FIMBO YA NYAYO HANDOVER

Is Gideon ready to take on Ruto?

DP, unlike Gideon, learnt from the grandmaster that money speaks.

In Summary
  • Rift Valley politicians had a different impression whenever they met the younger Moi for lunch.
  • Gideon wasn’t pampering them the way Ruto did.

The scion sprouted when the totem pole of the Daniel arap Moi clan crashed. The undercurrent of the funereal spontaneity is this, ‘The king is dead, long live the king.’ But the allusion does not fit the Moi succession plot.

There is no dynasty in Kenya where power flows, without contest, through the bloodline. There is also no such a thing as a ‘hustler nation’. The divisive propaganda seeks sympathy, and a leg up, where none should be proffered.

Moi had many sons—some biological and some political. Gideon Kipsiele is Moi’s biological blue-eyed scion, Deputy President William Ruto is the political son. Ruto learnt Moi’s ways from a close range, as a party activist, MP, assistant minister and minister in the Kanu regime. But Ruto did not merely observe Moi’s ways, he had an eye on the future. The future is due in 2022.

The enduring lesson Ruto took from Moi is the politics of the carrot and stick. He dangles these with the confidence of a seasoned gambler. He learnt from the feet of the master of political patronage—the ‘king’ himself.

The phrase ‘The King is dead, long live the king’, which political pundits and bandits bandy in the Moi succession, is farfetched. The proclamation follows the ascension of a new monarch. A royal death is announced simultaneously with the assurance of continuity in the citadel. The heir assumes royal duties the minute the predecessor dies.

Raymond Moi, the eldest of the Moi sons, stepped aside for his younger brother, Gideon, to inherit patriarch Moi’s political rungu. Except for its propaganda value in the Uhuru succession, the Moi symbolism is far from the dynamics of royal transition.

There is competition outside the Moi clan, where a ‘parallel king’ has been on the mint for decades. A rank outsider, Ruto, ‘snatched’ the crown from the prince.

Ruto spent on Rift Valley delegates to win their loyalty. Whenever they met, he would pay the bill, and dish out something more for petrol. He was scheming for ODM presidential nominations. Ruto played the script the same way Moi did during the years he understudied the grandmaster. The mentorship worked.

The outsider watched, with doubt racing across his face, as the prince received the symbol of power from his elder brother. Raymond should have been the first in the ascension rump. Gideon and Ruto, the self-declared hustler who raided the citadel, shall fight it out. Snatching the crown in 2007 was easy, but retaining it may be a challenge for the DP, now that Gideon has recharged to reboot Kanu.

Those who know have always shared inside information on how Ruto outpaced Gideon to win over most Rift Valley MPs. Ruto wanted leverage to bargain for a strategic position in the change-charged ODM campaign.

Indications were Raila Odinga would win, as he did, the 2007 presidential vote. Ruto needed to be closer to the centre of power. This was then an investment for his future presidential ambitions.

Ruto spent on Rift Valley delegates to win their loyalty. Whenever they met, he would pay the bill, and dish out something more for petrol. He was scheming for ODM presidential nominations.

Ruto played the script the same way Moi did during the years he understudied the grandmaster. The mentorship worked.

Gideon was always the apple of his father’s eye, but he had not mastered the trick of attracting followers. The Moi scion was raw in that realm in 2007, when the DP grabbed his birthright right from under his feet.

Rift Valley politicians had a different impression whenever they met the younger Moi for lunch. Gideon wasn’t pampering them the way Ruto did. The DP had learnt in the Moi school of politics that money speaks.

He rallied most of Rift Valley, especially Kalenjin MPs, around ODM. There were promises: If Raila had been sworn in as president, Ruto would have been the prime minister. But the rigging of the presidential vote changed the plot. This explains why Rift Valley was the epicentre of post-election violence in 2008.

Co-inheritors of the Moi economic empire will have to facilitate Gideon generously so he can take on ‘Mr Generous’, coin-for-coin, for a rendezvous with the future 2022.