Kenyan Deputy President Slams Withdrawal of Security as Unlawful
Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto said official security has been withdrawn from his residences, escalating a standoff with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
A General Service Unit official informed Ruto on Thursday that security officers had been removed without explanation, according to a statement from his office in the capital, Nairobi. Ruto’s staff requested an official explanation from the inspector-general of police for the “strange and unlawful decision,” his office said.
“This is the latest instalment in a sustained and systematic effort to undermine the deputy president’s personal security in pursuit of a political vendetta, and is consistent with a strategy to expose the deputy president of the republic to personal harm,” it said.
Ruto has been touted as a potential successor to Kenyatta, whose second term ends next year. The relationship between the two men has soured as Kenyatta fostered ties with opposition leader Raila Odinga to promote a restructuring of the government -- a plan opposed by Ruto and rejected by the nation’s courts.
Local media has speculated that Kenyatta might support Odinga in next year’s race for the presidency. Ruto, who campaigned with Kenyatta in the past two elections, has signaled he might break away from the ruling Jubilee Party to run on his own ticket for the top office.
The National Police Service said in a statement on Twitter that the change to Ruto’s security detail was part of a “normal re-assignment of duties” within the police to “enhance efficiency and effectiveness.” Kenya’s Presidential Escort Unit continues to provide security to the deputy president, it said.
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