CONSENSUS ON HIS TERMS

What Ruto’s about-turn on BBI means

Like any politician, Ruto is looking out for his own individual interests — survival

In Summary

• Ruto has been and continues to oppose BBI, his illogical assertion to the contrary notwithstanding.

• Many theories have been floated why he made an about-turn and now appears to be in support of BBI.

Deputy President William Ruto.
STRATEGISING: Deputy President William Ruto.
Image: DPPS

Deputy President William Ruto surprised nearly everyone in making an illogical declaration that Kenyans now have “real choices to decide/vote while avoiding yes/no, all or nothing division” on BBI.

It is illogical because whether the choices you are given in a referendum are real or not, a yes or no vote means you are for or against the referendum. But is also an overstatement to say it is an 'all or nothing' division to vote one way or another.

One can be for some things in the BBI but not others. A no vote for that person does not mean they get nothing, if BBI passes and vice versa.

Ruto also curiously opened his tweet with “I’ve a constitutional duty to assist my boss, the president.” This is akin to a father saying they have a duty to provide for their family, which is true, but do they is the more important question.

For the  ones who openly say, without being asked, that they do, chances are they don’t.

Has Ruto helped at all in the BBI process or has he opted to clandestinely and sometimes openly speak ill of the initiative?

Every analyst or anyone who follows these things expected Ruto to resign as DP and go full throttle against BBI as his test of whether he has the proverbial bigger balls to beat the system.

He could have also come out strongly against BBI while in government, much as then Roads minister Raila Odinga did during the 2005 referendum, which led to him and other ministers being sacked from the Cabinet.

Ruto may not be sacked were he to go that direction, but his life could be made more miserable than it is now.

Ruto has been opposing and continues to oppose BBI, his illogical assertion to the contrary notwithstanding.

Many theories have been floated why he made an about-turn and now appears to be in support of BBI.

There are those who say he was summoned to State House and given the orders to do so.

There are those who say it is tactical retreat as he awaits  a moment to thunder back and lead the hoi polloi to defeat BBI.

The truth is closer to the fact there is nothing Ruto can do to stop the passage of BBI.

That being the case, he has wisely seen it more apt in this survival of the fittest environment to retreat and extend an arm for any crumbs the forces behind BBI may throw his way.

That will be considered betrayal by the lot he has confused and misled into believing he is the answer to their misery when he is not.

When it comes to politics and politicians, few sway away from the maxim “me, me, and I first”—and Ruto is no exception.

In other words, like any politician, Ruto is looking out for his own individual interests. Giving out wheelbarrows, dishing out cash publicly and clandestinely are not for the benefit of the recipients, but a means to advance individual political interests.

In Ruto’s case, those interests have fallen from a quest to be President to simple survival—again, in this survival for the fittest or as in the animal kingdom, eat first and fast before you are eaten yourself.

He makes a good run for Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly.

Of course, that will likely pave way for Raila at the General Election and this time be finally will sworn in as President, a win-win in that case.

Samuel Omwenga is a legal analyst and political commentator