If Raila is a lord of poverty, why did Ruto support him in 2007?

The Deputy President stood with the ODM leader during the alleged 2007 election rigging and the protests that followed. [Courtesy]

In the countdown to 2007 General Election, William Ruto was one of the chief campaigners of ODM leader Raila Odinga.  As a member of the Pentagon, the top decision making organ of ODM, he used all means at his disposal to rally Kenyans behind Raila’s candidature. He believed Raila enjoyed the support of the majority of Kenyans and was poised to form the new government. However, the incumbent, President Mwai Kibaki, was once again declared winner by the disgraced ECK. Audits showed irregularities in the poll had made it difficult to know who, between Raila and Kibaki, had won. During campaigns, Ruto would capitalise on unfulfilled promises of Narc to cast President Kibaki in bad light. He would say the government failed to honour a pre-election deal to create positions of Prime Minister and Deputy PM. This is because the ruling ethnic group wanted to “monopolise power for their personal and selfish interests”. But if you listen to the DP now, he is opposed to the creation of the same positions. What has changed now? Is it because he is running for president? As such, he thinks there is a group of elites plotting to whittle down his powers in the event he wins the election. I have also heard the DP dismissing Raila and President Uhuru Kenyatta on grounds that the two are from political dynasties. Why did he support him in 2007? Again, Ruto supported the candidature of Uhuru in 2002, 2013 and 2017 elections. So, how does he expect to convince Kenyans to buy his argument?

My understanding of leadership is that it does not matter whether the candidate hails from poor or rich family. What matters is whether the candidate meets the constitutional threshold of integrity and moral standing. I have also heard Ruto calling Raila the lord of poverty. At what time did he realise this? In 2007, he preached the gospel of Raila. He believed he is the only leader who would free us from bondage of corruption, oppression and dictatorship. He stood with him during the alleged election rigging protests, but it appeared Raila had little faith in Ruto. This would emerge when Raila unveiled his line-up as stipulated in the National Peace Accord that led to the formation of the Grand Coalition government. Besides Raila as PM, the second top position was that of Deputy Prime Minister. Many thought he would reward Ruto with this position but he failed to do so and instead gave it to Musalia Mudavadi. Raila gave Ruto the position of Agriculture minister, but he later sacked him after he was implicated in the maize scandal. Corruption and outright plunder of public resources is the root cause of poverty. This confines citizens to the life of hopelessness, begging, crime and seeking handouts. To me, the lords of poverty are the corrupt. When public funds are stolen, leaders who mean well for the country would not get money to roll out development projects. Some top politicians have been implicated in mega corruption cases that have been unearthed in recent past. I have never heard Raila’s name being mentioned.