CUTHROAT POLITICS

Reshuffle: Why Ruto, Tangatanga must be worried sick

The system has 1001 ways of blocking you such as locking you out of an office or place you thought you belonged and sacking your loyalists

In Summary

• The President may not have the power to sack the DP, but he has an arsenal readily available to render Ruto irrelevant or out of office long before 2022.

• The Cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday is but one such tool.

Deputy President William Ruto and Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri during a meeting at Harambee House Annex, Nairobi, on the merger of the AFC, ADC and NCPB, on June 22, 2018.
TROUBLED MEN: Deputy President William Ruto and Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri during a meeting at Harambee House Annex, Nairobi, on the merger of the AFC, ADC and NCPB, on June 22, 2018.
Image: DPPS

Deputy President William Ruto's strategy for years to ascend to the presidency has been nothing but brilliant producing astonishing results nobody expected.

So much so at one point, it looked as though Ruto was quite willing to call President Uhuru Kenyatta and tell him off.

Why has Ruto been so confident of his ability to defeat the system and all that is arrayed against him to reach an outcome no one before him has managed to approach?

Why has Ruto been so confident to succeed Uhuru despite the fact that other than Daniel Moi, none of Kenya's 10 vice presidents managed to succeed their bosses? Notably, Moi's ascension was aided by the death of his boss, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

What does Ruto possess none of these nine men did?

The answers lie in his strategy. The DP must have realised early on that even though the IEBC cooked the numbers to have him and Uhuru sworn into office in 2013, numbers do matter.

He must have also concluded that come 2022, the IEBC or whatever entity is going to run the elections may not and will not cook the numbers for him as before.

So, with this, he maximised on the opportunity to rig in as many MPs as he could in 2013 so that by the time Uhuru woke up, he had the numbers in Parliament to do anything he wanted or thwart anything the President wanted but Ruto opposed.

This dynamic has not been tested but every indication is that is the case and it’s pointless to even try. This is precisely also the reason the BBI cannot be implemented through Parliament as the numbers are just not there if Ruto orders his foot soldiers to kill the proposals.

Not only did Ruto rig or sponsor enough MPs to give him the swagger with which he has been walking around but also cleverly exploited Uhuru’s lack of awareness that he planted his loyal soldiers in key parts of government. Especially in areas that matter when it comes to presidential elections. Which begs the question, how come other vice presidents before him did not do this?

The answer is simple: They had more powerful, vigilant presidents with men around them who would sniff out the machinations even in their dreams and made sure such schemes never materialised.

Ruto owes the drafters of the 2010 Constitution a brown bag. In making the position of Deputy President constitutionally entrenched as it is, they gave him a tool he can cleverly use to advance his quest for the presidency without fear of being sacked.

The President may not have the power to sack the DP, but he has an arsenal of tools readily available to him to render Ruto irrelevant or out of office long before 2022.

The Cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday is one such tool. For whatever reason, including ignorance, many have arrogantly dismissed Uhuru as a weak President who has nothing to stop Ruto or anyone else for that matter to succeed him. Their ignorance or mistaken belief is belied by the fact that a president has tremendous powers even under the current Constitution to effectively accomplish that which he wishes.

It is called the power of incumbency or the system. If the system says you are not seeing the inside of State House, believe it, you are not going to.

The system has 1001 ways of delivering that message such as locking you out of an office or a place you thought you belonged, sacking your most ardent loyalists from government and making life miserable for you to the point of quitting.

We are witnessing this happening and it must surely have Ruto and his Tangatanga brigade worried sick while more is obviously yet to come.

Samuel Omwenga is a legal analyst and political commentator