• Project ‘Taming Baba’ is not entirely limited to the handshake, as the President would have us believe.
• Taming Baba has a wider scoped to include a Judas goat that by its ornamental and colourful presence craftily leads all other goats to the slaughterhouse and deftly steps aside to avoid the knife.
During my formative years of teaching at university, one of the greatest irritants was the unceasing flow of gossip, rumour and innuendo swirling around campus.
In her infinite maternal wisdom, my mother would always counsel me with by saying that some jobs naturally place you under the social microscope and everyone peering into the ocular tubes comes away with a different impression of what they have seen. This is precisely where Kenya’s Deputy President finds himself.
Somehow, DP William Ruto has remained the object of unceasing verbalised and scripted attention. Even before I delve into the marrow of this article, suffice it to say that in politics, anyone who gains such scrutiny is definitely one to watch. It matters not whether verbal chatter or media glare is negative or positive.
When the handshake happened, the operant banter was that DP Ruto had been strategically sidelined. When later that year political canon David Murathe fired his salvo at Ruto, many were jolted into exclaiming that the DP's goose was cooked. But alas, the man seems to be more energised than ever before. His political automobile seems to be running on jet fuel, even as his detractors imagine they have upgraded to Shell’s V-Power.
THE KIBRA MATRIX
I recall recently bumping into an ODM stalwart who assured me that Jubilee would not field a candidate in Kibra because of the camaraderie between Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta.
When the handshake happened, the operant banter was that DP Ruto had been strategically sidelined.
When later that year political canon David Murathe fired his salvo at Ruto, many were jolted into exclaiming that the DP's goose was cooked.
With the disclaimer that I am not privy to the inner workings of the Jubilee Party, I retorted that if there is one way Ruto will prove to whoever needs proof that he is still an immovable palisade in the establishment, it would be by his having his way in the Kibra by-election.
When McDonald Mariga eventually and expertly was manoeuvred into the Kibra contest, political tongues wagged with uncertainty. When this was capped by none other the President's photo-op endorsement, political mouths gaped. Hearing some politicians explain away the President’s action left me marvelling how the majority of politicians must either be amusingly myopic or unscrupulously deceptive in their analytical orientations. The endgame, however, is that once again, Ruto has craftily flexed his muscle, even as the gallivanting political regiments shout themselves hoarse.
UHURU IS NOBODY'S DULLARD
Methinks President Kenyatta should decisively gag some of these politicians who masquerade as his violinists. In the process of raising a cacophony, they are inadvertently casting him as a man who is lost at sea and needing the acumen of his deputy to navigate raging waters.
Far from it, I know the President to be a man of cool nerves who prefers to ‘cheza chini’ as he basks in the pleasantries of his charisma. Those politicians grandstanding on tabletops about how Ruto arm-twisted or cajoled the President into endorsing Mariga should best be informed that he is nobody’s fool. In fact, I am persuaded into thinking that this brigade of politicos is pitifully misinformed and irremediably misadvised in equal measure.
Further evidence of misjudgment is the manner in which this group keeps sermonising that by virtue of his hard tackles against Raila, Ruto does not respect his boss.
I doubt if it takes a 10-year-old to figure that no deputy would so brazenly disregard his boss and with such predictable repetition. I find it asininely implausible that a group of political brains can mount a podium and hypothesise that in Ruto, the President has a deputy who is so blinded by ambition that he has set out to redefine incumbent's irrelevancy by changing the symbolic syntax from lame duck to crippled duck.
DEFYING 'MAN OF THE MOMENT' TAG
The phrase Man of the Moment is a transitory reference to a person who by stature or by evaluated deed is on everyone’s lips but only for a short time.
Ruto has defied the man of the moment tag beyond belief.
He has remained an almost ineradicable fixture in mainstream and social media. Negative innuendo about him is always at a crescendo. His detractors would have us believe that he is the perennial scapegoat for everything wrong with the Jubilee government. And yet, those who know the DP well contend that he is the zing and fizz that keeps the Jubilee juggernaut in motion.
Ruto has defied the man of the moment tag beyond belief.Ken Ouko
The manner in which Ruto has offered his broad shoulders to stoically carry the dregs of all negativity imaginable can only attest to his nature as a force of one. He has single-handedly borne the weight of every bit of negativity in the Jubilee government.
His ability to still smile through it each time he mounts a podium can only be reflective of a man of elemental political suavity. Kenyans today find an easygoing scapegoat in Ruto. Every building whose ownership is indeterminable belongs to the DP; every hotel that benefits from decisive refurbishment is Ruto’s newest acquisition; no corruption scandal passes the Twitter test minus a rundown on William Ruto.
Ruto somehow seems to jump through every one of the flaming hoops cast in his path. The latest one of demonetisation has, however, had discerning Kenyans re-evaluating their perception of the Deputy President.
When Uhuru dropped the demonetisation stink bomb in Narok, the busybodies went into overdrive claiming that it was a masterstroke to smoke out his deputy and his money-hoarding brigade. The grapevine was afire with how Ruto’s people all had domestic vaults with cash and that by the President’s action, the Ruto wing’s financial muscle would soon be turned into bare bone.
Well, the demonetisation spectacle has come and passed with such an anticlimactic fizzle that Twitter decided to allocate more space to the ferry car-sinker. Again, Ruto walks on.
As Kenyans wait for Central Bank’s explanation of where Sh7.4 billion of the old ‘ngiri’ vamoosed, what is of note is that not a single individual associated with the DP was caught in the crosshairs of the demonetisation sniper’s rifle.
There were no frantic spiders scrambling through the crevices of mansions wall-papered with one thousand notes.
Is RUTO UHURU'S JUDAS GOAT?
The Judas goat is a prized possession of every livestock keeper.
It is an ornamental animal that is used by ranchers to find escapee goats that disappear into the wild. This goat would be painted in bright colour and fitted with a bell, then set free to find the escapee goats targeted for elimination. Despite its role of calculated treachery, the Judas goat typically lives longer than other goats because it is used to herd fellow goats into the slaughter. Then it is which it is permitted to triumphantly stroll away, gloating and awaiting the next betrayal task.
As I keenly watch the political landscape unravel, I find myself nursing the sneaking feeling that Uhuru is being foxily duplicitous in how he is handling the jig-mix between his foxy deputy and the enigmatic Raila.
As I see it, project ‘Taming Baba’ is not entirely limited to the handshake as the President would have us believe. Taming Baba has wider scope to include a Judas goat that by its ornamental and colourful presence craftily leads all other goats to the butcher and steps aside to avoid the knife.
My knowledge of President Kenyatta pedestals him as the reluctant King who never really bargained for the trappings and demands of power and instead views with disdain the curtailing of his freedoms. The Uhuru I know does not have the patience for the rough and tumble of podium politics. Even more so, he views Baba’s disruptive brand of politics as a winger-banger derailment of his Big Four agenda.
It is from this assessment of our Mr President that I am persuaded to believe that Ruto comes in handy as a tailor-made Judas goat: vexingly bold, aberrantly fearless and regimentally available for his troops.
Anyone who doubts me should apply just a tiny proportion of face-reading and body-lingua skills every time Ruto takes the microphone. He oozes the confidence of a Judas goat that knows only too well that his task is to lead those marked for culling from the political scene to the abattoir and then nonchalantly stroll on.
Just look at how he has now kept the entire ODM squadron camped in Kibra, ostensibly changing tack from their preferred podium ranting to meeting the Kibra people door-to-door.
To the ODM folks, the thought that Ruto’s candidate could win the Kibra seat must be a 'The Nightmare on Elm Street 1-4'all rolled into one indigestible blockbuster that is scary beyond proportion but capable of drawing judgmental audiences closely resembling wolf packs thirsty for blood.