Kenya’s Deputy President, William Ruto, is in a political limbo. Why? The following reasons speak volumes as to why Ruto won’t make it to the statehouse in the coming general elections.
Firstly, Ruto wrongly believed that his political marriage with Kenyatta was the upshot of love although he knew that this was a marriage of inconvenience necessitated by the then looming ICC case that the duo faced. Maybe, he thought he’d outsmart or change Kenyatta before being outsmarted or shortchanged. Ruto knew that ganging up with Kenyatta would give him an opportunity to take a stab at power and receive support from the then government of Mwai Kibaki. Indeed, Ruto survived by using Kenyatta. On Kenyatta’s side, he used Ruto to access Kalenjin votes. This averted the duo the danger they were temporarily facing together. The relationship was a strategy for survival that enabled the duo to get assistance from the government and presidency.
Ruto survived on Kenyatta’s back and forgot that they were equal. He started behaving as a co-president instead of deputy, forgetting that presidency requires no interference or co-ownership. Refer to what happened when Kibaki and Odinga entered the GNU not to mention the neighboring South Sudan. Had Ruto lived under the wings of his boss, he would now be grinning instead of being grumpy.
Secondly, Ruto needs to blame and curse his overconfidence. Kenyatta grew up in a political family. He also enjoyed the backing and tutelage of Moi and Kibaki. Ruto forgot that almost all Kenya’s presidents were supported by someone to get to power. Kenyatta senior was supported by Odinga Senior. Moi by Kenyatta Sr and Kibaki by Odinga Jr and soon Odinga Jr will be supported by Kenyatta Sr paying his father’s debt. Who’s Ruto to disturb this legacy and strategy?
Thirdly, Ruto underestimated Kenyatta who’s smarter and more pre-emptive than Ruto. He started acting as a co-president while he wasn’t. By acting as a co-president, Ruto exposed himself, mainly when he started to be linked with venality and amassing wealth illegally. Failure to think that being a deputy president didn’t give Ruto automatic power of sharing power is the mistake he’ll forever regret. This is an albatross around his neck. It’s very hard to dispel or overcome. It becomes even harder when a tycoon like Ruto runs under the slogan of hustler that he realistically isn’t. Sane people would want him to explain how he quickly amassed his mammon.
Fourthly, Ruto refused to learn from history, especially that of his mentor and cloner, Moi who tolerated many blitzes and degradation from Kenyatta’s inner circle. This assured Kenyatta that if anything would happen as it did, he or his family would be in safe hands. What Ruto did is to count chickens before hatching.
Fifthly, Ruto failed to study Kenyatta’s decoys, namely caginess, clandestineness, unfussiness and wiliness. Kenyatta waited for the right moment to foray back, and he succeeded without any ado. So did Odinga. When Kenyatta pretended that he was comfortable with Ruto’s behaving and thinking he’s co-president, Ruto bit a bait. Had he not done this, he would have been preparing himself to succeed his boss.
By Nkwazi Mhango
Mhango is a lifetime member of the Writers' Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador (WANL), an expert in Terrorism 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 on many issues.