Ngugi wa Thiong'o: Ruto is selling the country cheap

President William Ruto and US President Joe Biden at the White House during Ruto's recent State visit to the US. [AFP]

Literary icon Prof Ngugi wa Thiong'o has called out President William Ruto over his dalliance with the West, faulting him for siding with oppressors by "selling the country cheap."

In a stinging open letter to the Head of State, Prof Thiong'o described images from Ruto's recent state visit to the United States as "very disturbing," saying the president had chosen to betray the African pride and become the agent of the West. 

"I saw you seated on a chair, grinning, while Biden stood behind you, his face beaming with satisfaction. Why not? He had just announced that you had signed off our beloved Kenya to make it a non-member ally of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation). In other words you had agreed to become Nato’s errand boy in America’s struggle with Russia and China for access to resources of the continent," he said.

The US designated Kenya a non-member ally of Nato, a move US President Joe Biden said was in recognition of "Kenya's many years of contributions to the United States Africa Command area of responsibility."

On his social media handles, President Ruto said the partnership would help "confront criminals and terrorists who deter our economic growth and prosperity."

But Thiong'o would highlight Nato's legacy of leading the purge on former Libyan leader, the late Muammar Gadadafi, whose country is a member of the African Union.

"Ruto, do you know that Nato, murdered Muammar Gaddafi, so that Libyan oil-fields which Kaddafi had nationalised, would revert to the West? Kaddafi was once the chairman of the African Union of which Kenya was a founding member," he said.

Similarly, he castigated the deployment of Kenyan police to Haiti, recounting the struggle the Caribbean nation underwent to free themselves from their French masters, then led by the the most astute of military strategists, Napoleon Bonaparte. 

"While you were inside the White House, Haitians were in the streets demonstrating, calling you a slave. Do you know the history of Haiti? Please read The Black Jacobins the book written by a once Jomo Kenyatta Pan African ally, C L R James. 

"Haiti, now a Black people’s State, used to be a slave colony of France. But led by Toussaint Louverture, Haiti, the richest colony of its time, fought French slavery and in 1804 it seized its independence. In USA slavery was then in full bloom. America did not want its African slaves to emulate Haiti, and it has never forgiven Haiti for that, and thus begun the story of America’s destabilisation of Haiti," said Thiong'o, who highlighted the apparent irony of siding with the West, "originally a settler colony taking over the land that belonged to Native Americans."

"But the colonised Native Americans remained colonised. Kenya was equally a British settler colony. The white settlers wanted to have a similar kind of Independence. But the Mau Mau led by Dedan Kĩmathi stopped them. Years later, Algeria, Rhodesia and South Africa would follow the example of Kenya. Thus the country you now lead, was the first to stop the historical trend of white settlers claiming themselves independent as in America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia."