THE REALITY ON THE GROUND

Ruto is not playing, Uhuru must decisively act now

In fact, no serious steps have been undertaken to counter the Deputy President

In Summary

• Having recently visited the country and had the opportunity to travel to several and different areas of the country, I came away with this simple reality on the ground: Ruto is determined to be our next president.

• Uhuru better decide in no uncertain terms whether he wants Ruto to succeed him or not.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto
Image: FILE

For those of us in diaspora, what we know about the goings-on back home on politics or state of affairs is through individual sources, relatives, friends, social media or news.

Often, the information is not always the same for there are divergencies owing to various factors, including people having bad or wrong information, guesswork or pure propaganda.

Having recently visited the country and had the opportunity to travel to several and different areas of the country, I came away with this simple reality on the ground: Ruto is determined to be our next president.

 
 

The clandestine efforts he has undertaken to make sure this happens include growing roots in places hard to uproot, taking advantage of a president that has either wittingly or unwittingly enabled him and, more importantly, taking Raila Odinga’s playbook and effectively using it against President Uhuru Kenyatta and the ODM leader.

It does not appear either man and their advisers have figured any meaningful way to effectively neuter Ruto politically.

In fact, no serious steps have been undertaken to counter him.

The President seems content to remain nonchalant or having it both ways.

To be sure, Uhuru has on various occasions given strong indications he’s done with Ruto and will prefer someone else to succeed him.

Uhuru once said his choice for a successor will be a surprise: Did he have Raila in mind?

By that definition, surely, Raila would be a surprise were Uhuru to endorse him.

 
 

By the same definition, Uhuru clearly must not have meant Ruto to be the man as this would not have been a surprise endorsement.

Indeed, it was soon after that announcement that many of us started believing there was a fissure in Uhuru’s relationship with Ruto that could only get wider—but it hasn’t, even though there is even more evidence the fissure exists.

But, for the sake of Uhuru’s own legacy and the country’s interest, the fissure either better burst wide open and have Ruto off to a cliff of certain political death, or close for anything otherwise would be a catastrophic disaster for the country and precisely what the handshake and  the BBI are intended to cure.

In other words, Uhuru better decide in no uncertain terms whether he wants Ruto to succeed him or not.

If the former, then the only logical question is how to do so gracefully, balancing the need to keep the handshake intact and onward to implementing its signature vision in the form of BBI.

In that context, Uhuru and Ruto must find a way to accommodate Raila, or more specifically, the interests of his most ardent supporters, failure of which the outcome will be detrimental consequences everyone agrees must be addressed and avoided by all means.

When Uhuru made Interior minister Fred Matiang’i "Super CS", most observers expected he was so elevated to specifically finish Ruto politically.

We know that did not happen because Ruto basically laughed and rubbished the idea as he promptly ignored Matiang’i. Ruto went on to show who between them is boss.

This now leaves Uhuru with two options: One, politically finish Ruto now or embrace the man from Kuresoi fully and stop dancing around the issue for there is too much at stake and things in the country are not getting better, but worse economically, in part because of this indecision.

Again, if he does the former, a way must be found to accommodate Raila in the spirit of the handshake and I doubt Ruto is that selfish and narrow-minded as not to be part of that solution.

Samuel Omwenga is a legal analyst and political commentator