The story of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Vice President William Ruto is fascinating and equally frustrating. Their relationship that started as the coolest and coziest ended up being the corkiest and corniest. Recently, the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) that Kenyatta and former PM Raila Odinga espouse sailed through smoothly despite Ruto’s opposition to it. That’s a big feat for Uhuru and Raila whom I’ll call UhuRaila and a defeat for Ruto, because it’s seen as a nuanced telltale for the 2022 presidential race between Raila and Ruto.
Uhuru and Ruto left the world gobsmacked when they survived the fangs of the International Criminal Court (ICC). They further stunned the world when they used their indictments to win the presidency. The duo stole the show thanks to their dalliance.
Ruto has met his waterloo after Uhuru entered exchanged a handshake with former nemesis-turned ally Odinga. Indeed, the handshake has shaken the UhuRuto. What used to be UhuRuto has become UhuRaila. Uhuru and Ruto always avoid each or send oft-off-the-cuff veiled messages to each other. One of them will be out of office soon while the other will die for it. One is fighting for a legacy while the other is fighting for power. What used to be the garden of Eden for the duo has now become the way of the cross. Between the duo, the stifling political heat resulting from cunning even conning has increased recently mostly from their–––a wee too charged and edgy–––proxies as their bosses give each other wide berth.
Theoretically, Ruto’s in everything though practically, he chickened out a long time ago. Ruto has been opposing the government without getting out of it.
Although Ruto’s opponents have urged Kenyatta to fire or impeach him, Kenyatta has kept mum. Uhuru is keeping his foes closer and friends close.Kenyatta’s stance has been: To my friends everything, to my enemies the law. That’s what’s ongoing in Kenya.
Raila and Ruto have always been involved in open rancour. Ruto has always attacked Raila openly but has fallen short of doing the same to his boss who happens to be the latter’s buddy and partner in the BBI. Raila resonates more with many Kenyans. When he teamed up with Uhuru through the handshake, Kenya has enjoyed peace.
In sum, UhuRuto has hit the rock. It is irreparably damaged. For, looking at how the two co-existed like a crash, we find that they looked like the same while they’re totally different in that one comes from the dynasty while the other from the hustler nation, a moniker for those whose parents were not prominent in Kenya’s political configuration.
Now, it is not if but when the UhuRuto will be buried to pave way for the sprouting of UhuRaila. That’s the tragicomic narrative of UhuRaila.
One thing is obvious though: the death of UhuRuto and the birth of UhuRaila will not wipe Ruto out of Kenya’s political landscape. As he said, he might join anyone who has what it takes to take over from Kenyatta. Is he genuine and serious about this? Is it a ploy to deceive Raila to abandon his potential colleagues for his political peril shall he buy into it? Does Ruto hint about the formation of a RaiRuto marriage? Should we expect another handshake between the two nemeses? Is Uhuru behind this change of heart? There are more questions than answers.
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.