Deputy President William Ruto has explained his connections and mission in Uganda, and the mystery behind his aborted trip.
Speaking on a local radio station this morning, Ruto said there was nothing untoward in his frequent trips to Uganda and the move to bar him was “just petty politics.”
Two days ago, Ruto was barred from flying out to Uganda by Immigration Officials at Wilson Airport. This was after a five-hour wait at the airport’s VIP lounge. His allies Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro, Kapseret’s Oscar Sudi and Kinango’s Benjamin Tayari flew out without him. Others meant to be in the entourage were Dr David Bett, Dr Eric Ruto, and Elija Ronoh.
It was alleged that the DP was blocked due to the presence of a Turkish national named Harun Aydin. There were murmurs that Aydin had links with terrorism and other underworld activities. But this was discounted by the Turkish Embassy who issued a statement clarifying that Aydin was an authentic businessman.
“We are embarrassing ourselves by claiming he is a terrorist,” said a visibly frustrated DP Ruto. “That’s how we destroy investments in the country; petty politics.”
Ruto said Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is a friend, and at one time, helped him campaign in Uganda. “He is a friend of President Uhuru Kenyatta, and indeed all the members of NASA (formerly, as it were). I am I not entitled to have friends?”
He said his Ugandan trip was to study the country’s Wealth Fund. “How does it work? I wanted to know because I’ve kick-started a conversation in Kenya called ‘bottom-up’.”
Help Us Reach Equity Bank
Ruto said his interest in Uganda was triggered after a businessman approached him in Nairobi with a request for contacts at Equity Bank. The investor wanted to secure funding for a mRNA vaccine manufacturing factory in Uganda. “And since Equity Bank is present in Uganda, I made a phone call to Equity and connected him. He secured funding of $150 million.”
Ruto says the businessman (actually a team of investors comprising Turkish, American, Russian and German nationals) invited him for the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the factory. “I was interested because they promised to sell the vaccines to Kenya at subsidised prices, same as Uganda,” Ruto said.
The Biological Drugs and mRNA factory is in Wakiso district, central Uganda.