ANOTHER HANDSHAKE?

WAIKENDA: Why Uhuru and Ruto should reconcile

The two gentlemen listen to the Catholic bishops, get to the table and discuss their differences

In Summary

• Whatever ails the relationship between Uhuru and Ruto is something the two can work to overcome.

• There are no permanent enemies in politics and therefore, such a reconciliation bid is fathomable

Why Uhuru and Ruto should reconcile
Why Uhuru and Ruto should reconcile
Image: OZONE

A mule, frolicsome from lack of work and from too much corn, galloped about in a very extravagant manner, and said to himself: "My father surely was a high-mettled racer, and I am his own child in speed and spirit."

On the next day, being driven a long journey, and feeling very wearied, he exclaimed in a disconsolate tone: "I must have made a mistake; my father, after all, could have been only an ass."

For the last three years, many Kenyans have been asking what happened between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto that they moved from being best of friends to people who cannot stand each other.

None of the two has ever come out clearly to reveal what the issue is and what happened between them that they seem to be speaking from different places while leading the same government.

We may, just like the mule, not know the truth as it often has two sides but from their history, Uhuru and Ruto deserve to be seeing eye to eye. They have been pillars of unity in Kenya and they should, therefore, work to ensure they are on the same page.

Last week, Catholic Bishops made a statement urging the President and his deputy to reconcile and offered themselves as mediators. They urged them to put peace first, and not create an environment that could cause election violence next year.

In 2009, I started working for the then Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta. I remember vividly when the ICC cases were pitted against him and five others, and how Uhuru and Ruto united.

At the time, they came together under the Tuko Pamoja rallies to unite two communities that had always fought against each other, especially during the elections. Ethnic clashes had become a normal occurrence particularly between the Kikuyu and the Kalenjin, and they stopped after the two united.

As a result, they ended up uniting even more Kenyans across the country and gained the support of millions who supported their election bid in 2013 and 2017. Their government was a result of the unity they had cultivated after the 2010 referendum.

Their fallout was surprising but not unique to Kenyan and African history. Mzee Jomo Kenyatta fell out with Jaramogi Odinga, while the late President Daniel Moi also fell out with Mwai Kibaki and instead supported Uhuru to succeed him instead of the man who had served as his vice president.

There is talk that Uhuru is also preparing to not support Ruto’s presidential and instead back an opposition candidate. He will not be the first President to do so.

In 2019, former Botswana President Ian Khama told his supporters he was supporting the opposition against the ruling Botswana Democratic Party. Khama, skipped his then-deputy Mokgweetsi Masisi and quit the ruling party to support the opposition candidate.

In Swahili, they say yaliyopita si ndwele, tugange yaajayo.

Whatever ails the relationship between Uhuru and Ruto is something the two can work to overcome. There are no permanent enemies in politics and therefore, such a reconciliation bid is fathomable and besides, it’s not for personal interests, rather for a peaceful nation.

Also, politics does not necessarily have to be a zero-sum game. A reconciliation with Ruto doesn’t mean the DP and Raila cannot work together for the betterment of our nation. A peaceful and prosperous nation supersedes individuality.

It is, therefore, important that the two gentlemen listen to the Catholic bishops, get to the table and discuss their differences. It may just be a difference of opinion and actions rather than principles since the two outlined the same agenda for Kenya in their 2013 and 2017 manifestos.

Additionally, it serves them better to be on the same side in these last days of the Jubilee government. Their success and failures are stuck with them collectively as President and Deputy President. Their political differences should not be seen to divide them more.