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What William Ruto should do to make all Kenyans feel safe in his hands

Deputy President William Ruto during the declaration of presidential election results by the IEBC, Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi County.

William Ruto, if successful, will be a perfect creation of his followers ‘the hustler nation’. The biggest lesson Dr Ruto should learn from his outgoing boss is how to accommodate close to seven million Kenyans who voted for Raila Odinga. And since the people will have installed him for all the people, all we ask of him is to make life better for all Kenyans.

Therefore, once the dust is settled, the incoming government must find innovative ways of healing the broken-hearted and those who are crushed in spirit. Most Kenyans are asking, are we safe in the hands of Ruto in case he’s eventually becomes the president?

Ruto’s immense task, therefore, will be making millions of Kenyans to have confidence in him. Will this work without bringing Raila on board?

In his acceptance speech after he was announced President-elect, Ruto was quick to say that he would not entertain handshake politics. He also said that those who sacrificed so much to bring the victory would be given a chance to serve in his government first.

He further said his government will not engage in vengeance. The indication is that, although he will forgive those who hurt him during campaigns, he will build a cordial relationship with them in his government, not a fellowship. But, of course, that’s the pain of democracy—the majority rules over the minority.

President Uhuru Kenyatta experimented with ‘handshake politics’, and it obviously did not favour his deputy because it ghettoised him (Ruto) as second in command. In my last week’s column, I argued that the 2018 handshake between Raila and Uhuru was a blessing in disguise for Ruto. Verily I tell you, if Uhuru did not part ways with Ruto, the deputy president would be wallowing in obscurity, weighed down by incumbency.

I still insist that Raila chose to carry the cross of incumbency. And since you cannot have power and the people simultaneously, Raila’s gods are not to blame. In any case, Raila had experimented with the people four times, and they had failed him.

Therefore, it was time for him to try the nobles—whatever you do with this information is none of my business.

So, what should Ruto do? Firstly, if he is lucky enough to be sworn in, whatever policies he will put in place must favour the people. If his government prioritises the people, he won’t need to build a thousand barricade walls around himself. But if he doesn’t think through this doctrine of survival, he must wait for the hyenas that will eat him.

I must remind the president-elect that Uhuru looked healthy in his second term because of his gratification from the six million political praise and worshipers Raila brought with him after the handshake.

These included ODM and, more significantly, NASA coalition politicians loyal to Raila. This stroke of genius transformed the erstwhile Uhuru’s nemesis into his worshippers.

As such, the son of Jomo had all his battles handled, and the only work he was left to handle was his BMR, a consequence of peace of mind.

Most of the people who voted for him in 2017 were thrown into a mulatto complex, given that even Ruto did not immediately accept that he had bile with his boss. I have severally opined here that this complexity kept the country guessing but united through the August 9, 2022 elections. I could be wrong!

The crux of the matter is this. Nicollo Machiavelli, in The Prince, says, “He who becomes a Prince through the favour of the people should always keep on good terms with them; which it is easy for him to do since all they ask is not to be oppressed.”

Regimes are like tea bags; once they come into power, they lose flavour with the people—it is the work of the president to remain relevant.

Dr Ndonye is a senior lecturer in the School of Music and Media at Kabarak University