In chess, there are two kinds of players; the intelligent and the wise. Ruto played the intelligent and Uhuru the wise.
In the first term of the Jubilee administration, President Uhuru Kenyatta made his deputy Kenya’s fifth president. This happened in 2014 when he surrendered the presidency and presidential motorcade to William Ruto so as to attend court at The Hague.
Things, however, changed post-2017 elections. The worst Jubilee political insider trading happened when Uhuru and ODM leader Raila Odinga shook hands, a handshake that later mutated into the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). This triggered a political chess game between the president and his deputy.
In chess, there are two kinds of players; the intelligent and the wise. Ruto played the intelligent and Uhuru the wise. An intelligent chess master banks on the queen, which is the most powerful piece that can move in one straight direction capturing the opponent’s pieces with absolute impunity. A wise chess master concentrates on the eight pawns, which although can move in only one direction, each has the potential to be promoted to a queen.
Uhuru has since been moving his pawns; politicians who have the potential to become president in 2022. They include Raila, Gideon Moi, Musalia Mudavadi and Kalonzo Musyoka. Ruto, on the other hand, has invested everything on the queen — himself. The politicians have perfected their approaches — deploying spin doctors, strategists, propagandists and all sorts of ‘experts’.
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The Tangatanga mandarins continue to suffer prodigious losses because although they have courted the most excellent treatise of war — The Bible — they haven’t paid detailed attention to The Art of War. The Art of War is a classical Chinese military treatise of the fifth Century by Sun Tzu, a military strategist, which has inspired superstructures in military, business, law, politics, and other aspects of life.
In The Art of War, there are five essentials for a victory that are deficient on DP Ruto’s side and which have caused bitterness in his political stomach. First, a victor must know when to fight and when not to. Ruto broke this law successfully immediately after the 2017 elections when he started beating his path towards 2022 presidency. Even when Uhuru showed up with the handshake and BBI smokescreens, he did not retreat to strategise; he continued firing while engulfed by the decoys.
Resultantly, his right-hand soldiers such as former CS Henry Rotich, CS Mwangi Kiunjuri, governors Ferdinand Waititu and Mike Sonko and lately senators Kipchumba Murkomen and Susan Kihika fell into what looked like self-wielded swords. Well, the smoke is not yet dissolved, and Uhuru is servicing the guillotines.
Second, he will win who knows how to handle his superior and inferior forces. Ruto reads his Bible well. The Bible is the greatest treatise on the way we should relate with our bosses. Ruto chose not to attack his boss in public, but his Tangatanga allies – with his blessings or without – have been launching synchronised forays against the president. The Art of War marking scheme has is that no warrior has ever succeeded in attacking their superiors.
Third, one cannot win a battle if his army is not animated by the same spirit throughout its ranks. In different political scenes and media interviews, Ruto is seen defending the president. However, his handymen do not have the same spirit. Does this just happen or does he plan it? Whatever the case, he has attacked a besieged territory and lost the battle.
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The fourth essential for victory is that a winner must be prepared and wait to take his adversary unprepared. Regardless, Ruto’s constant display of might through his political hitmen prompted his opponents to launch counterattack formations such as Kieleweke.
This also attracted his enemies from all sides. Let me explain. During the German invasion of the Soviet Union, which went by the moniker ‘Operation Barbarossa’, Winston Churchill told his secretary that his enemy’s enemy is his friend. Methinks this is what inspired Nasa members, whose geese were already cooked, to back the handshake. They later locked Ruto’s militia outside BBI. This way, Kieleweke was bolstered and roamed around with bazookas aimed at Tangatanga.
Lastly, Ruto had the political-military capacity, but he allowed his sovereign to interfere with it. By the failing to cushion his battalion from sovereign’s interference, a lot was lost. Uhuru avoided the typical ‘strike the shepherd to scatter the sheep’ stratagem and decided to strike the sheep while preserving their shepherd. Uhuru’s soldiers are dividing the spoils of his befitting strategy. If Ruto comes through, he should strengthen his brothers.
Dr Ndonye is a Media and Political Economist