Deputy President William Ruto is at the heart of a new scandal after the Taita Taveta County government and residents of Mata village in the same county accused him of diverting their public water to his expansive ranch.
The DP is said to have bought an expansive ranch from former Taveta MP Basil Criticos and has engaged in livestock farming.
The Taita Taveta county government has moved to court, accusing Ruto of diverting the main waterline that serves villagers in Mara villagers straight to his farm.
Residents have been left thirsting and complaining after their attempts to storm the highly secured farm were thwarted by the ranch’s management.
The Water County Executive Gasper Kabaka said health facilities and schools in the area had been adversely affected by the diversion of a public water line to the DP’s private farm.
The Nation reported that police are looking to arrest the farm’s manager, Arie Dempers, over the incident.
Taita Taveta county has a long history of tense relations between landlords who own vast ranches in the county and the locals who are mainly squatters.
Criticos, who sold part of his ranch to Ruto, is one of the biggest land owners in the county – at one time owning 72,000 acres. He has since shed off some of the land to other ranch owners and also donated a thousand acres to deal with squatters who have for years invaded his expansive farms.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s family is also one of the landlords in the area.
During the 2013 presidential debate, Kenyatta said his family owned 33,000 acres in Taita Taveta County through their expansive Gicheha farm.
His family has since then donated 2,000 acres to squatters in the county.