BBI

Status quo between Uhuru and Ruto cannot continue

Does Ruto have what it takes to pull off a BBI defeat? Yes, and most certainly so.

In Summary

• When Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto assumed the controls at the presidency following the disputed elections of 2013, they were politically joined at the hip.

• One of them, however, was already scheming how to methodically clip the other’s power and build his own base at the expense of the other.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto in celebratory mood. The UhuRuto ticket took Kenya by storm in 2013
President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto in celebratory mood. The UhuRuto ticket took Kenya by storm in 2013
Image: FILE

In virtually every country, a deputy to any country leader is supposed to never be seen or heard from other than in limited, public appearances and only when the boss is not around or allows him or her to do so.

In the US, vice presidents were always known to be spending all day in their office doodling on their desks or being sent off to some country to attend some departed leader’s funeral.

Three vice presidents stand-out the most in the last 50 years for being most impactful in their position, however, and in making their boss a better president — Dick Cheney, Al Gore and George H Bush.

Of the three, only Bush succeeded his boss.

In Kenya, we have never had an impactful vice president who also made their boss a better president.

With the exception of, perhaps, Jaramogi Odinga, the VPs had since independence either by design or machination of their boss or handlers decided to lie low, hoping to remain there long enough to spring up and succeed the boss. Only Daniel Moi succeeded. 

When Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto assumed the controls at the presidency following the disputed elections of 2013, they were politically joined at the hip and even bandied around in matching shirts and ties without jackets.

They were projecting the “digital age” presidency.

And they were successful, to a certain extent.

One of them, however, was already scheming how to methodically clip the other’s power and build his own base at the expense of the other.

The manner in which the individual schemed and executed the plan was so fatalistic as to the other’s future prospects and legacy, by the time the latter realised it was not exactly too late, but darn close to it.

It’s unclear when Uhuru came to the full realisation Ruto was undermining and undercutting him. The surprise of many, he went public and dissed his deputy on May 30, 2018, saying, “Hii kijana anaitwa Ruto unajua kila wikendi anatangatanga kila pahali…(This young man called Ruto, you know he likes roaming everywhere every weekend…) and with that, the Tangatanga movement was unexpectedly launched.

Since then, the two men have been in what must be said to be in a relationship akin to one where a marriage has ended but the couple remains together for technical reasons.

Rarely do those marriages ever mend things to resume normalcy.

It certainly appears to be the case here and the question is, for how much longer before one finally leaves the marriage.

For those who bet, the money has to be the day Uhuru accepts BBI and makes the content known, is the day we know if the marriage is kaput or hobbles forward in a broken, unhealthy environment no good for anyone, not the couple, not the children, not the family; no one at all.

The way things look, Ruto may be preparing to borrow a page from Raila’s playbook of 2005 in which the ODM leader devised and executed a brilliant strategy to defeat the Bomas draft with the help of other luminaries in opposition.

Does Ruto have what it takes to pull off a BBI defeat? Yes, and most certainly so.

Will he do it? Nothing in his background points to any reason why he wouldn’t.

What happens if Ruto and company defeat BBI?

Then it means for the first time in our country’s history, we have had a man who has the proverbial big balls to take on the system and defeat it, which means he gets the presidency as well as there won’t be stopping him. And if that happens, those plotting against him better head north to Somalia as life for you would be better off there.

The President has a big say as to whether Ruto succeeds with this, we hope he does the necessary to make sure he doesn’t.

Samuel Omwenga is a legal analyst and political commentator