2022 POLITRICKS

Why impeaching Ruto a bad idea, doomed to fail and backfire

As with Donald Trump, Ruto's impeachment would fail because the numbers are not there and, worse, impeachment would make both men martyrs, increasing their popularity

In Summary

• Efforts are underway to impeach Ruto, but as with Donald Trump in America, an impeachment is a bad option for those who want to remove either man

• Impeachment efforts would fail in both cases and make both men martyrs 

US Ambassador Kyle McCarter pays a courtesy call on Deputy President William Ruto at his Karen office, Nairobi, on March 26
PLEASANTRIES: US Ambassador Kyle McCarter pays a courtesy call on Deputy President William Ruto at his Karen office, Nairobi, on March 26
Image: DPPS

During what’s referred as the Prohibition period in 1930s in America, then reigning crime kingpin Al Capone had nearly the whole city of Chicago under his control and supplied it with illegal liquor.

A top federal law enforcement agent Eliot Ness was assigned to stop Capone, but his first attempt at a liquor raid failed due to corrupt policemen tipping Capone off. Ness then met with Irish-American veteran officer James Malone, who was fed up with the rampant corruption, and offered to help Ness. He suggested they find a man from the police academy who has not yet come under Capone's corrupt influence.

The duo recruited Italian-American trainee George Stone (aka Giuseppe Petri) for his superior marksmanship and intelligence. Joined by accountant Oscar Wallace, assigned to Ness from Washington, DC, they conducted a successful raid on a Capone liquor cache and started to gain positive publicity, with the press dubbing them 'The Untouchables'.

 

Meanwhile, Wallace discovers that Capone has not filed income tax returns for some years and suggests the team try to build a tax evasion case against him since he is well-insulated from his other crimes.

An alderman offers Ness a bribe to drop his investigation, subtly warning him that Capone is too powerful to worry about killing policemen. Ness refuses it and throws him out of the office.

Not only did this clean, incorruptible cop not succumb to corruption unlike his fellow cops in Chicago, he relentlessly pursued Al Capone and his horde of gangsters, notwithstanding threats to his life and that of his family. His efforts paid off, finally bringing down the mobster, much to the relief of Chicago and the victims still living.

Ness’s heroic efforts earned him a place in history, which is memorialised in books and a movie, The Untouchables.

 
 

The Collins dictionary describes 'untouchable' as someone who cannot be affected or punished in any way.

 

In the late 2000s Kenya, the untouchables are Ruto and his men — or so they believe. Do they have a point?

Has Ruto finagled his way into the hungry stomachs of too many a Kenyan politician and do some in law enforcement and the military to believe he’s untouchable, much like Capone? If so, who’s our Eliot Ness?

Is it the President? Is it DPP? Is it Parliament?

Let’s just say it’s not Parliament. Yes, there are already efforts to impeach Ruto, but, like Donald Trump in America, impeachment is a bad option for those who want to remove either man from office. The reasons: simply because (a) the numbers are not there, and if they are (b) impeaching either men would make them martyrs and stronger and therefore a bigger headache.

There’s also the wild card that brings to mind the expression, "Be careful what you wish for, it might just come true.” Ruto can conceivably be impeached and be removed from office but, who replaces him in that scenario? Is it someone those baying for his blood want, or one who would leave their political fortunes precisely where they are or worse, if not in 'the know' by those who may outsmart them?

The wiser path for those whose mantra is "Ruto will never be President" is to stay clear of impeachment, which leaves the DPP and the President as the only other possible Eliot Nesses to bring Ruto down.

The DPP obviously can’t do it alone, so, count him out.

The President can but, to do so he must deploy tactics that are not necessarily uncommon or unprecedented, but well proven, made easier with the help of the hand he shook on March 9.