As President Uhuru Kenyatta was reshuffling the Cabinet on Tuesday, Deputy President William Ruto was flying to Sudan, reportedly on a private business mission.
The Daily Nation has learnt that the DP left Wilson Airport in Nairobi on Tuesday morning via a private jet to visit a successful chicken rearing project in Khartoum he is keen on emulating.
“He left with one bodyguard,” said a source at the DP’s office who did not wish to be named in this article. “I think he wants to partner with the owners of the farm.” The DP returned home Wednesday at around 4pm.
Dr Ruto first visited the farm in April 2018 while on a three-day official visit, which took him and his entourage on a visit of a slaughterhouse and Kenana Sugar Factory, the world’s biggest sugar producer.
“Visited a farm that rears 1.2 million chickens, producing 180,000 eggs a day and was impressed by the intensive methods to ensure healthy, productive broods including quality feeds, vaccination, quarantine, pen management and proper handling of both layers and broilers,” he posted on his Facebook page on April 11, 2018.
“We will replicate these best practices to realise food security, a centrepiece of the Big Four,” the post added.
Our source said the DP, who often speaks about how he started out as a chicken seller near his home in Sugoi during his youthful days, hopes to start a similar project in either Narok or Uasin Gishu.
Dr Ruto rears about 150,000 chickens in his Sugoi farm, and conducts an annual chicken auction to help the local community at Kambi Kuku in Turbo Constituency.
In the 2018 trip, he was accompanied by Mr Mwangi Kiunjuri, a key political ally of the DP who was dropped as the Agriculture minister when the President announced Cabinet changes on Tuesday.
Given their frosty relationship in recent times, it is not known if the President and his deputy consulted over the Cabinet changes as they used to do during their first term.
In their sunnier days, the “dynamic duo”, as they were dubbed then, would come out to face the press while donning matching suits and warm smiles on their faces to announce important decisions to the country.
Asked why he missed the President’s function, a senior official at the DP’s office said: “That was a purely presidential function and we had no role in it.”
Initially, the DP’s trip was scheduled for Monday but had to be postponed to Tuesday after a charter plane failed to get clearance from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority on time.
Last week, Dr Ruto was locked out of his official residence in Mombasa by junior officers acting on “orders from above”, which the DP decried in a public rally in Soy Constituency.