• Ruto is suffering from self-inflicted wounds.
• He made the mistake in believing that just because one played a role in the election of a president, one could then use their position as deputy to amass wealth in their quest for power.
Deputy President William Ruto has been eying the presidency since the day he jumped ship from ODM and launched United Republican Party.
The question was would it be 2013? No, he knew he had no chance.
He was, however, cleverly positioning himself to succeed whomever the system picked as their candidate. It turned out to be Uhuru Kenyatta.
Ruto’s calculation was that he had a more certain path to the presidency by aligning with the system than sticking with Raila in the opposition because — and he was right — the ODM leader would not be president as long as the system did not want him.
So, when the system approached Ruto to be Uhuru’s running mate, despite both men being international crimes suspects at the ICC [the cases collapsed] the Eldoret North MP saw the key to State House being irresistibly dangled before him. It made him giddy.
What Ruto did not know is that the same system would turn on him as it has done now.
The question is why did this happen? Why is Uhuru now changing the narrative after promising 20 years of Jubilee Party rule and handing over to Ruto after his own 10 years?
The answer is complex, yet simple.
First, Ruto is suffering from self-inflicted wounds. He made the mistake in believing that just because he played some role in the election of a president, he could use his position as deputy to amass wealth and power to the point of believing he didn't need his boss in his quest for power.
Ruto cleverly found a way to undermine Uhuru and do things while the President was in slumber to make himself popular even in Uhuru’s backyard.
The man from Sugoi believed he was on an unstoppable path to the presidency.
That was a miscalculation and fatal mistake for which he is paying.
Worse, still, the ultimate political price or punishment will be being left out in the cold in the 2022 government. The lion has awakened and is making sure everyone around knows who is king. The lesson: Never bite the hand that feeds you.
Second, referring to atrocities by colonial British rulers committed against Kenyans, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta urged everyone to “forgive but do not forget.” There is little doubt there are those in the system who hold the view Ruto cannot or should not ascend to the highest office on the land, given what he was accused of following the 2007 elections [crimes against humanity].
Ruto can rightly counter why is that relevant when Uhuru himself is serving as President, having his co-accused. The answer is he who has the gold makes the rules.
To be sure, many of us hold the view that the handshake cured political ills of the past and implementation of the BBI will seal the deal. It is thus not worth it to revisit this divisive issue. However, we don’t make the rules and if the system is intent on punishing Ruto, it’s doubtful anyone can stop it.
Third, there is, of course, the handshake that turned Ruto’s political fortunes upside down.
No one knew or even had it in their wildest dreams that the system would ever be as friendly or accommodating to Raila. It is possible for the system to have one up its sleeve on Raila, but the end outcome is that Ruto will not see the inside of State House as president, no matter what happens to the ODM leader
The way things stand now, either Ruto changes his tune and starts singing from Uhuru and Raila's songsheet in the hope the system forgives and throws him a bone come 2022 — or he fights on and is obliterated unlike any other politician in Kenya.
Samuel Omwenga is a legal analyst and political commentator