I’m not Kenyan but Tanzanian. What I’m to posit here’s purely out of professional lenses but not political affiliation thanks to its sensitivity. I’m not seeking audacity to establish or have theodicy or deific interpolation amidst the confusion the situation in Kenya asks for and causes all resulting from the schemes for 2022 presidential ambitions.
I invoke the wisdom of the sage that says that you can choose a friend but not a neighbour. Therefore, as a Tanzanian, there’s no way I can avert to be touched upon with what’s ongoing in my neighbours’ houses. By virtue of neighbourhood and professionalism, I’ve the right to address the matter.
Many still remember how president Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and his deputy president William Samoei arap Ruto became ‘UhuRuto’ after the duo shocked the world by pulling a surprise that’s never been seen anywhere as accused persons who were able to get into power and thereafter acquitted of the heinous offences they were charged with. The duo became twins or yin and yang whose bromance their enemies begrudged. Their faces were always packed with beams, camaraderie and power becoming a joint biz.
After securing and safeguarding power and being acquitted of the case, nature took its toll on the two. They started to secretly plot how to extricate themselves from each other’s clasp. Uhuru sought to enjoy his power alone as president without necessarily sharing it with his deputy. Ruto started to plan to keep his clench on power using Uhuru and proving to be a co-owner of power or a kingmaker seeking to be made king by the one he mad one. He wanted to show that the presidency was a shared under a 50/50% basis, as per Johana Ng’eno (MP), one of Ruto’s sidekicks.
Why did they behave the way they did? Uhuru knew that he no longer needed Ruto granted there’s no office in the land that he’d aspire for as former president. He knew how ambitious Ruto is; and that their coalition was not based on love or trust but to clinch power and safety. Uhuru’s inner circle suspect that Ruto can crucify if he gets to power. Ruto knows that the case that brought the duo together is long gone and that Uhuru would not have become president without his support. Ruto wouldn’t have become DP without using Uhuru whose name and networks provided sure wherewithal to power. If the two are compared, Ruto benefited more from Uhuru than the latter did from the former.
The government that they were seeking to take over from supported them for two reasons. Firstly, they were a better enemy than the opposition led by Raila Odinga. Secondly, Uhuru was a member of the outgoing government. The duo played their cards nicely so as to get backing from the Kibaki government. Scratch my back; I’ll scratch yours. Verily, after landing in power, the duo saw to it that Kibaki’s dirty linens–among which are the Anglo-leasing mega scandal and others–weren’t put on the agora for every eye to see and laugh.
By the look of things, Uhuru won’t back Ruto as his once promised quid pro quo. Ruto made a mistake to believe that the communities that delivered them victory are static or UhuRuto’s private estate. Things do change; and they change dramatically. Who knows that Ruto will still have the same appeal to his community let alone Kenya? Who knows if the coming general elections will bring a surprise to the duo? Who knows that the sympathy people had, thanks to the ICC’s indictment, will still be there while the ICC case was terminated many years ago? Similarly, the cant that Uhuru must back Ruto can’t help Kenya. For, politics isn’t about a love story. It’s about interests for both voters and those they vote for.
In sum, to prove that things bichenjanga as Mudavadi would put it, namely–things do change–Uhuru’s already said categorically that he’s working for his legacy. To succeed in doing so, he decided to embark on the handshake with his former foe-turned friend, Raila Odinga who seems to steal thunder. To prove that Ruto is no longer in the equation in succession politics, he wasn’t consulted or invited during the handshake that’s shaken his marriage with Uhuru. As things seem, the bromance between Raila and Uhuru is inexorable and more of the UhuRaila replacing UhuRuto.
Those who want to assess and thereafter gauge what’ll transpire, must consider how the Building Bridges Initiatives–which’s Uhuru’s and Raila’s hobbyhorse–is doing currently. Indeed, Uhuru and Ruto aka UhuRuto’s nothing but the yin and yang that have become like chalk and cheese. What we see now, I can boldly predict; is nothing but the beginning of the end of the entire UhuRuto project, if I may use the term.
By Nkwazi Mhango
The author is a lifetime member of the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador (WANL) and author of over 20 books among which are Africa Reunite or Perish, 'Is It Global War on Terrorism' or Global War over Terra Africana? How Africa Developed Europe and contributed many chapters in scholarly works.