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Is the Deputy President next at exit door?



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No high-profile Kenyan politician wears his heart on his sleeve like William Ruto, the Deputy President.

And this is especially so on matters of faith.

On the day of their inauguration in 2013, Dr Ruto famously prevailed on President Uhuru Kenyatta, the newly installed commander of the armed forces, to have the two of them go down on their knees for prayers, to the chagrin of the military chiefs conducting the ceremony.

He has been shown in a TV footage breaking down during a church service like a man possessed by the Holy Spirit. Giving at church fundraisers is his second nature.

Special facilities at the Deputy President’s official residence in Karen, Nairobi, include a national prayer altar modelled on the one built by David of the Bible to give “burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord”, according to his wife Rachel.


In his more recent speeches, Dr Ruto has often invoked Bible verses to rebuke political rivals questioning the source of the huge cash donations he gives in churches across the country.

The problem for the Deputy President is that his very public profession of faith tends to bring his personal integrity under sharp scrutiny.

Our newsroom spiritual adviser Genne warned me against falling into the popular temptation to judge others by their perceived personal flaws alone, citing the story of King David – a philanderer and murderer whom God rewarded with power – in 2 Samuel 11.

But the manner Mr Ruto and his office get themselves into scandal after scandal is quite intriguing.

The latest one is personally embarrassing for the Deputy President. It involves a fake firearms scam masterminded by a former Cabinet secretary in his Harambee Annex office, a fake military general, a dead police officer, a suicide theory dismissed by criminal investigators and a murder investigation focusing on one of Kenya’s most protected public installations.

Detectives believe Sergeant Kipyegon Kenei, on guard at the DP’s office the day documents for the fake firearms contract were signed, was murdered by powerful people linked to the scam.

Dr Ruto has taken to Twitter to attack the investigation with a series of posts in which he sometimes appears to tie himself in knots.

The more intriguing thing about both the fake firearms scandal and the Kenei murder investigation though is that Mr Ruto has sustained his exchanges with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations while sitting pretty in public office.

In many other democracies, the DP would have handed in his resignation letter the moment it became clear his office would be under investigation.

Indeed, the high accountability bar for leaders is no longer a preserve of Western democracies.

Just last month, a prime minister was forced out of office in Lesotho after prosecutors charged his wife with murder. Is Kenya’s Deputy President next at the exit door?

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