REBELLION

Ruto has struck the king, must now suffer full consequences

His defiance became an outright public declaration of war against the President and the system

In Summary

• By holding a mini-National Assembly group meeting at his official residence in Karen, Ruto has now physically taken a swing at the king.

• He obviously missed and as Ralph Waldo Emerson counselled, having missed, Ruto must now suffer the full consequences of the king’s wrath, short of death.

DP William Ruto hosts MPs allied to him from various political parties at Karen residence, Nairobi county, on February 8, 2021
DP William Ruto hosts MPs allied to him from various political parties at Karen residence, Nairobi county, on February 8, 2021
Image: DPPS

It will be for history books and looking in the rare view mirror to know when Deputy President William Ruto first imagined taking a swing at the king.

It certainly could not have been during the honeymoon days when the DP and President Uhuru Kenyatta projected their dynamism as the “digital” generation leaders, complete with matching white shirts and ties.

American essayist, poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said, “When you strike at the king, you must kill him.”

Emerson was describing a metaphorical, not physical attack — but the implication renders the distinction one without a difference.

In other words, it makes no difference if one merely disrespects a king or he or she physically takes a swing with the aim to injure him. The end outcome would be that the instigator would be dead or condemned to suffering severe consequences unless the king dies.

While Ruto has not taken a physical swing at the President, an examination of his conduct and that of his minions since 2013 clearly provides ample evidence to conclude he has committed political sins against his boss.

While the list of the political sins is long, a few can be raised here without fear of contradiction and make a compelling case for why Ruto is about to be finished politically.

First, while the President was indisputably asleep at the wheel after the 2013 elections — or oblivious to Ruto’s machinations — the DP immediately started to plot his succession game plan.

Ruto also made sure he propped up his preferred candidates to vie against individuals he deemed to be potential political opponents and roadblocks to his own presidential ambitions.

Again, Ruto did all this with no involvement of his boss, the President. And no doubt Uhuru and his minders were unaware of Ruto’s schemes to clandestinely amass power and wealth.

This was a brilliant strategy, except it was destined to backfire once the sleeping lion awoke.

Ruto has been poking the lion that occasionally has wagged its tail, sending flies buzzing.

Having noticed Ruto’s shenanigans, the lion took action and we saw the purging of Ruto loyalists and minions from Jubilee and leadership positions in the National Assembly.

No one expected Ruto to resign as DP after the purging of his loyalists from Jubilee and parliamentary leadership positions. This is because Ruto knew that even if stripped of all powers and given a notepad and pencil to doodle on his desk every day, it was still a significant position to hold as DP — and precisely for this reason, he is still hanging on.

However, given the humiliation he continues to suffer — no different from those in his same position in yesteryears and during succession game periods — Ruto has been ramping up. He has escalated his openly walking with an unprecedented and uncharacteristic swagger in opposition to President Kenyatta, especially on BBI.

No question going back several months now, what Ruto has engaged in is nothing but pure insubordination. That can only compound his already impossible path to the presidency.

Ruto’s defiance became an outright public declaration of war against the President and the system.

By holding a mini-National Assembly group meeting at his official residence in Karen attended by MPs — both loyal and bought — Ruto has now physically taken a swing at the king.

He obviously missed and as Emerson counselled, having missed, Ruto must now suffer the full consequences of the king’s wrath, short of death.

Samuel Omwenga is a legal analyst and political commentator.