A man claiming to be the owner of Weston Hotel, next to Lang’ata Road Primary School, which is at the centre of a land row, says he is a close ally of the Deputy President.
Patrick Osero, however, denies that William Ruto has any interests in the hotel that was initially suspected of being behind the grabbing of the school playground. He insists he is the sole proprietor.
According to him, Mr Ruto only visits the place as his friend and customer. Mr Ruto’s daughter Shaleen, he said, frequents the gym at the hotel.
The Nation established, however, that she also has an office at Weston Hotel in spite of denials that the Ruto family has no interests there.
Mr Ruto and Mr Osero’s friendship dates back to the early 1990s when they were members of the Youth for Kanu ‘92, a notorious brigade founded to counter the struggle for multi-party democracy and ensure entrenchment of President Daniel arap Moi’s Kanu regime.
YK ‘92, led by Cyrus Jirongo, gained notoriety for splashing out money that ultimately was traced to public coffers. The activities of the group contributed to the fiscal indiscipline that nearly bankrupted key State corporations and statutory institutions, stressed the National Treasury and led to near-collapse of the country’s economy.
The organisation was also involved in large-scale grabbing of public land, the ramifications of which are felt to this day in institutions that were badly affected such as the National Social Security Fund.
“We met during YK’92 and he has been my very good friend and business partner since then,” Mr Osero freely said of his association with the Deputy President.
It is an association that has benefited him under the Jubilee regime: “I am the chairman of the Agricultural Finance Corporation and therefore, he is also my boss as the Deputy President,” Mr Osero told the Nation.
The bond between the two is said to be very strong. In the early years of former President Mwai Kibaki’s tenure, Mr Osero stood surety worth Sh6 million for Mr Ruto in a court case involving land.
Mr Osero unsuccessfully vied for the Borabu Constituency seat on an ODM ticket during the last General Election.
He said that he acquired the 1.7 acres of land where the hotel sits in 1998 from a company called Priority Limited and built the hotel last year.
He did not delve into the details of how he acquired the land and how much it cost.
The land on which the hotel stands initially belonged to the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.
The chairman of Wilson Airport Aircraft Operations Committee, Gad Kamau, confirms that the Weston Hotel parcel was grabbed in December 2002, shortly before the General Elections that saw Kanu lose power to Narc.
Mr Osero denied that he may be a proxy. “You think I cannot own such a property? Why are Kenyans doubting?” he asked.