OMWENGA: The rise and fall of William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto chats with Archibishopb Fredrick Mwangombe of Africa Independent Church Nyandarua during a prayer breakfast with religious leaders from Nyandarua County at the Karen office, Nairobi County.Photo DPPS
Deputy President William Ruto chats with Archibishopb Fredrick Mwangombe of Africa Independent Church Nyandarua during a prayer breakfast with religious leaders from Nyandarua County at the Karen office, Nairobi County.Photo DPPS

To be sure, the Deputy President is on the verge of falling off the political cliff either voluntarily or by is being pushed out.

The writing is on the wall, and to understand this, one must first look back to history for a good understanding of how or why this happens.

An astute observer in social media notes that Jaramogi Odinga says clearly in his autobiography that he resigned from his post as Vice-President because Mzee Jomo Kenyatta took over the functions of his office and gave them to his Cabinet colleagues. Jaramogi goes on to say he didn’t want to continue earning money without working.

Vice President Joseph Murumbi gives similar reasons for his resignation.

There’s also something else instructive about how Mzee vanquished people who he had come to dislike their politics and, no, we’re not talking about assassinations as many of those were likely made by Mzee’s henchmen either because they thought it’s what he would have wanted, or simply because they figured those eliminated had become a nuisance in as far as their own selfish interests were concerned.

We’re here talking about Mzee publicly showering Jaramogi with accolades as his “friend,” while finishing him off politically behind the scenes, and sometimes openly.

A memorable example which for those who were not of age can find on YouTube, is the Kisumu incident of October 25, 1969, where Kenyatta declared publicly that but for his friendship with Jaramogi, he would have had the doyen of the opposition arrested and “crushed like flour mill.”

The friendship did not last long for soon after this incident, Jaramogi was arrested and detained without trial — a very popular tool in the tool box for Kenyatta and Moi, which both men used to silence the opposition.

When Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto teamed up in the unlikeliest of political marriages to seek the presidency as a team back in 2013, they presented themselves as not only the “digital duo” poised to take the country into new frontiers, never mind the ICC cases, they also projected themselves as best buddies.

This projection of unity and camaraderie between Uhuru and Ruto lasted well into their first term in office but cracks began to appear soon after Uhuru’s ICC case was dismissed and there was even open debate as to whether he will need or keep Ruto as his running mate come 2017.

The two stuck to each other but no sooner had Uhuru been sworn for the second term did things start to look dicey. On the one hand, Uhuru had Raila Odinga to contend with who had declared himself and was sworn as the People’s President.

On the other hand, there was the unfinished business of dealing with Ruto, who by now had clearly made the mistake many in his position have — assuming and believing just because one played some role in the election of a president, they can use their position to amass wealth and power to the point of believing they don’t need their boss and those around him in their own political ambitions.

That was a fatal mistake Ruto is paying for and has yet to pay the ultimate price.

Had Ruto humbled himself, he will not be facing the onslaught he is and would likely have had a clear path to the presidency come 2022.

Add in the mix the fact that the previous elections were controversial, and rigged against Raila.

He still had to take the country in a direction that would define his legacy, which led him to extend his handshake to Raila. And with the handshake, it appears Ruto will not be the fifth President of Kenya.

That’s not a bad thing, at least for Kenyans who believe healing the nation is far more important than accession of one man to the presidency.

Samuel Omwenga is a legal analyst and political commentator in the US