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THE SYSTEM RULES

Ruto impeachment not a wise move, force him to quit

Impeaching the DP is a stiff mountain to climb under any circumstances

In Summary

• Instead of impeaching and removing Ruto from office, Uhuru should just make his life miserable to the point he quits on his own and there are a thousand ways he can do so.

• If he does and still wants to challenge the system in 2022 as a presidential candidate, well, the system will be there to answer.

A section of MPs and senators who demanding DP Ruto's resignation for allegedly disrespecting the President. They met at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi on March 11.
CALL TO RESIGN: A section of MPs and senators who demanding DP Ruto's resignation for allegedly disrespecting the President. They met at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi on March 11.
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

Article 150 of the Constitution provides that the Deputy President may be removed from office by either a finding of physical or mental incapacity to perform the functions of the office or by impeachment on various grounds provided in the law.

To remove the DP through impeachment, there must be (a) a motion to impeach passed in the National Assembly by a two-thirds majority and (b) approval of that by a two-thirds majority in the Senate.

This is a stiff mountain to climb under any circumstances and is deliberately so because the framers of the Constitution did not want to make the removal of a president or a deputy president that easy. Otherwise, we would have presidents or deputy presidents impeached and removed all the time, rendering elections useless.

Although members of the opposition, especially those in ODM, have always wanted to have William Ruto impeached, the consensus has been that he has enough supporters in Parliament to thwart or defeat such efforts.

This may not be the case, given the ease with which President Uhuru Kenyatta has been able to purge Ruto loyalists from Jubilee leadership in the Senate and now onward to the National Assembly.

To be sure, Uhuru could not be successful in doing this without the tactical and practical support of his brother in the handshake, former Opposition leader Raila Odinga. I say former opposition leader because that position is now vacant as Raila is for all practical purposes in government. Ruto is, de facto, the new opposition leader.

Question is, is it wise to impeach Ruto as Deputy President, even if those who want him out have the votes, or cajole and coerce enough votes to remove the man from Sugoi?

The short answer is no.

Whatever Ruto had that once had him swaggering around and behaving as if Uhuru and his men and women are irrelevant to his succession plans is gone.

Put another way, just as Ruto brilliantly schemed and amassed his war chest to take on and crush any opponent on his way to State House come 2022, Uhuru and his men are doing just that now with a vengeance, making sure Ruto’s ambition to succeed Uhuru is just that — ambition that will never be realised.

The surgical precision with which Ruto’s loyalists are being purged with his doing nothing about it affirms that there are always going to be forces within the government whose blessings one must have to become President. This is even in what we hold to be some semblance of democracy.

This is what is known as 'the system'.  The system is not just some ubiquitous nameless faces with masks lurking somewhere in the corridors of power ready to vanquish anyone who threatens the interests of those in power.

Rather, these are men holding powerful positions in government in the national security sector, working hand in glove with key bureaucrats, many who owe their positions to insanely rich but reclusive oligarchs who combined form what we call the system.

Without the endorsement or approval of the system, one cannot become President of this country or any other where systems rule. This is true regardless of how popular one is, or how much support one has in the country.

If in doubt, ask Raila Odinga, who at least in two elections (2007 and 2017) won in the view of many and there is evidence to support that - but he never saw the inside of State House as President courtesy of the system.

Instead of impeaching and removing Ruto from office, Uhuru should just make his life miserable to the point he quits on his own and there are a thousand ways he can do so.

If he does and still wants to challenge the system in 2022 as a presidential candidate, well, the system will be there to answer.

Samuel Omwenga is a legal analyst and political commentator