Canaan: Moses, William Ruto and "Joshua"

Deputy president William Ruto addressing the press on marking the end of FGM beads Initiative at his official home, Karen. With him are UNFPA Representative Dr. Ademola Olajide(back), Ushanga, Kenya chairperson Hellen Nkaisseri(r) and chairperson Anti-FGM Board. [Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

When Deputy President Dr. William Ruto declared during a radio interview recently that “it is not a must he becomes the fifth president,” and that he will retire alongside President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022 if he fails in his quest for the Presidency, he was expressing a reality and an eventuality. The Presidency to any deputy president is so close, yet so far. We do not even know their existence, yet they labour in vain each day to serve their nations diligently and faithfully.

There was a great leader in the Bible who enjoyed everything from massive support of his people to perfect relations with God, but failed to attain the goal of his life – to enter Canaan, the Promised Land. His name is Moses son of Amram.

In Deuteronomy 3; 23-28, Moses pleaded with the Lord saying “O Lord God, you have only begun to show your servant your greatness and your mighty hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as yours? Please let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, that good hill country and Lebanon”. But the Lord was angry with me because of you and would not listen to me. And the Lord said to me, “Enough from you; do not speak to me of this matter again. Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes westward and northward and southward and eastward, and look at it with your eyes, for you shall not go over this Jordan. But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him for he shall go over at the head of this people and he shall put them in possession of the land that you shall see”.

Ancient world

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From Adam to Christ, there is none greater than Moses. He is one of the few characters of scripture whose course is sketched from his infancy to death. The fierce light of criticism has been turned upon him for generations, but he is still the most commanding figure of the ancient world.

In character and faith in the unique position assigned him as the mediator of the old covenant, and in achievements, he stands first among the heroes of the Old Testament.

All of God’s early dealings with Israel were transacted through Moses. He was a prophet, priest and King in one person, and so united all the great and important functions which later were distributed to a plurality of persons.

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How then did such a unique leader fail to accomplish the greatest goal of his life and destiny? William Ruto has an appointment with history and destiny. Both Ruto and Moses are yoked in a series of striking antithesis. Moses for instance, was the child of a slave, and the son of a queen.

He was born in a hut, and lived in a palace. He inherited poverty, and enjoyed unlimited wealth. He was the leader of armies and the keeper of flocks. He was the mightiest of warriors, and the meekest of men. He was educated in the court of Egypt, and yet dwelt in the desert. He had the wisdom of Egypt and the faith of a child.

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He was filled for the city, and wandered in the wilderness. He was tempted with the pleasure of sin, and endured the hardship of virtue. He was backward in speech and yet talked with God. He had the rod of a shepherd, and the power of the infinite.

Red herrings

He was a fugitive from Pharaoh, and an ambassador from heaven. He was the giver of the law, and the forerunner of grace. However, the reality and eventuality is that William Ruto like Moses may not achieve the greatest god of his life – the Presidency.

The harsh assessment of the state of politics in the county points to a system that is about to eat one of its own. First, the Jubilee Party may be Ruto’s deepest political pit. Grinding poverty, suffocating corruption, escalating insecurity, mass unemployment and the state of hopelessness in the country point to a failure in strategy. Uhuru Kenyatta’s failures, imply the failure of the Jubilee dream.

Kenyans cannot replace Uhuru with Ruto. Second; The handshake has created two hurdles, the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and Raila Odinga. BBI will yield a new constitutional order that will muddy the political landscape for William Ruto. Raila Odinga is planting red herrings across the political landscape and Ruto is chasing after them. This has the effect of derailing his focus from concentrating on the things that matter.

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What recourse does Ruto have in the scheme of things? Again Deutronomy 34 verse 1-12 is inviting, “When Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah which is opposite Jericho and the Lord showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, Land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah, as far as the Western sea, the Negeb, and the plain that is the valley of Jericho the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar, and the Lord said to him.

This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your own eyes, but you will not go over there!...... And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him.  So the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses”.

There must be a plan B. William Ruto the Moses of our time, must quickly back “Joshua” and that Joshua for all practical purposes is Gideon Moi. Charge him and encourage and strengthen him, for he shall go at the head of the people full of the spirit of wisdom and he shall put them in possession of the land that you saw firmly and in good faith unto prosperity. For whereas William Ruto was a servant in the wilderness, Gideon Moi will be a son in the land. 

Mr Chesang is a historian.           

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