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The Rift is astir: What next for UhuRuto?

By Kipkoech Tanui | Published Fri, September 11th 2015 at 00:00, Updated September 10th 2015 at 21:56 GMT +3

There is no doubt that my people, the Kalenjin, are unhappy with three recent developments at The Hague. But the International Criminal Court is not even the object of their anger.

This is because like a river that finds its course, it then follows that few believe our leaders can actually change the trajectory of the trial in court. That is seen in the rants about neo-colonialism, sovereignty and the politicisation of the ICC Statute that we signed onto, Robert Mugabe-style.

In other words, whether Deputy President William Ruto and Radio talk-show personality Joshua Arap Sang are guilty or are innocent is a matter that will be determined through the merits or demerits of the evidence adduced.

In other words, it is their defence that will play the biggest role in letting Ruto and Sang off this yoke variously blamed on Opposition leader Raila Odinga, some Westerners, and lately a few so-called ‘rebel’ Rift Valley politicians whose only ‘crime’ appears to be either their inability to bend the knee for our one and only ‘deity’ or perpetual expression of contrary opinion, which is then seen as failing the loyalty test.

It also goes without saying that no case before a court is the same as another.From a layman’s point of view, it is not a given that if the evidence presented against Mr Kenyatta and the other three were too weak to sustain a trial, notwithstanding the court’s claim that its case was eroded by intimidation and even execution of witnesses, then the Ruto-Sang one will take the same road. No, as far as we know, courts do not operate that way. Each case, as they say, is as unique as the children any parent has, even if twins, triplets or quadruplets.

Now let us go to the basis of the current anger, besides the lurking fear that Team Uhuru may still be consumed by celebration and have “forgotten their other ‘two’ brothers he left behind”. But not before we appreciate that it is expected that Kalenjin leaders will try and extract a pound of flesh off the Jubilee political body when their duo appear in trouble.

This is because the political pact that formed the UhuRuto martyrdom alliance was cemented by the argument that by coming together to seize power, that power would be their guarantee against a Raila Odinga-presidency, which was perceived to be a ticket to The Hague.

So when one is free and the junior one is not, Kalenjins would naturally play the politics that would remind the bigger brother that they can pull the rug of power they placed under his feet, soon. Whether the boss will be deterred or politically blackmailed at this stage in the first term is another issue altogether.

The second reason for the anger is the fact that after President Barack Obama’s visit and that of President of the Assembly of States Parties to Rome Statute of ICC, Sidiki Kaba, political temperatures in the Rift Valley rose. Could it be by coincidence? Basic understanding of how our politics works tells me not.

And that it is not just out of the blue sky that Kalenjin leaders decided to hold a prayer service at some shrine in Kuresoi. It is also not by coincidence that at first, Kalenjin leaders argued that their counterparts in the alliance were not welcome, only to later change tune, obviously under pressure.

And admit them into the prayer rally while at the same time, cancelling Mr Ruto and Mr Sang’s appearance and the traditional component that would have resulted in an “earth-shaking” statement on what they now think of those they ‘helped’ into power.

I am imagining that they were going to say that Ruto-Sang case is no longer on Mr Kenyatta’s to-do list. Of course, Mr Ruto and Mr Sang skipped the prayer rally because of the fear their presence would confirm the Prosecutor’s claim that Mr Ruto in particular, is the community’s supreme leader. And as such has the community in his grip, and bears responsibility for all that went wrong.

Finally, the other reason for the anger is the downturn that the Ruto-Sang case is taking, with the court making rulings that have the consequence of a guy cutting your breath by squeezing your neck.

So back to the question of the day; what exactly is happening over and above the claim that Mr Kenyatta should be of more help than he currently is? Or put differently, is there something Mr Ruto’s vicious loyalists, who can never speak or act without his blessings, know that the rest of us don’t know?

I think it would be correct to assume that if there is something lurking in the shadows, no one would be in a better position to know that other than Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto because of their privileged position in power. Because we do not know what it is, we can only try and decipher it from the lips of their lieutenants, and from the little knowledge in interpreting this morse-code-like signal, that there is more than meets the eye.

I am reminded of a Nigerian proverb: a frog does not jump in broad daylight for no reason.

I guess whatever they know might have to do with what is rapidly unfloding at The Hague.


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