If there is one word that can describe President William Ruto, it must be – indefatigable. Relatives of the word include dogged, inexorable, unrelenting and such other special words describing grim determination.
This unrelenting spirit has seen the new president hit the ground running after months of gruelling campaigns. And instead of taking a well-deserved breather, the president has stayed on his feet running – perhaps a heritage from the home of champions.
The speed with which the controversial six judges were sworn in, Mombasa port activities restored, and a few other matters acted upon, has shown that the man is dogged in his mission to turn Kenya around. This is either too good to be true, or too true to be good.
It is oft said if the deal seems too good, think twice. Thus, some are beginning to fear that this Ruto deal might be too good to be true. It might just be a matter of time before the energy begins to dissipate into the usual national complacency or even acrimony.
After all, in 2003 the NARC Ubwogable team began with similar gusto but did not last three months before it disintegrated. Yet, there is a sense in which we must give the new president some benefit of doubt.
Dr Ruto has been on his feet daily for the past over ten years. It started with his campaigns for the presidency in 2012 when he joined hands with former president Uhuru Kenyatta to form Jubilee party.
Faced with the prospect of being hauled to The Hague to face alleged criminal charges, the duo traversed the nation in campaigns that had dual purpose of winning the presidency and escaping The Hague. They prayed at every rally and knelt at every altar. God heard their prayers and granted them both requests.
As Deputy President, Ruto continued to traverse the country on government agenda. In the second term, however, his nimble feet seemed no longer appreciated by his boss who reprimanded him for too much “tanga tanga” at the expense of real work.
But the man was inexorable. He turned “tanga tanga” into a campaign slogan that soon drew a major following. He later converted the brigade into the Hustler Nation with which – against all odds – romped into State House.
It is therefore well possible that the president might just be living up to the slogan he confessed to have adapted from Kenneth Matiba, ‘Kuuga na gwika’ – Kikuyu for “saying and doing”. Ruto turned it into the popular ‘Kusema na kutenda’ slogan that he used for quite some time, and which seems to be driving his current service agenda.
Could it then be that what should worry us is that this thing might turn out to be too true to be good? It is well possible. Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman is best-known for his argument that “there is no free lunch.”
Therefore, if we are going to benefit from the indefatigable efforts of the president, we might as well roll up our sleeves and join him in the trenches of speed and hard work. Of course, we look forward to some promised freebies to trickle down from the high tables, but the only hope for Kenya is to become a working nation.
Kenya is certainly poised for greatness, but the journey to that brilliance demands that we change our ways. In his treatise to the Ephesians, Paul had some sound advice.
He said: “Each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbour. In your anger do not sin. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”
This may sound too true to be good, but it is our only hope for helping President Ruto build a new Kenya.