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For Ruto, there are no two ways: Fight or flee

By Walter Chesang | February 15th 2019

“A dance,” goes a Kalenjin saying “should be stopped when it is still enjoyable”. The more the dance proceeds the more it gets tiring, rough, irritating and chaotic. Enjoyable moments, beyond certain point would easily turn nasty or tragic for the dancing party. This point seems to be drawing nigh for the Jubilee Party. The political landscape is getting muddy, murky, slippery and hazy for the open ambitions of Deputy President William.

The wisdom of the Psalmist in the book of Ecclesiastes rings true and just at times like this. “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the Heaven. A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep and a time to cast away. What profit has he who works in that wherein he labours?” For his troubles the legendary jazz singer from Zimbabwe the late Oliver Mtukudzi definitely pose “What shall we do”?

Coward of the county

The advice of Kenny Rogers in his rendition – Coward of the County is applicable to the scene we are in. “Every Gambler (Hustler) knows the secret to surviving….. knowing when to fold up, knowing when to walk away, knowing when to run” Is it about time Dr Ruto to fold up, walk away or run from the Jubilee? What chances does his political ambitions stand if he continues to serve as Deputy President? What chances does he have if he quits to build his own house – a brand new Party for his 2022 presidential bid?

President Uhuru Kenyatta, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and their associates- for all practical purposes-said the intention of the handshake was to create a new society defined by inclusivity. This arrangement- it seems- does not include Dr Ruto or if it does, at a lower pecking order.

The indicators of this paradigm shift are as follows:-

First; The referendum whirlwind: The coming referendum will definitely disfigure the political landscape whatever the question because the proponents of the referendum want to include as many interests as possible in the Executive. This will force a deeply interested person like Dr Ruto to oppose it. The sheer force and pressure emanating from this “tsunami” will catapult those who oppose it to political Siberia and alter the balance of power for a long time. Even if the Deputy President swims along, the political wounds and injuries he will sustain will take long to heal. The outcome for whatever reason will not favour him.

Secondly; The Murathe Prophesy: In all religions of the world, prophets are extremely unpopular. David Murathe then the Jubilee Vice Chairman ran to the mountain top as soon as he received a message from the owner(s) of Jubilee. Even though the message was unpleasant, unpopular and painful to the DP’s camp, he should have been encouraged, feted and fed with “mursik” to give more “insights”. Instead the messenger and the message was killed. Perhaps we would have continued to know what the “Mountain People” think. The Jubilee Party may not be available after all. By crucifying the prophet, we subjected ourselves to self-denial. How will we know the “secret” thoughts and plans of our other significant partner. Ama Tuko Pamoja? Are we together?

UhuRaila factor

Thirdly: The UhuRaila Question: The handshake rekindled a new warmth, brotherhood and informality between the President and Mr Odinga that surpasses national understanding. This is the necessary recipe for redirecting the national political discourse for whatever reason and in whatever direction. Politicians the world over have interests that must be protected by all means. Where their interests converge, a momentous impetus is generated that can sweep all other things aside. Woe unto you if you stand on their path. The Kalenjin elders have not once warned Dr Ruto to jealously guard the gates against this eventuality but his stubbornness has brought us to this deep end. To attempt to swim against this tide is to court political disaster in whatever way.

Fourthly; The Executive Order NO. 1 of 2019. This order created the National Development Implementation and Communication Cabinet Committee (NDICC) chaired by Fred Matiang’i.  Now, Dr Matiang’i is not an ordinary Cabinet Secretary. He is a man who can take action just to prove that he can do it. As Interior CS, he controls immense instruments of violence at his disposal. These include the entire Provincial Administration, the Police Service, the Prison Service, the Kenya Forest Service, the Kenya Wildlife Service and the National Youth Service. With these instruments, he can bring a political Goliath to his knees. The chances are that this order is intended to serve a specific purpose and no doubt, it will.

When to run away

In the wild, a prowling spectacular lion was hungry and angry. His roaring rent the air and his intention to kill was clearly evident to the entire spectrum of wildlife. Warthogs scampered to their hideouts. Monkeys climbed the tallest trees and covered their faces with leaves. The antelopes, gnu and kudu sprinted across the hills. Then five buffalo bulls detached from a grazing herd to face the emerging challenge.

Everybody expected the roaring and ranting Lion to turn the Buffalo bulls into early supper but to the consternation of the animal kingdom the Lion folded its tail between its legs and took off as fast as it could. In the mind of the Lion, “a living Dog is better than a dead Lion”.

Mr Chesang is a historian

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