By Kipkoech Tanui
Today, allow me to address Deputy President William Ruto.
I will aspire to be respectful and
courteous, but I will also balance this with strong opinions that he needs hear, if he hasn’t.
I take cognisance of two issues here; first, politians don’t like what they ought to hear, instead, they
extol sycophancy, especially by those who have a personal stake in their upward movement.
That is why when a politician is falling, he has fewer and fewer friends, at other times, smiling people jam their home, office and even the gyms they visit.
The second issue is that Ruto is a suave mobiliser, and in fact, was until recently, a candidate for the
Nobel Prize for Chemistry, given the way he demonstrated that you could actually mix water and oil.
We shall come to this Kikuyu Kalenjin political romance issue shortly.
I almost forgot to tell you what his friends tell me; that he has a little
challenge in keeping pals because of the premium of political brilliance he has placed on himself.
I am somehow qualified to write about Ruto for first, I was the first journalist to do his personal profile in a newspaper 17 years ago when he joined Parliament.
He was relatively unknown.
At the time,he told me he wanted to be in politics for 15 years because he didn’t consider (like the rest of the folk) that Parliament was a retirement home.
I would remain his friend in the years to follow, getting his insights on the happenings in the country now and then, particularly because of a
common friend; Mr Kipruto arap Kirwa.
I tell you what, Ruto found his place in history majority because Kalenjins were not prepared for the exit of former President Moi from power in 2002.
He was Kanu’s Director of Elections, and Mr Uhuru Kenyatta’s right handman in the takeover after Moi.
Walking a few steps back, you will find that it was then considered treasonable to ask Moi to name or
even groom a successor in Kalenjin politics.
Only three prominent people tried this: Kirwa, Kipkorir Menjo of Eldoret and Jackson Kibor.
Now you can imagine the tonnage of criticism they received from people walking the corridors of power then:
Nicholas Biwott, Kipkalya Kones (deceased), Ezekiel Barng’etuny (deceased) and Mark Too, just to name a few.
Having served under their tutelage as a YK-92 official and the loyalist youth, Ruto had a sense of timing.
This is discernible from how he dramatically joined politics by flooring the late Reuben Chesire
for the Eldoret North parliamantary seat, against whom the campaign ran that he was a Tugen imposed on Nandis.
The second supporter of this fact is that when Moi left power, the effect in Rift Valley was shocking and
was summed up by the tears of Madam Sally Kosgey.
The community felt orphaned; I mean it had been in power, for that is how they saw it, for 24 years!
Then as the powerful Kalenjin personalities around Moi retreated to the periphery of national affairs, the
Kiraitu Murungis and Chris Murungarus of this world started insulting Moi, as top Kalenjins in positions of influence on government were retired.
Two people stepped out to defend Moi; first was Raila Odinga,
the unlikeliest of the Narc brood, and Ruto.
That is how Ruto came to command that deep respect — he occupied the vacuum of Kalenjin ‘defender’ when few would have dared speak.
That way, the community embraced him, despite his fair share of little failings that we all have in life.
It is this anti-Kibaki, and by extension, anti-Kikuyu posture, that led Ruto into Raila’s arms in 2007, and it is exactly what came between him and the Son of Jomo who then went on to join the Kibaki campaign
In 2013, the game changed.
Ruto who five years earlier wasn’t convinced Raila would be ‘marketable’ to Kalenjins chose to use ‘political mathematics’ and
the ICC umblical cord shared with Uhuru, to create a parternship.
He called it peace-making!
But a year into power, there is grumbling in his backyard; about how diluted Kalenjin (for URP is just
but a cover) shareholding in Jubilee and Government is.
You see, the reasons for these are
First, Ruto promised them heaven and earth, if they voted him and Uhuru to power.
That indeed is music to the ear of a community that “hasn’t known the
coldness of opposition benches” except between 2002-2007.
Secondly, Uhuru clearly goes by the tradition of Kenya’s politics.
He has left the Kibaki’s pseudo-
political power network intact in his Government through five main characters: Brigadier (rtd)
Michael Gichangi, Mr Francis Kimemia, Mr Mutea Iringo, Mr Joseph Kinyua and Madam Anne Waiguru.
In closing, what Ruto may need to reflect on is how perception rather than objectivity, drives Kalenjin
That is why you have started hearing of the shameful leaflets asking members of Uhuru’s community to start leaving certain areas.
It is also the reason why “Governor of Governors’ Isaac Ruto told him bluntly; that among the Kalenjins, the alliance has turned out to be between just Ruto and Uhuru!
Thirdly, Ruto’s opponents have come up with this claim, whose veracity or untruth only he and Uhuru knows; that there was a cash transaction in the ‘merger’ and so Ruto’s hands are tied because that ‘business’ was sealed long ago.
From where some of us sit, it is getting obvious by the day that Ruto cannot gag his Kalenjin critics by
calling them names.
No, they will get more popular
because they are espousing the same grievances that made and torpedoed Samoei into the hightable
of national politics.
In short, if Ruto deals with it rudely, arrogantly, and dismissively, it can only get worse because here, decent truisms like Kenya has 42 tribes who also have to benefit from State
largesse, won’t gloss over the perceptions that Uhuru wants his guys where the purse is bigger.
So what are we telling Ruto?
Simple, that what made him is what will break him if is he does not
change tact, for this is the nature of relationships saddled with a lot of baggage and suspicions —many times perception and reality are at war and the truth is the casualty.
URP and TNA must be seen to be Landlords in the jubilee Coalition deal;URP must not be perceived to be mere tenants in Kalenjin land.
It’s all a matter of perceptions,reality aside.
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