To fourth President Uhuru Kenyatta, resting isn’t easy as it may seem. He recently took a dig at the Kenya Kwanza leadership over alleged bullying of his family.
He cautioned President William Ruto that power is fleeting. In a fiery coded message to the chief hustler, he asked him to serve all Kenyans, not just those touting power around him.
Vowing to defend his family, Uhuru was bold. He fears the ‘fifth’ is drunk with State power and now serving egotistical interests. To tell Uhuru-Ruto thriller, let’s first revisit their history.
There were golden times when the duo were political siblings. The ‘dynamic duo’ rode the International Criminal Court wave to clinch the top prize. Those days, they spoke in unison and adorned black pants, white shirts and glossy red ties.
The ‘digital team’ had unparalleled grit and splendour. They focused on what united than divided them.
Their sycophants like Aden Duale were ready to take a bullet for them. In keeping their system unblemished, the Jubilee kingpins brawled their rivals as if there was no tomorrow.
Yes, the team excelled in might. Uhuru often dismissed ODM chief Raila Odinga as another madman out to ruin their party. Ruto too would not tolerate troublemakers. He told off a Cabinet Secretary for ‘cat walking and speaking too much English’ when public money was stolen.
But somewhere on the way, Ruto became an outlander in a government he co-led. He spat fire and blamed it all on the March 9, 2018 handshake but his narrative remained up in the creek. In Chinua Achebe’s famous words, things fell apart.
Discreet attempts by bishops, businessmen and politicians to reconcile them fell flat in the face. When people deserving to be reconciled don’t own the process, it becomes a farce. The two bigwigs bid adieu to their union. The rest is water under the bridge. To date, ordinary Kenyans have no idea what sank the megalith Jubilee ship.
On July 21, listening to Uhuru breathe fire over a police raid at his son’s home and the withdrawal of former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta’s security, two quick questions crossed my mind.
Shouldn’t this have been Uhuru’s chance to not just throw jibes at Ruto but also look back and give us an honest assessment of his own record? And, was his reign any better?
To observers, Uhuru and Ruto are two sides of a coin. The man from Ichaweri owes us his own story in totality even as he plays a saint here.
Without starkly juxtaposing his rule against Ruto’s for us to evaluate the good, the bad and the ugly, he passes for a bitter man beaten at his game.
Does he have regrets? What, for instance, is the one inexcusable thing he did or didn’t do that he’s remorseful about? What were his worst failures? One may ask, does Uhuru regret the killing of Baby Pendo during a State crackdown? Does he regret blocking Raila and CORD leaders from airport VIP lounges in 2013?
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What of calling judges ‘wakora’ and ‘revisiting’ them for overturning his controversial win? Would he still switch TV stations off-air? Would he still deport foreigners working for Nasa? What of the disregard for court orders that defined his rule? Now is a replay of 2013-2022.
Great leaders admit to mistakes. Barack Obama regrets the lack of planning for the aftermath of Muammar Gaddafi’s ouster in Libya. In the UK, David Cameron still shudders with horror because he lost the Brexit referendum.
On the Jubilee Party fallout, a privileged few knew what was inside the Uhuru-Ruto closet. The former president should now tell us what spawned the messy divorce. It may help Mau Mau kid ‘Riggy G’ avoid a similar clash with Ruto. What comes around may go around.
-The writer is a communications practitioner. Twitter: @markoloo