Joho links Ruto to his drug woes, dares DP to face him

Governor Hassan Joho and DP William Ruto.

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Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has accused Deputy President William Ruto of sponsoring attacks against him over his alleged involvement in drug trafficking.

Yesterday, Joho dared Ruto to face him directly instead of sending his “subjects” to malign his reputation.

Ruto allies recently launched attacks against Joho with Nandi Governor Stephen Sang and MPs Oscar Sudi (Kapseret), Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu) and Didmus Barasa (Kimilili MP) linking him to drugs trade.

Joho, through his lawyer, has written to the International Police Organisation (Interpol), seeking clarification on reports his name is in the list of wanted drug barons as claimed by his attackers.

Client’s interest

“It is therefore in our client’s interest, the interests of all residents of the county of Mombasa and the nation as a whole that your office informs us on the authenticity or lack thereof of the statement,” Joho’s letter to Interpol, through his lawyer DBM Mosota, says in part.

He was referring to a letter circulating on social media and dated November 10, 2018, purportedly from Interpol. It lists Joho as a fugitive citing ‘statements’ from the ongoing trial of Akasha brothers in the US.

Addressing the Press yesterday in Mukuru kwa Njenga, Joho said Kenyans could not agree to be led by a person such as Ruto.

“I cannot engage in a war of words with those people because I know they have been sent by their master William Ruto,” said Joho.

“I dare you Ruto. Stop sending your sidekicks, come out and face me yourself,” said Joho during a meeting at Mukuru kwa Njenga slums in Nairobi.

The governor had accompanied ODM nominee for the Embakasi South parliamentary seat Irshad Sumra to seek clearance from the constituency’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officers.

Joho said he would seek legal redress against the utterances by Ruto allies.

In the letter to Interpol, Joho wants to know if he is being sought for charges of organised crimes, including drugs trafficking.

This is not the first time Joho has called out Ruto in public - with their attacks against each other widely seen as setting the stage for a 2022 political showdown.

Last year, Joho said he would work with Baringo Senator Gideon Moi to block Ruto from the presidency.

Ruto is yet to respond to the governor.

Some ODM MPs, including Embakasi East’s Babu Owino, have defended Joho against drug trafficking claims.

Joho, who is also ODM deputy party leader, was accompanied by the party’s Secretary General Edwin Sifuna and Makadara MP George Aladwa.

Sifuna said he would set the whole “ODM legal battalion” on Joho’s defence against the mudslinging by Ruto allies.

Governor Hassan Joho and DP William Ruto.

“When we leave here, we are going to our lawyers so they can take legal action against those issuing these reckless statements,” said Sifuna.

“So Sang and the others should be ready to face ODM lawyers,” he said.

But yesterday, Sang declared they were ready for a faceoff with Joho as they defied his 24-hour ultimatum to issue a public apology.

Sang, who is a lawyer, confirmed he had received a letter from Joho, asking him to furnish him with evidence.

“We are taking it head on and we will not furnish him with any evidence. He can’t ask people accusing him to provide evidence,” he said.

Drug trafficking

Sang claimed Jubilee leaders accusing Joho of drug trafficking were compiling evidence against him and would soon hand it to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.

He said Joho’s accusers would present evidence to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and international security agencies for action.

“Joho must know we speak from facts and we will stop at nothing to save our youths from the harmful businesses. Wait and see how he (Joho) will be shocked,” said Sang.

Sang, who spoke at Tachasis Catholic Church in Tinderet, Nandi on Sunday, dismissed Joho’s threats to sue them.

“This is ironical, that Joho can insult the character of the deputy president but does not have the heart to take what we know about him,” said Sang said.

Sudi said: “He (Joho) has written to us and I want to tell him we have assembled our lawyers and we are ready for a court battle.”

The MP said they would use a report tabled in the National Assembly in 2010 by former Internal Security minister the late George Saitoti, which allegedly listed Joho among suspects of drugs trade.

Aladwa, who is also the Nairobi ODM chairman, said the mudslinging was meant to derail Joho’s 2022 bid.

He said ODM would soon convene a press briefing to respond to the leaders mudslinging Joho.

[Wainaina Wambu, Stephen Rutto and Rael Jelimo]