William Ruto was recently taken on a wild goose chase by Kilifi governor Amason Kingi, who, it is claimed, had agreed to meet the DP, but changed his mind at the eleventh hour without prior notice. On the morning of Thursday, June 19, Ruto left Nairobi for Kilifi in a private jet and landed at Vipingo Airstrip. He was accompanied by his wife, Rachel, and one Farid Sheikh, a former banker who is in charge of the DP’s projects.
It is said before going to Coast, the DP had a phone conversation with the Kilifi governor, and there was an agreement for a secret meeting on the day of his arrival. However, to the surprise of Ruto, Kingi was nowhere and his phones were switched off. Attempts by one of the DP’s aides, Farouk Kibet to trace Kingi through close contacts, did not bear any fruit. It was not immediately clear why Kingi snubbed the DP whom he had promised to work with ahead of 2022 general elections. At a public rally in Kilifi early last year attended by Ruto, Kingi had declared he would team up with the DP and go round the country to gauge who between them was more popular to be a presidential candidate and the other will offer his support. Political observers claim that Kingi, who is on his second and final term as governor, may have developed cold feet on Ruto for fear that associating with him now, could have provoked fresh investigations of corruption claims in his administration.
It is claimed Kingi has managed to weather many corruption storms in his administration, courtesy of interventions by his Mombasa counterpart Hassan Joho, who is said to be well connected within the investigative agencies and the system. At the same time, the Kilifi county secretary Arnold Mkare is a bossom friend of a top detective, and it is claimed, this could have helped to hold files for a while. But insiders claim, the rot in the county government is unbelievable. During the 2017 general election campaigns at Mariakani, Kilifi county, Uhuru Kenyatta had vowed that if reelected, Kingi was to be among the first bunch of governors to be locked in prison over corruption allegations. Even though an ODM governor, Kingi has at many times been perceived as wanting to chart his own political destiny outside the Raila Odinga led party. The governor, it is claimed, privately laments that despite the near 100pc support Kilifi residents gave to ODM, there was no reward from the party in the form of a nomination slot either to the national assembly or Senate, leave alone the East African Legislative Assembly in Arusha.
To add salt to injury, the ODM leader allegedly pressurized the county leadership to accept nominations of individuals from Kisumu county to the local county assembly. In comparison, the Jubilee party which was rejected by residents in spite of implementing huge projects in the area, including tarmacking roads, went ahead and gave a senate nomination slot to Christine Zawadi from the county. Raila aware of Kingi’s machinations has been dealing with his deputy Gideon Saburi, something that has rattled the governor to the brim. A while ago, the governor orchestrated the arrest of Saburi, accusing him of allegedly spreading coronavirus in the county. Kilifi senator Stewart Madzayo has defended the DG, saying his persecution was politically motivated. A few weeks ago, Raila hosted Gideon Mung’aro, the Lands chief administrative secretary at his Capitol Hill offices, sparking speculations of an endorsement. Mung’aro was Jubilee’s governor candidate in the last general elections and it is widely claimed Kingi did not defeat him fairly. Ruto is now depending on MP Aisha Jumwa to market his presidential bid at the coast, but the DP camp has discovered Aisha is not popular ever since she was linked to murder during a ward by-election in which one person was killed by a gunshot