2022 SUCCESSION

Myth and truth about Uhuru, Raila, Ruto in Central Kenya

Some people may find it hard or even impossible to accept the reality of Raila being our next preside

In Summary

• One myth is that Ruto has the proverbial big balls and can win the presidency with or without the help or approval of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

• Another myth is that the DP has made such great inroads in Uhuru’s backyard as to render him irrelevant in the succession politics of 2022.  

DP William Ruto when he hosted President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga at his Karen residence in Nairobi.
DP William Ruto when he hosted President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga at his Karen residence in Nairobi.
Image: FILE

Myths come in two forms: Traditional stories, especially those concerning the early history of a people or in the form of a widely held but false belief or idea.

A favourite for most people involving the former are Greek mythologies best represented by the great poet Homer in his epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey.

The best example of the latter in Kenya concern Deputy President William Ruto. The myths about Ruto come in three gold-wrapped brown envelopes: The first is that he is our own Horatio Alger. He is not.

 
 

Horatio Alger was an American novelist in the early 19th Century whose name is now used as an adjective to describe someone with characteristics of the heroes in his novels. The characteristics are someone who begins life in poverty and achieves success and wealth through honesty, hard work, and virtuous behaviour.

Has Ruto done that? Of course, not. He is, therefore,  no Horatio Alger. His rags to riches story he continues to peddle is simply a myth.

The second myth is that Ruto has the proverbial big balls and can win the presidency with or without the help or approval of President Uhuru Kenyatta. Indeed, Ruto is signalling he can even win against Uhuru’s own preference for a successor. That’s a tall order but it would be imprudent to disregard the myth.

A related and third myth is that the DP has made such great inroads in Uhuru’s backyard as to render him irrelevant in the succession politics of 2022.  

Of the two, this is the most problematic myth for Uhuru and Kieleweke because there’s anecdotal evidence a significant portion of folk have bought it and may act on it complicating things for the President and ODM leader Raila Odinga ahead of BBI implementation.

The case being made in advancing this myth is that Uhuru is toothless in Central and will thus be of no consequence in 2022. From this, it is concluded that the presidency is, therefore, Ruto’s to grab. These “fortunes” are attributed to Kikuyu tycoons blaming Uhuru for loss of business, especially in Nairobi. They also blame Uhuru for failing to prevent Mike Sonko from becoming governor and are now backing Ruto to teach Uhuru a lesson, or so goes the narrative.

A subset of this argument posits that Uhuru, having contributed to Raila hatred in Central, cannot make the about-turn he has and now expect people in Central to buy his new case that Raila is not the devil reincarnate as he and others depicted him all these years.

 
 

These are not bad arguments and could stick but only to a certain extent.

There’s no doubt hatred of Raila in Central is deep-rooted in the history of the Luos and the Kikuyus.

However, as the adage goes, there are no permanent enemies or friends in politics, only permanent interests. It is precisely for this altruism we have the handshake. That being the case, Ruto is dreaming that he can defeat Uhuru and Raila in their resolve to bury the hatchet and join hands in doing what is right for Kenya.

Yes, the handshake was a shocker and has created a previously un-thought of emerging alliance between a Kikuyu and a Luo but that’s an overstatement because we, in fact, did have a similar fusion of interests between Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and Jaramogi Odinga.

Yes, some people may find it hard or even impossible to accept the reality of Raila being our next president but those are the ones in deep denial and oblivious of the aforementioned adage.

Truth is, if Uhuru is committed as he is to seeing his buddy become the next President for the reasons he has articulated, and with the system behind him, no myths about Ruto or money will stop that from becoming a reality.

Samuel Omwenga is a legal analyst and political commentator