The mystery of the Turkish businessman Aydin Harun who was part of Deputy President William Ruto’s blocked entourage to Uganda has deepened over reports of conflicting message from the Turkish Embassy in Nairobi and his alleged links to terror-related activities in the past.
Turkish Embassy in Nairobi is quoted on record by a local media saying Aydin, aged 54 years, is a businessman and law abiding Turkish citizen who had travelled to Nairobi legally on a Turkish passport.
However, according to the New York Times, Aydin was profiled as a key member of a terrorist group based in Cologne commanded by Muhammed Metin Kaplan, dubbed “the Caliph of Cologne,” who aimed to unite the Islamic world under a single caliphate based in a liberated Istanbul.
“Harun was detained on suspicion of planning major acts of violence as a member of a terrorist organization with an Islamic fundamentalist background,” according to the prosecutor.
He was held by a Frankfurt court for giving directions for major crimes such as murder and manslaughter.
Harun was found with luggage containing a CD-ROM with a training movie for Islamic holy warriors.
Investigators reportedly discovered a suicide note to his wife and the last testament in his suitcase, according to the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.
However, the Turkish authorities are said to have clarified to the Kenyan government that Aydin has no criminal record and has traveled to the country on many occasions.
Kapseret Member of Parliament Oscar Sudi, also claimed Harun is a Turkish investor interested in modern fruit farming and not a terrorist as alleged.
“To the doubting Thomases, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is not a kid to deal with someone of questionable repute, you can use your diplomatic connection and inquire from Ssebo himself the kind of interest that the Businessman has in Uganda,” Sudi said.
Harun is said to have first arrived in the country in 2018 and has made frequent visits to Kenya.
In the same year, he is said to have made six return trips to Nairobi from Istanbul, while he made four trips in 2019 and in 2020, he made two trips.
This year, his passport has been stamped more than five times at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
Last month, he departed with Ruto to Sudan and they both travelled to Zanzibar through the Wilson Airport.
According to DP’s office, Ruto was scheduled to make a private visit to Entebbe but was told to first seek clearance from the Head of public Service.
The DP’s Communication Secretary David Mugonyi said Ruto and his team arrived at Wilson Airport, all set for his second trip to Uganda but he could not be cleared for take-off.
“We’re surprised the Deputy President was denied clearance to go on a planned private visit to Uganda. It’s our officers who always handle his travels, all these years, this has not happened,” said Mugonyi.
“He was told that he had to first seek clearance from the head of public service, when he called Joseph Kinyua, he said he wasn’t aware of such a directive.”
In his twitter account, Ruto tweeted,” It’s alright… tumwachie Mungu.”
Apart from Harun, the DP was scheduled to travel with MPs Sudi (Kapsaret), Benjamin Tayari (Kinango) and Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu).
Others included Dr David Langat Bett, Dr Eric Ruto and Elijah Rono.
Former Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen linked Ruto’s woes to the recent Kiambaa by-election in which the Jubilee candidate lost to United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
Murkomen claimed President Uhuru Kenyatta was punishing his deputy because of the recent by-election loss.
“President has blocked the DP from performing his official duties and now he is blocking him from his private engagements. This is a ridiculous show of deep sense of insecurity and tactlessness,” he tweeted.