Today, the General Service Unit (GSU) guarding the deputy president William Ruto was withdrawn. It was replaced with Administration Police Officers. Many Kenyans were surprised with a majority of them wondering what was happening.
William Ruto’s neighbors in Eldoret camped at his Sugoi home as if to protect him. Whereas the head honchos from the country’s security service claimed this was normal, it raises eyebrows as it happened a couple of days after President Uhuru Kenyatta urged his deputy president to resign.
Normally, the GSU are responsible for protecting the president and other VIP officials in the country. By withdrawing the elite officers and replacing them with Administration Police, Uhuru Kenyatta and his allies are psychologically trying to intimidate the deputy president into submission. They want the deputy president to tone down his hostilities towards the head of state’s allies in the Jubilee Party or his succession politics of 2022. This is more so as it relates to Raila Odinga. Mr. Odinga is widely seen as the preferred choice of the president’s replacement in next years presidential elections.
It is part of the fear-mongering aspect of the state agencies towards the people thought to be standing in the way of the ruling elites’ agenda.
This is because the deputy president has been vocal in opposing the president’s agenda since the latter got into the now famous “Handshake” with the ODM leader, Mr. Raila Odinga. The bad blood between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto reached a climax last week when the Court of Appeal ruled the Building Bridges Initiative as unconstitutional.
About two days ago, president Uhuru Kenyatta urged the deputy president to resign if he (the DP) was unsatisfied with the ruling Jubilee government. The deputy president fired back that he was not going anywhere as he was duly elected and hence fulfilling his constitutional rights as the number two in the country.
Another reason why Mr. Ruto’s elite GSU squad were withdrawn and replaced with officers from a lower rank is to de-rank the deputy president. Matiang’i and other allies of president Uhuru Kenyatta are trying to disparage the deputy president. In essence, they are showing the deputy president that he is not the top cheese in the country.
With the deputy president being a number two, the security apparatus in the country is trying to embarrass DP Ruto by attempting to-albeit in the eyes of Wanjiku- lower his status as it pertains to his position in the country.
It may sound a little bit petty but if one has been paying attention to Kenyan politics, they will be aware that once any politician disobeys or dissents with the president’s vision, the police or state machinery are usually used to intimidate such individuals.
For example, the Bomet senator Christopher Langat as well as his Kakamega counterpart Cleophas Malala were swarmed by a 300-strong police officers late last year as these two law-makers were the hold-outs on the One Man One Shilling, One Vote bill during the revenue sharing formula vote.
President Uhuru Kenyatta was in favor of the bill as it stood to benefit his tribesmen from the Mount Kenya Region.
There is also a general feeling that the deputy president does not respect his boss-president Uhuru Kenyatta. This is because the deputy president is suspected to have instigated his supporters to mount a legal challenge to president Uhuru Kenyatta’s attempt to amend the constitution of Kenya.
Most of the people who challenged the Buidling Bridges Initiative (BBI) -and won- are affiliated with the Tangatanga group which is engaged in supremacy wars with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Kieleweke faction.
The government is also trying to coerce the deputy president to stop challenging the same people that are responsible in ensuring his security. It is a subtle way of telling the deputy president that “Asante ya punda ni mateke” for not showing appreciation for the state’s protection of him.
The president feels that Mr. Ruto as the deputy president and ultimately as part of the “presidency” should not criticize the very government in which he is working for. In the event that the DP’s goals and aspirations are at loggerheads with his boss, Mr. Ruto should resign.
Whereas in the corporate world that is expected, as a politician, William Ruto is afforded constitutional protection as an elected official. He is not obliged to resign if he does not feel like doing so.
Functions of the General Service Unit (GSU)
The GSU is entailed with the following tasks and responsibilities. This unit of the National Police Service is not mandated to protect the deputy president. The roles of the General Service Unit are as follows:
- Providing security to his Excellency the President, state houses / lodges.
- Providing security for selected foreign Airlines.
- Providing security to vital installations and strategic points.
- Controlling rioters’ mobs and civil disturbance.
- Carrying out anti-poaching operations and escort duties.
- Containing banditry and cattle rustling.
- Countering terrorism activities and insurgencies.
As you can see, nowhere does it says that the GSU must protect the deputy president. The unit only provide security for the head of state and not necessarily to the deputy president as well.
Essentially, Ruto is being told to be thankful that the top police officers were tasked with around-the-clock protection of himself and his entourage, a notch higher than the bare minimum required to ensure his security.