Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto was on Monday stopped from flying to neighboring Uganda on a private jet when airport authorities told him to seek clearance from a junior Government staffer, after which he was kept waiting for more than five hours with the papers still unsigned until he abandoned the trip.
Ruto was dramatically denied from boarding a flight to Uganda for not seeking clearance as all civil servants should.
He was scheduled to fly for an unknown mission to Entebbe, accompanied by a seven-man entourage comprising of his close political allies and businessmen.
According to a flight manifest from Phoenix Aviation, he was to use a private jet on flight number Jadestar 12.
The plane he was to use; a Cessna 560XL registered using tail number 5Y WHB, had already been prepared for flight but its crew was told at the last minute that their VVIP guest would not be flying after all.
The DP’s office protested what it termed a change of rules on his foreign travels without notice.
“We are surprised the Deputy President was denied clearance to go on a planned private visit to Uganda. It is our officers who always handle his travel and this time, they were told, that he must get clearance from Immigration to fly out. In all his travels, all these years, this has not happened,” the DP’s office said through his communication secretary David Mugonyi
The incident has left his supporters saying it was a State-backed campaign to humiliate him, as his fallout with President Uhuru Kenyatta takes a new turn.
After he was stopped from leaving the country, Ruto said in a cryptic tweet “it’s alright, let’s leave it to God” in Kiswahili.
It is the latest incident to plague the strained relations between Ruto and his boss President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The two erstwhile partners who came to power in 2012 through their Jubilee coalition fell out in 2018. Ruto is rumored to be preparing a bid for the presidency.
Kenyatta who is ineligible to stand is alleged to be backing former prime minister and veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga, against an old understanding with his deputy.
Kenyatta and Odinga have addressed joint rallies in support of a bill to amend the constitution, known in Kenya as the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
Ruto is a regular visitor to Uganda. He last traveled to the country in early July and met with President Yoweri Museveni.
It would have been Ruto’s second trip to Kampala in a month. After he arrived at Nairobi’s Wilson airport for his flight, he was told to seek clearance from the head of public service.
He was then made to wait five hours before his flight was canceled.
- Nation/Daily Monitor