The Year 2019 is behind us. And the year was marked by plenty of tragi-comic shows. Forget about Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko clowning as traffic Marshall at a train station in Paris. That one is now the new normal for the Governor and would not make a headline even of a student-training publication in some makeshift media school in the neighbourhood of Mua Hills. I know many are occupied with wonder of how we let a thug and clown like this to run and ruin the most important county in the nation with more than 4 million people. Indeed East Africa’s second largest economy after Kenya. But the arch-clown of 2019 remains one William Kipchirchir Samoei arap Ruto, who tragically also doubles as the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya.
Unlike veteran scribe Philip Ochieng’, I do not wish to accuse the press. However, I know that in Kenya the profession is now heavily infested with lazy, rent-seeking quarks masquerading as journalists. So, when they refer to Ruto as “front-runner” in 2022 presidential race, I just nod in acknowledgement that the capture is indeed complete. All I know is that apart from Ruto, no contestant has declared their candidature for the position of President of the Republic of Kenya (PORK) in the August 2022 elections. So, Ruto is running against himself and leading. Although uttered in a different context, Malindi legislator Aisha Jumwa was right when she declared that Ruto is not a front-runner but the only runner. I was socialised to regard a person who enters the track before the race to run alone as either insane or a clown. But I have no reason to believe that our Deputy President is insane. That would be a ground for his removal from that lofty office.
In the race against himself, Ruto has come to believe that he is running against Raila Odinga. This is crap even if it’s his obsession. Odinga has not said he will be in the presidential race when that time comes. Many have urged him to while a sizeable number even have doubts if he will. But that has not stopped Ruto from getting busy on the campaign trail against him. Clowns are made of this.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s advisors get cheeky at times. One of them must have counselled him that if you want to make Ruto go berserk then start talking and being friendly to Raila Odinga. The man from Sugoi took the bait and swallowed it hook, line and sinker – and it is working marvellously. What with the clowns’ choir conducted by the DP himself and comprising such crooners and poets like Kipchumba Murkomen, Aden Duale and Oscar Sudi?
Since the famous “Handshake” between Kenyatta and Odinga, Ruto and his orchestra had been practising two hits that they released in 2019. One is that Raila has been in politics forever and should retire. The other is that Kenya has been ruled by dynasties since independence and it was time for son of a peasant. Yes, it’s true that Raila Odinga has been in politics of resistance against dictatorship, looting of public coffers and impunity for a long time.
Nine of those years he was in detention in such maximum security facilities as Kamiti, Manyani, Shimo La Tewa and Naivasha prisons while Ruto was stealing our money and land. If at all Ruto has set foot in those jails, it was as a minister where the inmates’ pain were increased manifold by being paraded like prize bulls for him to inspect.
Another of those years in politics Odinga spent in exile when repressive forces that Ruto was then serving as Secretary of Youth for KANU ’92 (YK92) tried to assassinate him. Again, Ruto has never been a refugee all his life and cannot comprehend the pain and indignity that comes with it.
As a matter of fact, Ruto has never done anything else other than being in bad politics, robbing the public and private citizens and being linked to gangs notorious for killing people. That is his resume and we have seen it “live live” for decades. It is going to be on the table come 2022. Stories have been told about the Kiambaa Church massacre in 2007 where we saw kids being thrown back into a burning church when they tried to escape. Many accusing fingers have pointed towards one direction and the International Criminal Court indicted Bill Ruto. Sad indeed.
Now, we take a look at Dynasty versus Hustler narrative. My dictionary defines a dynasty as a line of hereditary rulers of a country. Its broader meaning is a succession of people from the same family who play a prominent role in business, politics or another field. A hustler, on the other hand is defined as a person adept at illicit dealing e.g. a drug peddler, pimp, or one who sells contraband goods.
The second meaning of a hustler is a prostitute. Given these clear meanings, I am not sure whether this nation wants to engage in this Dynasty-Hustler diversion. Trying to be clever by half, Ruto wants to engage the country in a class debate, which to me is welcome. If we were to trigger a class struggle pitting owners of means of production (exploiters) on one side and providers of labor (the exploited) on the other, I have no doubt which side Ruto would be.
Ruto is a Botanist and so he might not be well versed with our country’s history. If he were, he would know that Raila was born to a schoolteacher who had to quit his teaching job in protest against racism and paternalistic attitude of white teachers against their African colleagues.
He was Vice President for less than 16 months (December 1964-April 1966) and spent the remaining thirty years fighting alongside the people against land grabbing, entrenched human rights violations, assassinations, one-party dictatorship and corruption amongst other ills. This came with stints in detention and house arrests. These are by no means trappings of power associated with dynasties.
Ruto says he was born poor and went to school with no shoes. So was I. It’s all right to be born poor in an impoverished country like Kenya. Many of us can relate with that.
It is also normal for persons from such backgrounds to rise, through sheer personal efforts, to become doctors, engineers, lawyers, accountants, teachers etc. and lead comfortable lives.
But when Ruto boasts now that he is big and rich, the question is how he got there. Stealing public and private lands like those belonging to the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority or Ngong Forest or poor Muteshi’s 100 acres. That is the truth, simple and clear.
Ruto is basically telling Kenyans that he has been a very successful thief his entire adult life and for that Kenyans should reward him with the presidency.
Is he clowning when he tells us that he is a “hustler” because he sold chicken? Unless he was selling stolen chicken. Otherwise selling chicken is not hustling.
What should alarm Kenyans is that Ruto isn’t just running against himself. He is clearly sending us a warning on what to expect in the unlikely event that he becomes PORK.
A public statement released by Duale, the Majority Leader in the National Assembly, cannot go unnoticed. In it, Duale delves into folklore about a shepherd who found abandoned lions in the bushes and brought them home to nurture them. Later, the lion cubs become a menace to his lambs, dogs and family. The shepherd eventually throws the lions back to the bush where they “fade away.”
Duale uses the story to warn that Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and his Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho and no doubt many others will face the same fate as those who enjoyed power during Jomo Kenyatta, Moi, and Mwai Kibaki presidencies when there is a change in administration.
He mentions past public servants like Charles Njonjo, Kihika Kimani, Hezekiah Oyugi, Christopher Murungaru and many others. Duale’s message is unambiguous: civil servants considered nasty to his King Ruto will be dealt with once the “cycle” of power comes to the DP and his crew.
Now you can talk about whatever you want but threatening public officials that you will give them the Kihika Kimani treatment is ominous. Kihika worked with some rogue civil servants like Kim Gatende and Provincial Police Chief James Mungai as well as Nakuru Mayor Mburu Gichua to routinely harass Moi and was forced to run into exile as soon as Moi took power to save his life. Is that what awaits some Kenyans if Ruto were to take power from Uhuru? We take notice that Duale’s warning is not some stupid speech made at a funeral in some village. It is an official statement released to the media.
Even Jomo Kenyatta didn’t do anything like that. He made nasty remarks and insulted people but did not issue official public warnings. He was even implicated in political killings and Moi did the same but this era of public warnings is a new thing. We shudder to imagine how many other people are in this list of those who will face the wrath of the assumed next regime?
Nairobi, January 4, 2020.