A day after a failed meeting between former President Daniel arap Moi and Deputy President William Ruto caused a furore with the latter dismissing claims that he was deliberately ignored, other leaders Thursday continued trooping to Moi’s Kabarak home to condole with the family.
While the family had initially said that Mzee Moi would not be receiving visitors at his home after the death of his eldest son, Jonathan Toroitich Moi last week, several leaders were allowed to see him on Thursday, a turn of events that is likely to spark further debate in the political circles.
The late Jonathan, 64, popularly known as JT, succumbed to cancer last Friday while undergoing treatment at a Nakuru hospital.
Among political luminaries who visited Mzee Moi’s Kabarak home include Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, former presidential candidate Peter Kenneth, Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) chief executive Ezekiel Mutua, Kitui senator Enoch Wambua and Central Organization of Trade Unions (Cotu) boss Francis Atwoli.
They were all received by Baringo Senator and Kanu chairman Gideon Moi. The political significance of the visits was not lost on observers who argued that it was an indication that Dr Ruto may have been denied entry into Kabarak.
Mr Jesse Karanja a political analyst, observed that the DP could have been snubbed owing to his political rivalry with senator Moi who also wants to be President.
On Wednesday evening, DP Ruto, accompanied by Baringo Governor Stanley Kiptis, MPs Moses Lesonnet (Eldama Ravine) and Caleb Kositany (Soy) and local leaders, condoled with the widow, Mrs Sylvia Toroitich, before holding a private meeting the family.
It was, however, telling that the Mr Ruto opted to visit Jonathan’s home in Kabimoi about 45 kilometres from Kabarak where President Uhuru Kenyatta condoled with the family on Monday.
DP Ruto’s dodging of Kabarak has been interpreted as a deliberate move to avoid any drama. But the former President’s press secretary Lee Njiru told the Nation that the DP had opted to visit Kabimoi.
“The deputy President did not book any appointment with Mzee. He must have decided to just meet the former Head of State’s family at Kabimoi,” said Mr Njiru.
Several other sources close to the former president confirmed that DP Ruto, presumably aware of past happenings, may have opted to meet and condole with the family in Kabimoi. The deputy President’s spokesperson, Mr David Mugonyi, maintained that his boss’ itinerary was to visit the late Jonathan’s Kabimoi home and former Cabinet minister Kipkalya Kones’ family in Kuresoi, following the death of his daughter Vicky Chebet Kones.
“There was no plan at all to visit Kabarak as alleged. It is bad that people are politicising the visit,” said Mr Mugonyi.
Besides President Kenyatta, Baringo deputy governor Jacob Chepkwony, Baringo Central MP Joshua Kandie and Kabarnet ward MCA Ernest Kibet were also allowed to see the elder Moi on Monday.
In May, last year, the DP visited the former president at his Kabarak home but failed to meet him after he was allegedly barred from doing so.
The former president’s office later released a statement indicating that Mr Ruto, who was accompanied by Energy cabinet secretary Charles Keter, Ainabkoi MP William Chepkut and lawyer Stephen Kipkenda, could not meet Mr Moi who instead offered to meet them on a later date.
The former president was said to have been undergoing routine physical examination with his doctors for the entire duration of the visit.