Ruto sits a heartbeat away from presidency and yet a bridge too far
SEE ALSO: Ruto must go, declares RailaRuto could now be expended with. He must wade his way into 2020 conscious than ever that his “sell by date” was October 26, 2017. The rest is up to him, his wits and his God. For President Kenyatta, the more valuable premium resides in the ODM party leader. He needs to keep the man happy and smiling. This is necessary for purposes of the calm that the President requires as he basks in the sunshine of his second term. The President has clearly understood Niccolò Machiavelli where the Renaissance philosopher advised princes to destroy those who help them to ascend to power and embrace the enemies instead. Those who help you to ascend become a bother and a burden, he said. They imagine that the prince is indebted to them. But the newly accepted enemy has nothing but to be grateful to the prince for embracing him. The DP will do well to enter 2020 with this ancient wisdom in mind. He will need to manage his political agenda with this consciousness. This consciousness must inform his attitude and that of his troops towards the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). If the initiative seeks to destroy him, as his lieutenants are adept at saying, wisdom dictates that he will resist the temptation to fight it. The highest levels of enthusiasm about the BBI have come from the ODM fraternity. President Kenyatta has often sounded like the reluctant partner who must tag along, for the sake of whatever convenience. BBI in essence is an enticing carrot that the DP must refuse the temptation to bite. If he bites, he burns his teeth for nothing. Raila, it has been said, thrives best in controversy riddled environments. In 2020 he will stop at nothing to drag the DP into the mud of as many controversies as he possibly could devise. If Raila has determined that the DP is the man to beat in 2022, it helps him to stage up a number of lead-up derbies in which he could beat him. This could then pave the way to a victorious grand finale in 2022. The DP must refuse to be rattled. Ruto must carefully select which fights he must fight and which ones should be ignored. As matters stand, he has no good reason to pick up the BBI fight. Whichever way Raila wants the BBI to go, wisdom dictates that the DP should deflate him by allowing him. He must make BBI look like an ordinary small matter about which only Raila is excited. In any event, the benefits of the BBI are open to everyone. Fighting them is a waste of resources that could go towards a more justified effort. One such justified effort is expansion of both territory and partnerships. A general who has a major engagement in the offing must get into treaties with other generals, on both cooperation and neutrality. Like a wise general, the Deputy President must comb the landscape in 2020 and determine which alliances he must lock in. If there are spaces he can enter without alliance formation, he does well to enter them on his own. This, however, will prove easier said than done.
SEE ALSO: Most respected KenyansFor the time being, the DP seems determined to navigate his way into Central Kenya, with or without President Kenyatta. This could prove costly in the end. Each space has its owners. When in 2013 Raila imagined that he could penetrate both Kalenjin Rift Valley and Central Kenya without the owners, he got a rude shock. Ruto could be headed the same way in Central and possibly Western. In this regard, he would do well to mend fences with his boss. He must also work with the owners of Western. First, he must find out what went wrong between him his boss and restore the goodwill. Then he must meekly move to the rest of the country, patiently reaching out to the local giants. If the President thinks that the ties that bound him to his deputy no longer count, the DP needs to persuade him otherwise. He will possibly need to get back into the uncomfortable space of the ICC and remind his boss that while the matter appears to be in a safe lock under a private key, the Kenyan state has the spare key to the lock. In 2020, the DP may need to remind his boss that they got reprieve from The Hague because President Mwai Kibaki and Attorney General Githu Muigai were cautious about the management of the ICC cases. The Kenyan state was in the end accused of refusing to cooperate with the ICC. However, the two ICC cases were never conclusively put away. They could still be reopened. It should, therefore, matter to both the President and his deputy who takes over the instruments of state in 2022 and, with them, the Kenyan spare key to the ICC issues. Circles of power Finally, the DP has image issues to reckon with in 2020 and beyond. Regardless that he has been involved or not, he must do something critical and convincing about perceptions of impropriety. In a country where corruption seems to be the most common coin in the circles of power, his detractors keep coming up with his name. The thing about perceptions in high places is that it is difficult to separate them from reality. He must create a fresh reality about himself with respect to impropriety. He could not possibly leave this to chance. Recreating himself must be top on his 2020 agenda. Related to this is the little matter of hustlers versus dynasties as an election agenda. Every nation has its owners. Those who will ascend to power must live with this reality. The hustler versus dynasties agenda has easily been one of the giant wedges between the Deputy President and his boss. It simply offends the ears of the so-called dynastic families. And they have the muscle, the will and the reason to fight back. They can paralyze and lock you out. The DP’s image repair agenda in 2020 must include sorting himself out on the dynasties issue. While at it, he will want to remember that royalty is averse to upstarts. He needs to take a good long look at royalty and seek admission and accommodation. It is all a very delicate balancing act for this gentleman who was named for the legendary Koitalel Samoei, whom the British did not know how to handle. Will he balance the numerous equations in 2020?
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