— MYSTERY surrounds a visit by suspended Higher Education minister William Ruto to meet President Museveni in Uganda before his Hague Trip “He received calls from Museveni’s people on Sunday afternoon and quickly found his way to Kampala. He was due to meet the President at some point today (yesterday),” said a source that confirmed that Ruto met Museveni before the Ugandan leader proceeded to the Kampala Serena Hotel to launch his election manifesto.It is not known what Ruto discussed in his private meeting with Museveni although there was speculation the suspended minister wanted to talk about his own presidential ambitions.”After the meeting Mzee asked Ruto and his delegation to join him at the launch,” said a senior source at Uganda’s State House.Yesterday was the first official day of campaigning for the Uganda presidential elections which are due in March, 2011.The NRM Secretary General and Internal Security minister Amama Mbabazi introduced Ruto to the crowd at the Serena as “representing Kenya and the ODM”. Ruto was the only official from a foreign political party at the function although several ambassadors based in Kampala attended.
After the ceremony, Ruto held a closed-door meeting with several MPs from Uganda’s ruling National Resistance Movement party.Ruto attended the launch with Belgut MP Charles Keter and former nominated MP Mark Too who was introduced as a “special friend to Museveni”.On arrival Ruto was received at the Entebbe International Airport by Mbabazi and driven to his hotel in a six-car convoy. Up to 20 security officers were attached to him for the duration of his visit.
Ruto is also said to be planning a visit to South Africa where sources close to him say he will meet the country’s President Jacob Zuma next week.Ruto, jointly with Musalia Mudavadi, is ODM Deputy Leader but has announced he plans to leave by year end the party headed by Prime Minister Raila Odinga.Ruto was in Eldoret on Sunday afternoon when he received a call from his contacts in Uganda. He immediately took a flight to Wilson Airport and was driven straight to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and caught the last Kenya Airways flight to Entebbe arriving at midnight.”He was in so much hurry that he did not go to his Karen home to change.In fact his luggage was brought to the airport,” said a vocal MP from Rift Valley close to Ruto.
Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs Richard Onyonka said he was not aware of Ruto’s visit to Uganda.”Unless my people at the ministry are aware of it, I personally do not know if he has travelled to Uganda and in what capacity,” said Onyonka.He said Ruto could not be representing the government because he was suspended last month by President Kibaki after the Court of Appeal ruled that he should face fraud charges over the illegal sale of Ngong Forest land.Another close associate of Ruto’s confirmed the Kampala meeting and said, “It’s all about 2012″.”You know Museveni is running again and Ruto has already declared his interest in the presidency. Isn’t the rest obvious? Watch this space,” said the associate.Cabinet minister Otieno Kajwang denied that ODM had sent a delegation to Uganda.”He has made it clear that he is leaving ODM. Why then is he purporting to speak for the party? His time is up. If he does not pack and go, we will help him to leave and he won’t like it,” said Kajwang yesterday.He said even if ODM was to send a representative, it would not have been Ruto.”This is not the first time Ruto has been in Uganda. There seems to be some friendship developing between him and Museveni. We do not know if that friendship is for the good of Kenya or if it’s just aimed at destroying ODM,” said Kajwang.
Ruto has been to Uganda three times in 11 months.In December last year, he drove his family to Kampala where he went on holiday minus his security detail. At the Malaba border crossing point, he caused a stir when he arrived at the immigration offices with his wife Rachel and his children.Ruto stayed at the Munyonyo Resort in Kampala and secretly met people close to Museveni, according to one source.Ruto returned to Uganda again in April on a private visit but it is not clear who he met while in Kampala.
Ruto has fallen out with Raila, the presidential candidate he backed in the December 27, 2007 elections. After President Kibaki was controversially sworn in following the disputed elections, Museveni was the first international leader to send him a congratulatory message.Ruto has announced that he will leave ODM for another party by end of this year. He told Kass FM over the weekend that 40 MPs had already signed up to join his new party that he will use to form an alliance with Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta.