SUCCESSION POLITICS

The Ruto dilemma

Ruto and his co-accused were acquitted of selling the land to Kenya Pipeline Corporation

In Summary

• The Directorate of Criminal Investigation is reopening a fraud case from nine years ago in which Ruto and his co-accused were acquitted.

•  Ruto dismisses the reopening of the fraud case against him as merely another effort to prevent a vice president from succeeding his boss

Deputy President William Ruto
Deputy President William Ruto
Image: FILE

In the much anticipated NTV interview of Deputy President William Ruto, he once again demonstrated something few politicians — including the most loathed by many like US President Donald J Trump —are able to do: Creating an aura of invincibility that many buy hook, line and sinker when in reality, they’re men and women under siege.

To be sure, Ruto is no small player to push around and do as one wishes, be it the President as in the present circumstances.

He is someone even the system must carefully strategise on how to stop him from succeeding President Uhuru Kenyatta, which is clearly what they wish to do.

 

While many were wowed by Ruto's cunningness effectively weave his message while at the same time tactically avoiding the landmines laid for him by interviewer Ken Miiungu, what remains inescapable is that the DP has a monumental task ahead many doubt he can wish or talk away.

Worthy noting, though,  Mijungu became part of the story in the interview, something journalists are trained to avoid. But right off the bat Mijungu asked Ruto what to make of the Directorate of Criminal Investigation's reopening a fraud case from nine years ago in which Ruto and his co-accused were acquitted. Ruto dismissed the case as nothing but succession games being played by “cabals” in boardrooms, implying those who wish to prevent him from becoming President.

The DCI has acknowledged that officers from his office have reopened an old land fraud case in which the DP is alleged to have defrauded a government agency of Sh 272 million.

Ruto and his co-accused were acquitted of selling the land to Kenya Pipeline Corporation, which the government argued was hived off Ngong Forest. The three were let go due to lack of evidence.

For anyone who knows anything about justice and law in Kenya, “lack of evidence” is code terms for the acquitted bought “justice” they wanted, not that there was no evidence to convict.

This is primarily why all these high-profile arrests for economic crimes end nowhere near the accused being found guilty, let alone paying any price for the crimes they are accused of committing.

Listening to Ruto respond to this obviously no simple matter, he projected a level of confidence "this is a nothingburger you’d only expect something the rest of the world doesn’t know and the odds of that being the chances of the case are near nil.

 

There’s nothing Ruto knows about this the rest of us don’t know, or to be more judicious, nothing he knows the system doesn’t know.

Ruto dismisses the reopening of the fraud case against him as merely another effort to prevent a vice president from succeeding his boss by a cabal that would rather have someone else to “protect their interests, not the people’s interests.”

DCI George Kinoti says he reopened the case because the circumstances warrant it.

“We are investigating the plunder of public resources. We are not targeting anybody. For a long time, gangsters have turned Kenya into a playground for graft,” Kinoti aid.

So, on one hand, Ruto dismisses the reopened case as nothing of concern to him as there’s no “case to answer,” while on the other, the DCI (read the system) is making sure the DP will be tied up in the corridors of justice for weeks and months defending that which he claims there’s nothing to answer.

While it’s true there were serious efforts to prevent Daniel Moi from succeeding Kenyatta that were inconclusive as to success because Kenyatta died, Ruto cannot compare his situation to those efforts for reasons one need not get into here; ditto efforts by the “opposition,” not the system to prevent Uhuru and Ruto from vying in 2013.

What Ruto faces is a serious dilemma: Say he has the proverbial bigger balls to take on and defeat the system or throw in the towel and let Uhuru and Raila do as they wish.

Samuel N. Omwenga is a legal analyst and political commentator