Ruto sues 5 lawmakers over Karen land grab claims

Deputy President William Ruto has opened up a legal battle with five Opposition lawmakers as he filed a defamation case against them on Monday, for linking him to the 134-acre Karen land grabbing.

Through Kilukumi and Company Advocates, Ruto filed the case against CORD Senators Johnson Muthama, Elizabeth Ongoro, James Orengo, Boni Khalwale (UDF), and Suna East MP Junet Mohammed.

He is seeking an unspecified amount of money in compensation, an apology and a permanent injunction against the legislators saying he has been portrayed as a land grabber who is not fit to lead.

Ruto had threatened that he would sue those dragging his name into the Sh8 billion Karen land saga if they did not withdraw their remarks.

The five lawmakers alleged that they had evidence linking top government officials to the disputed Karen land.

They claimed that Ruto was among other politicians who had benefited from the land which is now at the centre of a legal battle between businessman Horatious Da Gama Rose and a number of private firms.

On October 19, the five legislators addressed a press conference in which they said they were ready to appear before the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to present evidence linking top government officials to the Karen land.

They had claimed that officials including Ruto, Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu and Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero are linked to the land tussle.

Despite the insistence that they had evidence to support their allegations, they failed to appear before the EACC last week as earlier expected.

CORD communications officers said the leaders did not appear before the EACC because they were gathering more evidence to support their claims.

They said they would issue a fresh date when they were going to present the evidence.

Da Gama Rose is laying claim to the land and his lawyer Cecil Miller obtained orders blocking further development of the land but the occupiers had previously disregarded the directive of the court to keep off the land.

The High Court had in September directed that any development or transactions on the land be halted until the petition filed by Da Gama Rose is heard and determined.

This article was published by CAPITAL FM NEWS on November 3, 2014