“My friends from the South Rift allude to
the fact that some Kalenjin opinion shapers have prodded Ruto to obnoxiously raise his national profile just in case the Deputy President is felled by the ICC case”.
By Bernard Wainaina
When everybody else is saying that the UhuruRuto cases at ICC are headed for acquittal,Governor Rutto seems to be gearing up to take advantage of the fall-out of Deputy Presidents eventual conviction at The Hague.
Does he and the CORD Coalition know something that the rest of us don’t know about judicial and political machinations in these cases?
Last week President Uhuru executed a
masterful ‘coup’ on many fronts.
He boxed the International Criminal Court into a very uncomfortable corner.
He also pushed referenda calls to the backburner.
Cord leader Raila Odinga went into a self-
imposed three-week ‘exile’ as the country
awaits the ICC judges’ decision.
But while Raila was away, the foxy Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto cunningly attempted to steal the thunder from Uhuru’s triumphant return by announcing the eventual marriage of Pesa Mashinani and Cord’s Okoa Kenya.
Ironically, Rutto, the face of rebellion within the URP wing of the Jubilee coalition, has shown more enthusiasm for the imminent merger than the Cord brigade.
He has been ‘dancing with the CORD coalition Stars’ Bonny Khalwale, James Orengo and Otieno Kajwang at every stop.
Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula has
openly embraced the governor’s move.
Interestingly, Cord leader Raila Odinga and his co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka have been guarded in embracing the announcement.
Observers argue that the Jubilee leadership
strategically decided to isolate Rutto by whipping its pro-Pesa Mashinani governors to toe the coalition’s line while enticing their Cord counterparts within the council.
The strategy is said to have worked so effectively that Rutto had to seek refuge in Cord while he still had some straws to clutch on to.
This comes approximately one month after Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago goaded Rutto with a zinger that the “A” Council of Governors was against his Pesa Mashinani drive.
“B” Council of governors in this case seems to imply Rutto,painted as a lone ranger in the Jubilee Coalition.
It is therefore no coincidence that the number of pro- Pesa Mashinani governors accompanying Rutto to the open-air dance floors with Khalwale and Kajwang has been shrinking by the day.
Whether or not the Pesa Mashinani or Okoa Kenya initiatives are legitimate is beside the point.
Former Makadara MP Reuben Ndolo has been more forthcoming by stating publicly that Cord intends to “take over the government immediately after the referendum”.
Assuming the de facto leader of Men in Black is speaking for the coalition, then Rutto, with whom he has been sharing the platform, can no longer convincingly argue that he is pushing for more money at the grassroots,but to be a “part of the government after winning OKOA KENYA referendum.
Rutto blew his own cover with his recent pronouncement that he believes a “Raila presidency would have been better for
To understand why Rutto seems isolated within his coalition one must consider the positions of other pro-Pesa Mashinani Jubilee governors.
Governor Munya insists that he is only interested in getting more money to the counties and not the issues raised by Cord.
It was therefore not a surprise when Munya failed to show up at Rutto’s signature launch.
Did Munya and other governors realise that their Bomet counterpart had started gravitating towards Cord and decided not to follow him blindly?
Did Rutto betray other governors who believed that they had a solitary goal to fight for more resources for their counties by unilaterally dragging the Council of Governors into an unplanned marriage with CORD for his own personal political ends?
But exactly what does Rutto want?
First, he is a seasoned politician and most likely knows what he really wants.
My friends from the South Rift allude to
the fact that some Kalenjin opinion shapers have prodded Ruto to obnoxiously raise his national profile just in case the Deputy President is felled by the ICC case.
Others argue that Cord is pushing Rutto
as a gateway to the Kalenjin vote basket.
Can Raila trust Rutto after he lost the presidency in part due to a fallout with Deputy President William Ruto, who is still considered the most influential Kalenjin leader after Moi?
Why would Rutto peg his hope of ascending to power on wishful thinking that Ruto will
fall by the wayside?
National projection aside, Rutto’s latest move must also be understood from a purely local perspective.
The President and Deputy President have purposely stopped any direct reference to the governor.
They have left it to senators Kipchumba Murkomen and Charles Keter and Mandago to respond to him.
In retrospect this implies diminished clout or a
deliberate effort to consign the governor to a lower ‘league’.
The executive should not have responded to Rutto in the first place because there will always be inner party members and ambitious outer party members who are made harmless by allowing them to rise.
There is no better way to clip internal rebellion.
Whether Rutto is playing to the gallery of Kalenjin opinion makers or simply doing Raila’s bidding, the question is where does the Pesa Mashinani-Okoa Kenya marriage leave the governor?
Is this a properly reasoned strategy or a poisoned chalice for Governor Ruttto?
Only time will tell.
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