REALIGNMENTS

Political prostitution without dignity is back

We are beginning to see it unfold, with more to come unless Ruto’s fortunes take a dive for the worst

In Summary

• Now that the powers that be have failed to politically neuter Ruto, their inability to do so has not only emboldened him.

• It has increasingly made hime very attractive to those who have value in his eyes, and wish to cash in.

Hundreds of youth attend a political rally in Nairobi.
POLITICS: Hundreds of youth attend a political rally in Nairobi.
Image: FILE

More than a year ago, I opined that along with popularising BBI, President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga would rally their bases to form a new alliance that would ride on the wave to victory in 2022 from top down.

Things were looking good then, as the Covid-19 outbreak had disrupted our politics and every aspect of our lives.

Some said “reggae has stopped,” a reference to the ostensibly impeding stoppage of BBI on its tracks, just as the train was picking up steam.

The BBI proponents managed to push BBI over the county assemblies hurdle and spectacularly so, given there was only less than a handful of counties that rejected it.

However, the whole country now feels as though we have been on a giant treadmill with this BBI.

On the one hand, we have been running with the BBI for what seems to be an eternity, but the treadmill is still in the same room. Right next to the treadmill are dogged BBI opponents who are jogging in place and throwing punches against an imaginary opponent. Both groups are exhausted.

But there is one man standing at the corner with his hands in the pocket, watching his soldiers running in place and throwing punches in the air on one eye, and those running on the treadmill with the other.

His strategy is simple: He knows the power running the treadmill will be out at anytime and those running on it will have no choice but to get off and go home, hoping they have only gotten some good exercise.

The few running in place, too, will have no choice but to follow suit when the facility owner says it is time to go. Where does that leave BBI?

The man standing at the corner will be the last to leave the room and gleeful because for him, it matters not one bit whether BBI passes or flops. That is why he has been coyly trying to have the cake and eat it: Appearing to support it while at the same time trashing it openly or having his foot soldiers do so.

When not pretending to being merely an innocent victim of malicious machinations by his political enemies who have shoved him aside, the man pocketing is dishing the same, if not worse, malicious schemes and machinations against the enemies.

In the aforementioned opinion article, I said unless Ruto is politically neutered pronto, he will be the one doing the neutering sooner or later.

We are now past anticipating this later and fast approaching sooner.

Ruto has no doubt been intensifying his efforts to make sure politicians from his target areas — Mt Kenya region —remain intact in his Tangatanga camp but also ump up his efforts to bring more to the fold.

I also said it was open season for political prostitution and that even the most principled politicians will soon find it irresistible to jump on to Ruto’s bandwagon.

That never quite panned out. Though there were a few such defections from Raila camp to Ruto’s, it was simply because of the Covid-19 disruption.

Now that the powers that be have failed to politically neuter Ruto, their inability to do so has not only emboldened him. It has increasingly made hime very attractive to those who have value in his eyes, and wish to cash in.

It does not matter what they said about Ruto in the past —and some have said really stinging things. It is political prostitution without dignity, if you will, and we are just beginning to see it unfold, with more to come unless Ruto’s fortunes take a dive for the worst.

Samuel Omwenga is a legal analyst and political commentator