2022 POLITICS

Impending political prostitution: Will it benefit Raila or Ruto?

Ruto will not only intensify his efforts to make sure politicians from his target areas remain intact but also ump up his efforts to bring more to the fold.

In Summary

• its open season for political prostitution and even the most principled politicians will soon find it irresistible to jump on to Ruto’s bandwagon.

•  This is for the simple reason that doing otherwise will leave them in political darkness for ages if Ruto becomes president.

 

Some Mt Kenya MPs.
RUTO PULLS FAST ONE? Some Mt Kenya MPs.
Image: COURTESY

Before BBI was launched at Bomas, the expectation was soon after President Uhuru Kenyatta received the report, he and Raila Odinga will hit the ground running to promote and have it implemented.

Along with popularising the report, the expectation was that Uhuru and Raila, his handshake partner, would have rallied their respective bases to form a new alliance that would ride the BBI wave to victory in 2020 in which their preferred candidate would win the presidency.

This political realignment would have seen a coming together of strange bedfellows for sure. It was, however, conceivable and to some extent courtesy of the handshake and Uhuru’s commitment to making its vision become a reality.

 

However, this has not come to pass; not yet and but it doesn’t appear it will happen.

Indeed, every indication now is that unless Ruto is politically neutered pronto, he'll be the one doing the neutering sooner or later.

To understand why, you’ll need to understand the strategy Ruto has been quietly and brilliantly executing.

When the President coopted William Ruto to be his running mate in 2013, the then Eldoret North MP figured out almost right away Uhuru was nowhere near as shrewd as his father, as he knew himself as.

So, the shrewd politician he is, Ruto quietly and put in place a plan of action to make inroads in Uhuru’s own backyard without his knowledge and by the time he got to know about it, it would be too late to do anything about it.

This politically deadly strategy and campaign by Ruto was twofold: First, a steady and massive flow of money to Harambee Annex and, second, use of that money to buy every one from the assistant chief all the way up to elected leaders, especially those from Mt Kenya region.

When 47 MPs from Mt Kenya region hold a public meeting taking Ruto’s position on BBI against Uhuru, take it to the bank it has nothing to do with their love of Ruto.

 

Love and loyalty to Ruto are only relevant and applicable in the Rift Valley, where the DP is counting on the same to carry the day come 2022. More accurately, where Ruto expects to mostly rely on the love and loyalty as he does have a shrewd wild card to play in the Rift Valley and he will not hesitate to play it: Instilling fear among “foreigners” in the region to support him or see fire if they do not and he loses.

A case can be made they will still see fire if he wins, but that’s a less compelling case.

Which brings us to what to expect now: Ruto no doubt will not only intensify his efforts to make sure politicians from his target areas remain intact in his Tangatanga movement but also ump up his efforts to bring more to the fold.

In other words, its open season for political prostitution and even the most principled politicians will soon find it irresistible to jump on to Ruto’s bandwagon. This is for the simple reason that doing otherwise will leave them in political darkness for ages if Ruto becomes president.

It’s political prostitution with dignity, if you will.

Meanwhile, Ruto has no match in doling cash and winning over even the most principled.

His likely opponent in 2022 —and really the only person who can give Ruto a run for his money —  is Raila. Raila is, however, not known to spend money. Indeed, the #1 dig you hear from his supporters and enemies is he doesn’t spend money.

Putting aside the question of whether that is true or not, it is obvious if Raila was to give Ruto a run for his money, he has to burst wide open his bank accounts and let the money flow and every source he can muster to counter Ruto’s financial muscle, otherwise, he’ll see dust come 2022.

That remains true, even if Uhuru remains committed to the handshake and BBI to the end.

Samuel Omwenga is a legal analyst and political commentator