President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto on Wednesday held private talks at State House amid widening cracks in Jubilee over the DP’s assassination claims.
Multiple sources within the Presidency confirmed the two held lengthy discussions on a number of issues.
The Star established that the meeting was fixed on Tuesday when Uhuru and Ruto met at a State House banquet hosted in honour of South Sudan President Salva Kiir.
The dinner was also attended by ODM leader and AU Special Envoy for Infrastructure Raila Odinga.
On Friday State House spokesperson Kanze Dena could neither confirm nor deny the private meeting between the President and the deputy president.
“I’m not able to comment on that,” Kanze said when reached out to by the Star.
The President is understood to have briefed Ruto on his two-day visit to Tanzania this weekend where President John Magufuli is set to host him in his rural home.
It is not unusual for the President to hold closed-door talks with his deputy but what raises the profile of this particular meeting is the timing and the events preceding it.
This was the first face to face meeting between the two following days of intense political heat triggered by Ruto’s claims of a plan to eliminate him ahead of the 2022 polls.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations is still probing the murder claims that have threatened to bring down President Uhuru’s government.
On Thursday, State House Secretary for Innovation, Digital and Diaspora Communication Denis Itumbi, who lately operates from the DP’s Harambee House Annex office, was arraigned for authoring a fake letter that detailed the assassination plot.
The Cabinet, which usually meets on Thursdays, has not met for three weeks.
Insiders attribute this development to growing suspicions within the Cabinet after four CSs and a PS were linked to the alleged Ruto murder plot.
Cabinet secretaries Peter Munya (Trade and Industry), Sicily Kariuki (Health), Joe Mucheru(ICT) and James Macharia (Infrastructure) have been accused of convening the alleged meetings at Hotel La Mada.
The ministers, however, did not record statements when they turned up at the DCI headquarters on June 25 because the DP had not made a written complaint.
Cracks have been widening in the Jubilee Party with two factions the anti-Ruto Kieleweke and Tangatanga — which supports his presidential bid— emerging.
However, Uhuru has ignored calls by the DP’s allies to convene a parliamentary group meeting to steady the party and seal rifts that threaten to ruin its future.
Wednesday’s meeting is said to have centred on wrangles and divisions in the Cabinet and Jubilee Party unity with the President having been forced to reassure his deputy of his support ahead of 2022.
The Ruto camp is said to have intelligence that while Uhuru is supportive of Ruto to succeed him in 2022, he is under pressure from a section of his family members to abandon their 2013 political pact.
Ruto allies also believe that State House and powerful government officials could have orchestrated the harassment targeted at Ruto’s allies without Uhuru’s blessings.
The details emerged as Ruto’s key allies said they now have what they termed as a ‘smoking gun’ that would unravel the assassination plot mystery.
Soi MP Caleb Kositany, a close ally of the DP, told the Star that those who have dismissed Ruto’s claims of a plan to eliminate him will be in for a rude shock in the coming days.
“These (audios and videos) are smoking guns. Let us have an intended murder plot resolved before the murder happens,” Kositany said.
The MP said the evidence will be introduced in court as part of the defence in the Itumbi case.
If admitted before the court, the MPs want the court to order the DCI to summon all those who attended the alleged meeting to record statements.
These (audios and videos) are smoking guns. Let us have an intended murder plot resolved before the murder happens
Soy MP Caleb Kositany
On Thursday, Itumbi told a Nairobi court he was in possession of the recordings of the alleged meeting at Hotel La Mada.
Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa warned that a few bureaucrats in government are abusing public institutions to “coerce and intimidate people based on their political persuasions”.
“It has become customary to criminalise anything and anyone who is seen or perceived to be associated in any way with Deputy President William Ruto,” he said.
Speaking in Busia on Friday a section of MPs from Western Kenya asked the DCI to dig deeper to get the truth about the assassination instead of engaging in arbitrary arrests to divert the attention of Kenyans from the ‘real issue’.
The MPs Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), Geoffrey Omuse (Teso South), Janet Nangabo (Woman Rep, Trans Nzoia), John Waluke (Sirisia), Mwambu Mabonga (Bumula) and James Mukwe (Kabuchai) expressed outrage at the manner in which DCI George Kinoti was carrying out investigations over the matter.
They said Itumbi’s arrest was part of the diversionary tactics being employed to cover up part of the agenda of the meeting held at the Hotel La Mada.
They demanded investigations to establish the agenda of the meeting and not just the author of the letter.
He said Kinoti should focus energies on individuals who uttered words that appeared to be a plot against the deputy president.
“Instead of the DCI investigating individuals who talked ill of the Deputy President, they are now focusing their attention on the letter,” Barasa said.
In Garissa, senators Susan Kihika, Falhadha Iman (Nominated) and Kandara MP Alice Wahome took issue with the manner in which the investigations were being conducted.
Wahome, an ardent supporter of Ruto said the DCI is yet to get to the crux of the matter.
“Instead of the DCI sticking to investigating the matter, they are busy arresting a young man whose crime was only to blow the whistle on the matter,” the Kandara MP said.
She accused Interior CS Fred Matiangi and PS Karanja Kibicho of politicising security matters adding that some individuals “think they will ascend to power by eliminating their opponents”.
“They should leave politics to us and do what they were appointed to do. Otherwise, if they are interested in politics then they should resign so that we can meet in the political arena,” she said.
Kihika took issue with the investigative agency which she said was arresting Kenyans without conducting thorough investigations.