to know why he had allegedly instructed county commissioners and police commanders not to provide security at his functions.
A source, who was present during the “lecture”, said the DP cautioned Kibicho not to use his office to coerce administrators on the ground to frustrate his 2022 presidential bid.
Ruto, who appeared not to give a chance to a shocked Kibicho to respond, told him to “keep to his lane” and allow the administrators at the counties to operate without interference.
The DP is said to have cited last weekend’s events in Turkana county where the County Commissioner failed to attend his rallies on alleged instructions from Kibicho.
The source, who did not want to be identified, said the DP arrived at the airport unexpectedly and upon spotting the PS walked straight to him.
“Everyone present including the service commanders were taken by surprise. Nobody uttered a word as the lecture by the visibly angry Ruto continued,” said the source.
The source, said besides the service commanders led by the Chief of Defence Forces Samson Mwathethe and Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai, the only politician present was Kieni MP Kanini Kega, who stepped a few steps away from the scene.
Contacted for a comment, Ruto’s spokesperson David Mugoyi, denied that the Deputy President had confronted Kibicho.
Not at airport
Mugonyi said he was not aware that the DP had gone to the airport to welcome the President back to the country. Kanini also denied knowledge of the dressing down of the PS saying he was not anywhere near the airport. Kibicho did not pick our calls nor respond to our text messages.
The incident was a culmination of claims and counter-claims between the two Harambee Houses— Annex and Office of the President, which houses the Interior ministry, with Kibicho recently accusing Ruto’s office of failing to furnish him with the DP’s itinerary in the counties.
He said the impromptu tours were to blame for the absence of senior security officers at some of the DP’s functions.
Kibicho said the allegations that the government had withdrawn security from a church function in Tetu, Nyeri, attended by Ruto were false.
He said the incident in Tetu was caused by poor communication between the Deputy President’s team and the police on the ground, who were informed when it was too late.
He said when police were informed, they rushed to the site and found that the function had ended. Sources said the cancellation of the police uniforms tender, which Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i ordered to be given to the National Youth Service, had also contributed to the bad blood between the two offices.
Kibicho has also been involved in a spat with Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko who accuses him of frustrating his administration. Sonko claims Kibicho is using his office to undermine him.
But Kibicho has distance himself from Sonko’s troubles with the National government. “They have paranoia, which needs to be cured. Let them deal with their accusations and accusers. Let them carry their own cross,” said Kibicho.