• Deputy President William Ruto is in this predicament. No one can argue that Ruto is not a go-getter. He is and more.
• However, he has failed to heed Nyerere’s proverb in that he has not only not overstayed his visit with Jubilee, he has refused to take the jembe and till.
The late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania used to fondly recite the Swahili proverb “Mgeni siku mbili; siku ya tatu mpe jembe. This means treat your visitor as a guest for two days and on the third day, give him a hoe (to go till the farm).
Nyerere used the proverb to emphasise self-reliance, or conversely, to discourage hoarders and lazy people from taking advantage of others’ goodwill.
Self determination means one must go out there and get that which they need and is within reach—or even when out of reach. If it is a job, one must hit the tarmac and find one. If it is a business opportunity, one must go out there and do the necessary to get the business going.
Inherent in one’s self-determination is unwavering courage and shear will to do what must be done to obtain the desired objective. Comfort is the enemy of courage or shear will. If one is comfortable in the setting or surrounding they find themselves, then chances are that is where they will remain put, no matter how mediocre.
On the other hand, if one is uncomfortable with their setting or surrounding, there is an incentive to want to do something or to do more to remove themselves from that situation in search of greener pastures.
This is what defines and differentiates the go-getters from the lazy or otherwise the uninspired who never do anything until and unless they are forced to do so.
Occasionally, you do have situations where even though one is a go-getter, they sometimes find themselves gun-shy and unable to act.
An example is an accomplished swimmer who climbs up the ladder to get to the diving platform at the height of competition but gets too nervous out of shear fear of failure. Some simply, breakdown and start crying and that’s the end of their competition.
Deputy President William Ruto is in this predicament. No one can argue that Ruto is not a go-getter. He is and more.
However, he has failed to heed Nyerere’s proverb in that he has not only not overstayed his visit with Jubilee, he has refused to take the jembe and till.
To be sure, when Ruto was wooed by Team Uhuru to join them in forming Jubilee to face Raila Odinga in 2013, even he knew he was a guest in someone’s home whose time to leave will come.
This is true notwithstanding the now discarded promise of “kumi-kumi.” Nothing surprising because in politics, promises are just as useless as hot water in a desert.
Ruto himself must have known this because no sooner had he been sworn as Deputy President, he wasted no time in starting to plot his own political course independent of his hosts. Or so he thought.
Although Ruto managed to make some inroads in Central while his boss was indisputably asleep on the wheel after the 2013 elections, this did not last. Ruto’s dual strategy was first to rig in as many MPs as he could in 2017 to have enough numbers in Parliament to do anything he wanted or thwart anything they disagreed on with his boss.
Ruto’s other strategy was to have politicians he deemed a threat to his presidential ambitions either rigged out or otherwise rendered politically impotent.
This was a brilliant strategy, except it has backfired once the sleeping lion woke and is now making his presence felt. Uhuru and his men have politically neutered Ruto so much he’s walking around ballless even though acting as though that is not the case.
It is humiliating and one scratches his or her head wondering why Ruto would continue to suffer this humiliation rather than simply packing and leaving to live to fight another day.
That is what he must do because his two days as guest of Jubilee are over. It is time to go out there and find out what he is made of and if, indeed, he can beat the system as he seems to believe.
Samuel Omwenga is a legal analyst and political commentator