It Is Not Easy For Ruto To Replace Raila As The PM
The merchants of impunity comprising known economic racketeers, principal post-election violence perpetrators, KKK and PNU ethnic chauvinists have figured out an ingenious multi-pronged strategy whose primary objective is to undermine the ICC process and protect the Ocampo Six, undermine the implementation of the constitution, and forcefully succeed President Kibaki in order to perpetuate impunity.
First, the original intention was to frustrate all efforts aimed at bringing to justice key perpetrators of the post-election violence. But they miscalculated and thought that “because the ICC process would take 100 years to investigate the crimes and indict those most responsible”, they needed to undermine the establishment of a credible local judicial mechanism aimed at having those perpetrators tried. They coined a hilarious song called “Don’t be vague; vote for The Hague!” The song was so intoxicating that it actually won the day in our lethargic Parliament. Previously, the same ethnic chauvinists and merchants of impunity had ganged up and “forced” the cabinet to refer the matter to Parliament where ethnicity and the mighty shilling became equally intoxicating.
Second, once the merchants of impunity blocked the local tribunal route, the Prime Minister became an inevitable target. The aim is simple: try to destroy the PM’s political base (ODM) so that when snap elections are strategically called (and they intend to call them), the merchants of impunity can mobilize their ethnic constituencies and prevail.
The strategy is to delay or frustrate the ICC process until one of the Ocampo Six is able to run for President while the other becomes his running mate. That’s why they have undermined statement-taking proceedings before Justice Rawal; made numerous applications before the High Court and at the ICC; engaged in the deferral ploy at the IGAD, AU and the UN Security Council; and unilaterally made unconstitutional and unprocedural nominations to key constitutional offices without consulting the PM. They want to do everything possible to divert attention from important national issues and cast everything as zero-sum-game political games about succession.
The thinking is that if they take power – by force or through fraud - they can effectively thumb their noses at the ICC, indictments or not. That’s why there has been a withering onslaught on the PM, primarily funded by the national security agency and our taxes, with express approval from the higher-ups. There is mortal fear that if the PM ascends to the Presidency, he will fully cooperate with the ICC and not permit the merchants of impunity to transform Kenya into a failed state where criminality is the order of the day. This group doesn’t care about national stability, peace, security or national cohesion. For them, everything starts and ends with their selfish parochial political interests. So, they are prepared to destroy anybody and anything that they think will prevent them from grabbing power.
When the PM leads efforts to conserve our water towers and the environment so that the raging famine and starvation can be permanently arrested, the merchants of impunity cry out that “rain comes from the sky” and that the PM is targeting their people. And when the PM insists that the rule of law, constitutionalism and respect for human rights must be adhered to, the looters, land grabbers and racketeers accuse him of vindictiveness. Whether the PM is leading the campaign for the new constitution, the implementation of the new constitution and Agenda Four reforms, the agents of impunity desperately try to caricature him.
The third strategic intention of the merchants of impunity is to undermine the complete implementation of the constitution. They fear that if the devolution, bill of rights and the land provisions are implemented, their interests will be jeopardized. That fear is actually justified because the National Land Commission has a mandate to investigate how public land has been abused over the years. With devolution and the bill of rights, hoarding power for improper purposes will be a thing of the past.
To fast-track their agenda, William Ruto has declared that he wants to replace Raila as the PM. His KKK chauvinists have threatened to gang up against Raila in Parliament. They believe that they have the numbers. But even if they do, which I doubt, that’s not how Raila can be removed legally. There are only two ways to replace Raila, none of which is easy.
One, Ruto may choose to take him on in ODM. Once Ruto becomes the ODM leader, he would automatically be sworn in as PM. But Ruto knows that it would require ODM’s national delegates’ conference to vote him in. He’s aware that at an ODM’s NDC, the unreliable 25 or so MPs he’s flaunting amount only to a maximum of 25 votes. Even with Ruto’s billions and the PNU resources, he cannot garner more than 50 votes at an ODM’s NDC. How then will be become PM?
Well, Ruto has a second option; that of amending the National Accord, which is entrenched in the Constitution. But that isn’t as easy as it sounds. Amending the Constitution requires the support of two-thirds of all MPs. Even if we assume that the KKK brigade will support him to a person (which cannot be guaranteed), where will he get two-thirds of Parliament to execute his plot? It was the National Accord that formed the coalition and gave a mandate to both the President and the PM. President Kibaki didn’t win the 2007 election. So, under what constitutional authority would Kibaki be able to disband the coalition government and form a government of national unity or do the merchants of impunity want to see him being whacked over another unconstitutional action? The Accord states that neither side can govern without the other. It also states that “a coalition is a partnership with commitment on both sides to govern together and push through a reform agenda for the benefit of all Kenyans.”
Ruto has another alternative: he and his 25 supporters can resign from ODM, form another party, return to Parliament through by-elections and gather the largest number of MPs into a coalition outside PNU and ODM to be able to be named as the new PM. Without leading the majority party in Parliament, he is out of luck. And he must remember that leading PNU is out of the question. PNU 'owners' won’t allow it. As well, President Kibaki is unlikely to cede power to him. Moreover, the national accord provides that the leader of PNU becomes President while the ODM leader becomes PM.
Clearly, the merchants of impunity have exposed themselves to Kenyans. They have projected themselves as parochial selfish individuals who don’t care about the public good. Luckily, they have confirmed to Kenyans that Raila Odinga is a visionary, courageous and selfless leader who is prepared to sacrifice his political ambitions for the sake of the country. It's obvious that the schemes against Raila shall fail.
Miguna is the PM’s advisor on Coalition Affairs. The views expressed here are his own.