The Deputy President William Ruto is one politician who is charting an untrodden path.
Other than being the first Deputy President in the country, a position he earned after being the Uhuru Kenyatta’s running mate in the 2013 elections, Ruto has found himself in unfamiliar grounds.
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His conspicuous absence at the National Covid-19 conference at KICC raises questions as to whether he is still committed to serving the country as the second in command. This is so especially after it emerged that the DP was invited to the event and thus chose not to show up.
Ever since the President made up with his political nemesis, Raila Odinga, the relationship between the him and his deputy has been anything but rosy. This tiff escalated after the ruling party purged the DP’s allies from key organs of the party and parliamentary committees at the National Assembly and the Senate.
Be that as it may, it is worth noting that the DP is the President’s principal assistant as far as state matters are concerned and hence should be seen to play that role at all times. It quite different from their duties in the ruling party.
The President’s relationship with the Chief Justice is arguably not very smooth but David Maraga was present at the occasion and even addressed participants.
Other notable figures in attendance were Raila Odinga and ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi.
The event being a national dialogue on the pandemic was supposed to transcend political differences and bring Kenyans together in trying to figure out how to deal with the virus going forward.
The Deputy President ought to acknowledge that he was elected by Kenyans as the second in command and so they expect him to perform his duties without any reservations.
On the material day of the conference, the DP was at his official residence in Karen receiving various youth groups who were presented with various equipment to enhance their businesses.
Since the DP has repeatedly reaffirmed his commitment to the Big four agenda, one expects that he should align his development plans with the president’s to avoid confusion.
The DP’s development initiatives that are not structured within the overall Big Four Agenda may be misconstrued to mean that he is fronting a parallel initiative from the president’s. In any case, anything that the Jubilee government does should conform to its manifesto and going by the pronouncements of the DP, it seems as if he is charting a new path altogether as far as the country’s development agenda is concerned.
As long as he is still a member of the government and the ruling party, there ought to be a way in which all that he does be in sync with the state’s agenda.
Some of the DP’s allies have said that he didn’t need to attend a conference that was populated by those who mismanaged the Covid-19 funds. But he is still part and parcel of the government.
Jubilee government has been beset by all sorts of financial scandals since 2013 when it came to power. Are the DP allies saying that accountability for misappropriation of funds has just started now? What about the past infractions? We should not bring up issues of accountability when it suits us. It will not be a genuine concern about the pilferage of the country’s resources.
If the DP feels that it is no longer tenable for him to serve a government that he helped to form, then the best thing to do is to relinquish his position so as to enable him to fully concentrate on his plans for the 2022 presidential elections.
That way, he will be disentangled from encumbrances that are related to serving as the country’s second in command. It seems as if his relationship with his boss has taken an irreversible turn and prospects of the two working together smoothly are dim indeed.
The DP seems to be introducing a new political mantra to the electorate two years to the election. He says that we need to recast our political priorities and reorient it towards problems of the youth and the poor. What happens to the Jubilee manifesto that promised its supporters a number of things? As it is, the gulf between the president and his deputy is widening and it has started to affect state operations, something that should not happen at all.
-The writer is the author of Aphorisms and Poems of Light