ANOTHER HANDSHAKE?

Ruto can't make up with Uhuru, but he can with Raila

If the DP must defer his presidential ambitions, so be it, as victory will be more assured than in 2022

In Summary

• Raila supporters are counting on his brother Uhuru to push him through. Don't be too sure about that.

• There are forces stronger than Uhuru and Raila that can see someone else occupying State House, notwithstanding the President's support for Raila.

Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga in 2018.
ANOTHER HANDSHAKE? Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga in 2018.
Image: FILE

Deputy President William Ruto learned his hustler politics from former President Daniel Moi.

Ruto then honed his skills under the tutorship of Raila Odinga when they teamed up to defeat President Mwai Kibaki in 2007 — and they did, at least so they maintain.

Or do they?  We know Raila does, but does Ruto still believe the 2008 elections were stolen?

One must believe he does, even long after being invited as a guest at The Hague and disinviting himself thereafter.

There is not space here to analyse how the ICC defined Ruto’s politics, but one can trace his falling out with Raila from that point.

His falling out with Raila picked up steam in October 2010, when he was suspended as a Cabinet minister, following the court’s ruling that he must stand trial for fraud.

In December of that year, Uhuru Kenyatta, Ruto and other individuals were named as suspects behind the 2007-08 post-election violence. It was downhill from there as far as Raila and Ruto's political alliance was concerned.

In a series of public pleas through my blog and private pleas with Raila and his insiders, I made the case that it would be a big mistake to let Ruto go. Stronger winds, however, prevailed and the man was swept away from ODM only to land in Uhuru’s lap.

I nonetheless continued to make the case that Raila should try and bring Ruto back to ODM and even posted several blogs analysing the ICC cases, coming to the legal conclusion that the former Eldoret North MP could not be convicted.

I also said no one else could be convicted, albeit for different reasons than the legal reasons I provided for Ruto. I was, of course, proven right a few years later.

This conclusion also informed my view that Ruto was not a spent force as many of Raila’s insiders had long concluded.

I recall an exchange I had in one such group I shared views with Raila insiders. A certain loudmouth from Canada bombastically and boisterously shouted me down figuratively speaking (beating on his keypad) how my idea of having Ruto back was a nonstarter because nobody needed him.

He was not the only one who held that view, but that was mistake Number Two  because by Raila's not bringing Ruto back, he allowed Uhuru to zip up his marriage of convenience with him.

That marriage of convenience is now irreconcilably over and it is time for Ruto to find another political spouse to tie the knot with. Right now, none is more attractive than Raila.

The way things stand — and notwithstanding BBI which is likely about to implode — Raila and Ruto have an extremely difficult path to State House working separately.

Conversely, securing the presidency for one of them as they work together would be a walkover unlike anything we have seen before and twice as euphoric as 2002.

This is because such a victory would be the first time in our country’s history the people would have won against the system.

It is said that this happened in 2002, but this is not entirely true. The system let loose its noose on democracy because it was Kibaki vying for President. Had it been Raila, the noose would have tightened so hard he wouldn't be around today.

Supporters of both men, especially those of Ruto, are chest-thumbing all over how the Hustler Nation has it all figured to put him in State House. They are mistaken.

Raila supporters are counting on his brother Uhuru to push him through. Do not be too sure about that. In fact, there are forces stronger than Uhuru and Raila that can see someone else occupying State House, notwithstanding the President's support for Raila.

Were that to happen, Uhuru could always wash his hands and say he tried but others will be grinning, saying he knew all along.

That is why Raila and Ruto must work together and if the DP must defer his presidential ambitions, so be it, as victory will be more assured than in 2022.

Samuel Omwenga is a legal analyst and political commentator