Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, Gideon Moi unite against DP Ruto
By James Wafula in Nairobi
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta who in his first term appeared to be sharing power together with his Deputy William Ruto at state house in similar suits, has now declared war on his deputy. A re-organisation of government early this year where many state functions were transferred to key cabinet secretaries have left Ruto virtually holding an empty shell.
Before corona pandemic Ruto had been keeping himself busy launching projects, donating to churches and hospitals where he dished out money infront of media cameras. With covid 19 he remains holed up in his Karen house occasionally taking to Twitter to comment on issues. At one time he mourned the demise of a veteran journalist Dismas Barasa but soon critics hounded him wondering if he had become a death announcer for lack of anything to do. Ruto now has every reason to worry over political developments unfolding. The formidable NASA opposition that almost defeated Jubilee in the 2017 is now an empty shell after its Presidential candidate Raila Odinga opted to work with Uhuru cemented by a symbolic handshake March 9, 2018.
Since then Ruto has helplessly watched what he had assumed was "kumi kumi" (10 years for Uhuru and 10 for Ruto) fade into thin air as his key allies in government, Parliament and senate are hounded out one by one and thrown aside. Most of Ruto allies mainly from the Kalenjin ethnic tribe have been embroiled in multi-billion shilling mega scandals that have even caused western donor nations to raise the red flag.
Last year one of Ruto's closest allies Finance cabinet secretary Henry Rotich was sacked, arrested and charged with fraud. He was accused of paying an Italian firm already filing bankruptcy up to Kshs 70 billion to construct dams in the Kerio valley without any due diligence. Infact the firm had not even cleared the bush at the proposed site of the dams, let alone compensating people living on the piece of land. As if all the political angels have conspired against him, Ruto has again lost what he thought could have been a workable alliance.
The decision by Wiper leader Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka to enter a pact with Jubilee is further anguish for Kenya's number two described as a historically jinxed and thankless post. Musyoka is a former Vice President under Mwai Kibaki 2007-2012 and a Kamba politician with massive following in Eastern and parts of the coast. He together with Chama cha Machinani (CCM) of Isaac Ruto (no relation to William Ruto) but a bitter critic, have entered into coalition with Jubilee. Already now working with Jubilee is the massive ODM, virtually the country's single largest political party with near fanatical following in Nyanza, Western, parts of Coast, and North Eastern. With KANU under late Moi son Gideon, also working with Jubilee even some parts of Rift valley are no longer considered safe in Ruto's vote basket. If the community realizes that the Ruto cause is lost, and Kenyans hate to follow losers, many say they could all troop to KANU which they had after all once supported to a man until Ruto's emergence in 2005.
And in any case many argue Ruto cut his political teeth in KANU during the YK92 which battled the multi-party wave in 1992. It is now almost two years to Kenya's fifth transition elections and already a tectonic political shift rocking Nairobi is coalescing into a single super party alliance. This alliance as repeatedly stated by veteran trade unionist Francis Atwoli does not include DP Ruto accused of being the high priest of grand corruption. President Kenyatta navigating his second and last constitutional term is curiously no longer talking about retiring to go home and play with his grandchildren as he had been putting it at every opportunity.
Instead while addressing the nation during the country's Madaraka day June 1, 2020 at state house Nairobi due to fears of the corona virus, Uhuru, 58 spoke of discerning a "constitutional moment" With Odinga nodding his head in approval as a stern faced Ruto watched in stony silence, Uhuru pitched for reforms in the law to "end the cyclic circle" of political violence since the advent of multi-party politics in 1991. Ethnic driven clashes had erupted in different parts of the country during every election since President Moi (rip) reluctantly embraced multi-party democracy ending the KANU one party rule in 1991. Uhuru's "constitutional discernment" is his single most categorical declaration that radical changes to amend the law are in the works. Analysts now say that far from retiring Uhuru could be opting to re-introduce the Prime Minister slot which he would take up and leave Odinga to be President fullfilling a long held ambition by the Luo community. Odinga's father now deceased spent all his life crusading to ascend to State House which eluded him for 30 years. He is said to have one time wished to "sleep in state house even for one night" and at his death he was mourned as "the President who never reigned." Into this matrix could see a host of deputies taking up slots to cater for different ethnic interests.
Gideon Moi of KANU could become Deputy President while Musalia Mudavadi and Musyoka are Deputy Prime Ministers. This would leave tough talking Ruto high and dry like a fish suddenly plucked out of the water and hurled to the ground panting. Indeed as Nigerian author Chinua Achebe once put it in his book "things fall apart" in Nairobi and the centre can no longer hold. For Ruto defeat in 2022 would come as ultimate betrayal of Kenya's thankless politics where allies of today are the enemies of tomorrow and where promises made are rarely kept.
And it is defeat Dr. Ruto will be facing if the current trend of political re-alignment persists to 2022,though as they say a week in politics is a long time and a lot could happen to change the political landscape. For now it is wait, watch and scheme as Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) leader Dr. Milton Obote (rip) once put it after the overthrow of Idi Amin in April 1979. Obote then exiled in Tanzania was said to be an "astute politician" waiting and scheming for his return to power in 1980 as one President after another fell by the wayside. Ruto may well borrow a few lessons from Obote and UPC, especially his friend President Museveni, if he hopes to capture power in 2022. Museveni who has no love lost for Raila, is said to be solidly supporting William Ruto's Presidential bid in 2022■