In a dramatic end to a highly anticipated by-election week, the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) allied to Deputy President William Ruto got its first legislator on Friday after Njuguna Wanjiku won the Kiambaa constituency seat by defeating Kariri Njama of the Jubilee Party. Despite the seat attracting eight other candidates, the race was seen as a supremacy battle between Ruto and Uhuru allies over the control of the vote-rich Central Kenya bloc. As a result of this major showdown, both political camps were not shy of blowing their cash on Kiambaa residents who seemed to be more than welcome to the idea.
A day before polls officially opened, one of Kenya’s most distinguished newspapers, The Star, reported how DP Ruto’s Sh200 million campaign kitty for Kiambaa had threatened to cause sharp divisions within his infant UDA party over disagreements on its disbursement. While it is obvious Uhuru could have dug as deep as he wished inside the overflowing Kenyatta family coffers, many were left wondering how William Ruto, a man who claims to have built his wealth through a chicken selling business, managed to raise such a hefty amount for a by-election in just a few days.
Thanks to credible sources on the ground, we are reliably informed that the Deputy President made use of his wide network of wealthy allies to ensure he clinched a win in Uhuru’s backyard. Despite having lost some of his old billionaire friends like David Langat, Joshua Kulei, Zedekiah Bundotich Kiprop, alias Buzeki, Silas Simotwo, among others, Ruto seems to have maintained the support of some wealthy buddies who are known to stop at nothing in exercising their loyalty to the Deputy President. Below we look at some of these figures who analysts say both their political and financial influence played a key role in influencing Ruto’s wave in Kiambaa.
1. Rigathi Gachagua
First on the list is Mathira Member of Parliament (MP) Rigathi Gachagua. Regarded as one of Ruto’s most loyal men in Central Kenya, Gachagua, known within his local population as “Kanda ya Wira”, was among the subjects of discussion ahead of the Kiambaa by-election due to impending graft allegations against him. In June 2021, details emerged on how Gachagua who is a staunch supporter of his UDA boss minted Sh5.8 billion from various ministries and state agencies in what was suspected to be a complex scheme of money laundering.
Through a company identified as Jenne Enterprises Limited, the lawmaker quickly transitioned to a billionaire in 7 short years around the time when the country was witnessing an unprecedented looting spree in government. Gachagua is a staunch supporter of Ruto and is trusted with some of the highest responsibilities within his team, including hosting many of their strategic meetings at his Karen home. He is reported to have contributed over Sh30 million towards Ruto’s Kiambaa kitty.
2. Adil Khawaja Adil
Arshed Khawaja is one of Kenya’s most renowned lawyers with over 20 years of experience in commercial litigation and arbitration. Mr Khawaja rose to the limelight as William Ruto’s lawyer when he played an instrumental role in a case in which the politician sold tens of acres of forest land worth over a quarter a billion (275 million) to Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC).
Ruto would later push for his appointment to a Taskforce to inquire into Forest Resource Management and Logging activities in Kenya. Mr Khawaja has countlessly been accused of having laundered money for DP Ruto in conjunction with KCB’ CEO Joshua Oigara who is another one of his closest friends. During his stint at KCB where he served as a Non-Executive Director, the CBK flagged suspicious transactions involving Ruto’s relatives and Khawaja. Tens of transactions from Ruto’s kin to Khawaja’s law firm, Hamilton Harrison and Mathews, were flagged.https://odibets.com/widget/freebet
Thanks to his frequent rubbing of shoulders with some of the high and mighty in the country, Khawaja is regarded as one of the country’s most moneyed lawyers. As a show of his long-lasting support for William Ruto in case he clinches the presidency next year, Mr Adil Khawaja is said to have contributed close to half of Ruto’s Kiambaa campaign fund with a whopping donation of Sh70 million.
3. Johnstone Muthama
Despite failing to secure a win for Ruto’s UDA during this year’s Machakos Senatorial by-election, renowned politician Johnstone Muthama has continued to support the DP even as detractors question his ability to deliver Kamba votes in the next election. For over two decades, Kalonzo Musyoka has remained the de facto leader for Ukambani and his political journey and aspirations have received near-tacit support from the community.
During that time, Muthama was one of Kalonzo’s closest confidants and is said to have bankrolled his campaigns. Recently, however, the billionaire politician seems to have changed tune and fully hopped on the Ruto bandwagon, which according to sources, he is not afraid of helping fund. Mr Muthama’s story could perhaps be described as one of the luckiest. A class seven dropout who managed to accumulate so much wealth defying the society’s mantra that Education is the key to success. He owns a multi-billion mining company, Rockland Kenya Limited, which has amassed him a fortune. In Kiambaa Muthama is said to have forked out over Sh40 million.
4. Andrew Ngirici
Up next on the list is media billionaire Andrew Ngirici. Ngirici is the husband to Kirinyaga Woman Representative, Purity Ngirici, and many people recall how he supported her 2017 bid, splashing millions on her campaign. The tycoon who dropped out of school at Class 4, is said to have personally blessed his wife’s Purity Ngirici political relationship with William Ruto and occasionally contributes to their political activities. The case was no different in Kiambaa where the media mogul generously splashed his cash to ensure Ruto’s UDA secured the win. In Kiambaa, the Ngirici family is said to have taken up costs running into millions during some key logistical plans and activities in order to ensure a win for Ruto.
5. Joshua Chepkwony
In the world of Kenyan business, Joshua Chepkwony aka CK Joshua has established a presence at par with any other titan in Kenya. Kass media including Kass FM, Jamii telecommunications, Simu-ya-Jamii, FAIBA and Jamii milling are some of the signature brands by Joshua Chepkwony. He is the C.E.O at Jamii Telecommunications Ltd also the chairman of Sergoit Holdings Limited and the owner of Kass Fm. T
he businessman is also keen on politics and is said to help bankroll many local politicians in his home. In 2017, he attended the swearing-in of three rift valley governors; Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu), Stephen Sang (Nandi) and the late Joyce Laboso who was the governor of Bomet county.
Despite being a close ally of Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, Chepwony is also believed to hold a more than cordial relationship with the Second-In-Command William Ruto and is considered to be among the key people in his financial support system whenever needed, just like in Kiambaa.
6. Ronald Karauri
Betting firms cannot wait for Uhuru Kenyatta’s term to come to end. He has made life miserable for betting firms by introducing punitive taxes. Chances that these firms will pour billions in Ruto’s campaign kitty in the hopes that he will be friendly to their cause are very high. SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri is one such character. Karauri is a wealthy man living the dream most Kenyans would kill for.
He was born to former Tigania Member of Parliament Mathew Adams Karauri and grew up in Buruburu before he went to Mangu High School. Karauri then became a high flier having been a first officer and then a captain with Kenya Airways (KQ) for 11 years. He later exited KQ to join SportPesa, the most popular online sports betting company in Africa. Young and well-moneyed, it would be no surprise if the entrepreneur took advantage of Kiambaa’s latest by-election to warm himself towards DP Ruto with a generous donation package.
7. George Soros
The next name on the list is a quite familiar one, Hungarian-born American philanthropist and billionaire George Soros. Earlier in the year, reports emerged that Ruto was using Oxford-trained economist David Ndii’s contacts to reach Soros who is known to fund mutinies and rebellions in most third-world countries.
As of March 2021, Soros had a net worth of US$8.6 billion (Sh 1 trillion) having donated more than $32 billion (Sh 3.4 trillion) to the Open Society Foundations of which $15 billion (Sh 1.7 trillion) have already been distributed, representing 64% of his original fortune, making him the “most generous giver” (in terms of percentage of net worth) in the planet. In previous Kenya elections, Soros had been funding Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader, Raila Odinga, Narc Kenya chairperson, Martha Karua, among others. This time around, the man from Sugoi is lining himself up to be a beneficiary.