• In the first term, it was clear Ruto ran Jubilee and its parliamentary and grassroots activities, but didn’t own the web that had brought him and Uhuru to this “heaven”.
• So when Ruto stormed Jubilee House soon after Raphael Tuju announced Jubilee would be sitting out the Msambweni by-election in favour of ODM, he realised the secretary general speaks for the party leader.
In my community’s childhood folklore, there is this story about the day the hare and the tortoise accompanied the spider on a trip to heaven to pay bride price.
The trip was undertaken using the spider’s web. On their way, the hare devised an ingenious way by which he would benefit the most from eating the sumptuous food served by their hosts.
He turned to the tortoise and the real owner of the trip, the spider, and told them “Look, we can’t go on safari to heaven and use our real names. When we get there, my name will be ‘our visitors’, you spider will be ‘our friends’ and you tortoise will be ‘our people'."
Seeing no problem with harmless nicknames, the spider and the tortoise agreed to the plan. It thus happened that every time food arrived, and the hungry visitors’ enzymes went into riot mode, the hare would ask the hosts, “Oh kind hosts of heaven, whose food is this that you kindly place before us?”
The hosts would predictably reply, “All the food we serve here is for our visitors,” whereupon the hare would ask the tortoise and the spider to keep off the food meant for “our visitors”.
By the third day, with two of the guests starving as the hare devoured all the food, the spider woke up angrily in the middle of the night, returned to earth and removed the web they had used to get to heaven, leaving the tortoise and the hare asleep. They had no means to return to earth after their trip.
On waking up, the tortoise found there was no means to return home. He jumped, leaving his shell broken, but learning quickly to live with it.
As for the hare, the tribulations that followed his dramatic journey back to earth is a long story that would require several pages of this esteemed paper!
For purpose of this story, the hare clearly is Deputy President William Ruto, the spider would have to be President Uhuru Kenyatta, and the tortoise must be all those party “owners” and leaders who folded their ouitfits ahead of the 2017 election to join Jubilee.
In the 2013 and 2017 elections, the hare convinced the spider, whose “trip” this actually was, to allow him to dominate the eating table, until the spider woke up one night and removed the web. A peek at how things worked inside the Jubilee household was provided by a rare anecdote from none other than ODM chairman John Mbadi.
At some point, Mbadi wanted to be chair of the powerful Parliamentary Accounts Committee, and knowing Jubilee held all the aces, approached Majority leader Aden Duale for support. Mbadi said that Duale asked him to speak to Ruto, whose word would sustain or kill that dream.
It was clear Ruto ran the Jubilee show, as well as its parliamentary and grassroots activity, but in all honesty, didn’t own the web that had brought him and Uhuru to this “heaven”.
I was reminded of this childhood tale when Ruto stormed Jubilee House soon after secretary general Raphael Tuju announced that the party would be sitting out the Msambweni parliamentary by-election in favour of ODM.
Tangatanga friendly bloggers thoughtfully announced to the world that Ruto was now headed to Jubilee House. In Kenya’s street lingo, I thought, “Today is that day!” Like many people, I went online seeking every available live feed to satisfy my desire for intrigue, waiting for the moment the DP would arrive at the Jubilee cathedral, whereupon I envisaged the triumphant arrival being akin to the son of man finding traders in a temple and scattering them to the four winds.
I was prepared to see those whom Ruto has described as conmen and brokers, running for cover, as the Jubilee messiah came to declare, “My father’s house is not for conmen, brokers and money changers, who trade in wrong ideology and dynasty doctrine!”
But nobody ran. It was an anti-climax. In fact, it soon became clear that this was never going to be “that day”. Therein lay the first lesson for the Tangatanga folks and their supremo, the DP. That the secretary general speaks for the party leader.
I have opined on these pages before, that the secretary general is the attack dog of the party leader and will often say things he doesn’t want to say openly.
Ruto has been a secretary general of Kanu, and it would be interesting if he, too, thinks Tuju can make such monumental announcements and decisions without Uhuru’s direction. It makes his brigade’s constant vile attacks on Tuju, for all intents and purposes, attacks on Uhuru.
This is a message that would sink well for the hushed voices inside ODM circles, where certain leaders have criticised statements released by Edwin Sifuna. At least in the case of ODM, it appears to take just a few hours before disenchanted voices realise Sifuna may be echoing Raila’s own voice, sending them with coiled tails back into the woodwork of obscurity.
The second and most important lesson with regard to Msambweni is that without the web, you cannot eat with abandon and sleep easy. Ruto’s faction has often acted as if the more noise they make, the more they are likely to take over and influence Jubilee’s political direction.
With the elections approaching faster by the day, the Jubilee decision showed them they would henceforth be visitors at the eating table, and once the spider withdraws the web, they must find their way back to earth and seek their bearings again.
I don’t understand why the DP has to take the constant humiliation. Indeed, by appearing to align with an independent candidate in the by-election, Ruto is opening another unnecessary battle front, which may get tricky if, even as a long shot, the President decides to join ODM leader Raila Odinga for a by-election campaign blitz in Msambweni. This will put Ruto in direct conflict with his boss.
It doesn’t augur well for someone who intends to be President to be seen to perpetuate insubordination as a daily political staple. Politicians are creatures of comfort and unbridled thirst for largesse, so none of them will leave Jubilee soon to chart an independent path.
However, for as long as they stay on to feed on the sumptuous meals served in this paradise, they surely must know the owner of the web withdrew it, and they will soon be jumping back to earth, landing with a thud and bursting stomachs. It’s a tough season ahead.