ALLIES TURNED FOES

Raila's sweet revenge on Ruto

DP's allies say ODM leader has always been holding a grudge against Deputy President for deserting him in 2010

In Summary
  • Raila's backers say Kenyans should celebrate for realising the DP's vindictiveness
  • Ruto has tormented ODM leader and painted him as a political conman who is unfit to be President
Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga in 2018
RAILA-RUTO: Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga in 2018
Image: FILE

Opposition chief Raila Odinga has pulled off an act of sweet revenge against DP William Ruto after nearly a decade of bitter political rivalry as things fall apart in the ruling Jubilee Party.

Since 2013, Ruto has wounded the ODM leader with his sarcastic taunts, ridiculed Raila and sometimes painted the former Prime Minister as a political conman unfit for the presidency.

 
 

As Raila licked his political wounds, smarting from two electoral defeats in which Ruto was a key player, the DP marketed himself as President Uhuru Kenyatta's heir apparent, often saying he was only a heartbeat away from State House.

But in just two years after the handshake, Raila, in a profound political tact has turned tables on Ruto.

The former PM is now Uhuru's political soulmate and the duo appear to be gleefully annihilating Ruto's 2022 presidential chances.

The Jubilee Party, on whose ticket the DP was hoping to run in 2022, is crumbling and Ruto's allies are being axed from senior parliamentary and executive jobs to pave way for Raila and his Nasa brigade.

However, for Raila's allies, its no time for victory just yet.

“There is not bitter or sweet revenge. There is nothing personal between Raila and Ruto,” ODM Chairman John Mbadi said.

He said it is Kenyans who should be celebrating for realising who Ruto is.

 
 

“Ruto is such a vindictive and disrespectful politician who lacks humility and emotional stability to lead the country. Kenyans have realised they can't elect such a leader. They need someone better,” the National Assembly Minority leader told the Star.

Already, Raila is poised to get a key job in President Uhuru's government to superintend the country's economic recovery, as Ruto is slowly pushed out.

A unity government that would bring on board other key opposition leaders is on the cards.

Ruto's allies yesterday claimed that Raila has always been scheming to teach "Ruto a political lesson"

"It is obvious that Raila has kept a grudge against Ruto since the DP deserted him. That is why Raila is busy fighting to bring Jubilee Party down so that he can actualise his sinister agenda against the son of a Kenyan peasant,"  Kimilili MP Didmas Barasa said.

There is not bitter or sweet revenge. There is nothing personal between Raila and Ruto
Mbadi

 

Nyali MP Mohamed Ali said the schemes being orchestrated by Ruto's political adversaries to block him from ascending to power could confirm Raila's pursuit of the DP.

"Kenyans will reject, by a huge margin, leaders imposing themselves or being pushed by anybody. Raila is busy celebrating that he has managed to fix the DP in a grand revenge mission."

In the last two elections, Raila complained that he was being rigged by the State machinery but Ruto laughed off the claims.

But it's the same machinery Ruto now claims is being used "by the system" to derail his 2022 presidential bid.

Ruto has said in public that the  DCI is being used to destroy his office and put roadblocks on his path to State House.

Last week, Kapsaret MP Oscar Sudi said when the time comes, they will expose those who assassinated former IEBC manager for ICT Chris Msando.

Msando was murdered a week to the August 8, 2017, elections and in what others said was a scheme to rig the polls.

At the time, not even Ruto's allies were willing to entertain that debate.

Ruto fell out with Raila in 2010 over the controversial Mau Forest evictions and quit ODM to unsuccessfully join United Democratic Movement Party. He finally formed the United Republican Party (URP).

In his Kalenjin community, Ruto painted Raila as the common enemy who engineered their eviction from the Mau Complex while serving as PM.

The DP had also whipped ethnic support projecting Raila as the architect of his woes at the International Criminal Court.

Ruto's political machinations locked Raila out of the Rift Valley as the Jubilee Coalition swept parliamentary seats across the region where ODM hitherto enjoyed massive support.

“Raila is having a good time. Raila is enjoying his moment. Raila has been smart from the time of the handshake and everything seems to be falling into his plan. Ruto seems to have lost,” political analyst Macharia Munene said.

However, ex-Kitutu Masaba MP Timothy Bosire yesterday denied that Raila is in a celebratory mood to revenge against Ruto.

According to Bosire, Ruto plunged himself into his current political mess.

“Revenge is neither here nor there. Because of his selfish interests, disrespect for the President and sabotage for the President's agenda, Ruto missed the opportunity to work cohesively with the President and acted in a manner to derail the President's objectives,” Bosire said.

The ODM national treasurer said Uhuru reached out to Raila to create a partnership that would enable him to fill the void left by a “selfish deputy” to deliver on his agenda for the country and not to revenge on Ruto.

“The DP may misinterpret that the ODM leader could be taking up his gap to revenge. Raila is known to create rapport even when he unfairly loses. Raila is not known to revenge,” Bosire told the Star.

The DP has previously launched scathing attacks on Raila, calling him mchawi (wizard), Mganga (witchdoctor) and a storyteller who has no development credentials to seek the high office.

He has painted Raila as a tribal leader keen on entrenching political dynasty in his Nyanza backyard as well as at the national level.

In one of the instances, in the heated 2017 repeat presidential polls, Ruto claimed that the opposition leader practices witchcraft and that he seeks the services of witchdoctors at night.

“When Uhuru Kenyatta is planning how we are going to build friendships and brotherhood and unity among Kenyans, he says "tuko pamoja", meanwhile that witchdoctor is saying "Tialala" or "Tibim". So how will a witchdoctor compete with a God-fearing person?,” Ruto said on August 28, 2017.

The DP has also likened Raila to a hyena in a sheep's wool alleging that the ODM boss is practising politics of deceit and conmanship to derail his 2022 presidential ambitions.

“Baba, so you are saying this whole handshake/BBI was petty personality schemes. Supporting others I was good/clean boy,"mweupeee kama pamba". Now the same WSR should be investigated. Space/time for such deceit/conmamship is over;we are wiser. Be leaders. Be truthful. Wacha utapeli,” Ruto tweeted on December 29,2019.

Ruto, a once high flying politician with unfettered access to the President, has now been relegated from the nerve centre of power with the coronavirus pandemic further locking up his usual outbursts.

However, the ODM leader is now Uhuru's key political confidant with politicians and analysts arguing that Raila has earned himself space at the heart of the President's succession matrix.

Ruto's allies believe the revenge-is-sweet wrath by Raila triggered the political earthquake in Jubilee, a vehicle that was ironically cobbled to vanquish the opposition leader's State House ambitions.

 

Edited by P.O