• Only Vice President Moi succeeded President Jomo Kenyatta. The rest of the vice presidents, other than Mwai Kibaki, after his tenure as VP, were unsuccessful.
• It is the “deep state” that determines who becomes President. If you are not acceptable, then you lose.
Recent developments in Kenya’s political history have demonstrated that we are living in an ‘animal farm’ as George Orwell put it in the novel, The Animal Farm.
It is, however, always interesting to watch the National Geographic or those who have the patience to read the monthly publications of the same.
Both series remind everyone that there is always a predator versus the prey. In Kenya, nothing better could summarise our politics. It is who gets hunted versus who is hunting. When one takes a cursory look at what is going on in the Building Bridges Initiative, both the report and attendant rallies, it seems obvious that some politicians are the predators while some are the prey.
Whether they call themselves Tangatanga or Kieleweke, Kenya’s ‘national geographic’ feature is on. There is no doubt about it. As Orwell put it, some animals are greater than others. The question this commentary raises is whether the Tangatanga or Kieleweke political groupings are either the hunted or the hunters.
Kenya’s history is tainted with bad succession politics, including when Daniel Moi became President despite the Ngoroko Movement, or Change-the-Constitution debate of 1978. However, his exit was ceremonious when he ‘allowed’ a peaceful transfer of power in 2002.
With respect to the dead, I cannot comment except that Moi assumed he could control Kenyan voters, and with a ‘project’ called Uhuru, win in 2002. They lost miserably when Mwai Kibaki garnered more than 3.5 million votes.
Today, there is a lot of discussion about who will succeed Uhuru Kenyatta as President. Succession politics are very intriguing. One might assume the deputy of the President would succeed him. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Kenya's history attests to the following: Only Moi succeeded President Jomo Kenyatta. The rest of the vice presidents, other than Mwai Kibaki way after his tenure as VP, were unsuccessful. But Kibaki's success is relative having decamped from Kanu in 1991 to vie for President, which he lost in 1992 and 1997 anyway.
The list — from the charismatic Jaramogi Oginga Odinga to the art collector Joseph Murumbi to the mathematician George Saitoti to the blessed-by-Moi Musalia Mudavadi, and of course, many more may have eyed the presidency, but it was just that: Eying. The realism theory of political science teaches a different story.
Eying the presidency does not guarantee your ascendancy to the throne. It only indicates ambition, wishful thinking. As a political scientist — and please note, not the political analysts who appear on TV all the time — this commentary is based on the political theory of realism, not idealism.
Realism is “a spectrum of ideas”. Its theories revolve around the following propositions: First, states are the central actors in international politics, rather than leaders or international organisations. Second, states act in their rational self-interest within the international system. Nicollo Machiavelli’s book The Prince, in 1532, still guides political science.
Whether Kenyans have elections earlier than 2022 depends on four crucial factors. First, Moi is dead and henceforth, he cannot control politics of the former Rift Valley province. Second, there is the BBI ‘animal’ we have to deal with and Raila Odinga is on stage to deliver a public acceptance, once, for the last time.
Third, is whether Kenya is ready for a referendum with a non-performing economy, which has made many Kenyans eke out a miserable life. And finally, it is whether Kenyans are willing to do away with ethnicised politics.
Professor Archie Mafeje says ethnicised politics is a concept which means politicians gather together and name each other as the representatives of their ethnic groups. No wonder you hear of the Mulembe nation, the Central Kenya nation and even the Luo Nyanza nation.
RUTO ASCENDANCY TO THE PRESIDENCY
Make Believe is a movie. Ruto’s push to become President in 2022 is a movie. Based on political realism, he is being predictable and anti-social. Princes do not accept an outsider to dethrone them, and that is why his lieutenants on the ground are being cut down to size. Mention Governor Mike Sonko or impeached Ferdinand Waititu.
The Animal Farm has deep secrets. It is the “deep state” that determines who becomes President. If you are not acceptable, then you lose.
Derived originally from Turkey, a 'deep state' named derin devlet, is also known as a state within a atate. It is a form of clandestine government made up of hidden or covert networks of power operating independently of the state’s political leadership, in pursuit of their own agenda and goals.
Ruto is not part of the the 'deep state'. He is challenging the status quo and when you do that, be prepared for a fight. With his Bachelor’s degree in science at the University of Nairobi, he is playing with fire. He has also, without a Master’s degree, attained a PhD in Water Science.
RUTO THE PERSON
Ruto is the Deputy President. With all due respect, he has made a name in the politics of Kenya. He is smart and indefatigable. However, very few 'noble' people appreciate his ascendancy to power because of his association with networks.
From the very beginning, from selling chicken in Uasin Gishu, to becoming the manipulator of the re-election of Moi in 1992 (using Youth for Kanu), Ruto carries the burden of responsibility.
His case at the International Criminal Court over the 2007 post-election violence could still hurt him. He never went to trial — the case collapsed for lack of evidence and witnesses who recanted or disappeared.
He was fired by Raila from the Ministry of Agriculture, only for former President Mwai Kibaki to reinstate him unceremoniously. Ruto’s name is all over the public spaces.
Finally, Ruto is a staunch believer in God Almighty, just like Moi, but carrying the Bible or crying at the altar of a church does not make you a Christian.
Most Kenyans are gullible to political movements of the day.99 Think twice when you vote in 2022. Whereas the President has said you may be surprised by his choice, indicating he's not a Ruto supporter.
This is not about succession. The President studied political science and economics in the US. He knows what he is doing.
Unless he dies in office, God forbid, Uhuru will be President until the elections are held in August 2022, and thereafter perhaps in September 2022 after handing over the reins of power.
Kenya will exist even after Uhuru's exit. Freedom reigns supreme. The Constitution of Kenya is paramount.
DISCLAIMER: The viewsare those of the author who does not belong to any political party or political affiliation. Kagwe is a political scientist.