Kenyan deputy president guarded by 257 police officers


By Ferdinand Omondi


Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto and his properties are being guarded by 257 police officers, including four based at a chicken farm, the government has revealed.


Interior Ministry Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangí told a parliamentary security committee on Wednesday that recent changes in the police units guarding Mr Ruto's official residence, were "routine".


He said that among the officers protecting Mr Ruto were 74 from the elite presidential unit.


Some officers have been stationed at an airport hanger to guard Mr Ruto's two helicopters, Mr Matiang'i said.


The deputy president and his supporters had alleged the recent changes would undermine his security and were politically motivated.


"Contrary to the allegations made and in view of the tabled evidence, His Excellency the Deputy President is the most guarded in the history of the country in comparison with previous equivalent office holders,” said Mr Matiang’i.


Observers say the revelations would undermine Mr Ruto's rebrand as a "hustler", identifying with poor Kenyans.


His supporters have urged Mr Matinag’i to also reveal the number of police officers guarding other VIPs.


Mr Ruto has fallen out with President Uhuru Kenyatta - observers say that their relationship has been strained because Mr Kenyatta has reneged on a deal to back his deputy to succeed him next year.


Mr Kenyatta prefers his former political nemesis-turned-ally, Raila Odinga.


The president recently urged Mr Ruto to resign, saying it was duplicitous of his deputy to both say he supported the government, while being its leading critic.


The deputy president is a constitutional role, meaning Mr Ruto cannot be fired.


This article was published by BBC News.