If William Ruto takes over, he might end up being a one-term president

President-elect William Ruto during the swearing-in of Johnson Sakaja as the Nairobi Governor. [Standard]

My thesis in this article is humble; by turning majority of legislators to his cronies, William Ruto, if confirmed, could be a one-term president. The most daring factor in Dr Ruto's regime to be is that the hustlers are the principal stakeholders. Unlike Raila Odinga, no nobles or kingmakers are involved - the people will be said to have enthroned him.

A few hours after IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati declared Ruto president-elect, he hunted down almost all independent legislators and one governor and converted them for his use. He also went for United Democratic Movement, the party he claims he founded, and brought its house comprising seven MPs, two senators, two governors and 35 Members of the County Assembly to his bosom.

To give credit where it is due, this was a masterstroke move; striking the enemies when they are least prepared, to ensure that he controls both houses of power in case he becomes president. On the other hand, - and this is the crux of this article - since Ruto is bringing all to his side, he will have no enemy to trust to protect him if exposed. Let me explain.

In the 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene advises that for a leader to survive tirades that come after they have gained power, they must learn to use enemies and veer away from erstwhile fidelities. Methinks this is where Ruto needs to draw a lot of wisdom from his boss Uhuru Kenyatta.

Greene warns that once you secure power, friends betray you hurriedly. They become consumed with envy and think that they are your equals. As such, it is a blessing if you have a pool of nemeses who equal or, for the excellent, outnumber your kingmakers. When hired, these arrows can be more useful and loyal than friends as they have more to prove.

Uhuru's survival in his second term as president depended on erstwhile opposition legislators whose numbers cancelled those of the Jubilee-turned-UDA lawmakers. He could use them to neutralise friends-turned foes inside Jubilee. That is why he was able to push Jubilee fumigation amidst a corona-infested country in 2020 and later pushed the BBI through at the county and national legislative organs ceteris paribus. Although the Judiciary annulled the BBI, we know that with the help of his former enemies, Uhuru had enough power to push legislation.

So, what should Ruto prepare for? Since a person loses influence once they get into power, Ruto must prepare for such eventuality because it must come to pass. That's why by converting his former enemies into allies, who are coming to him for expediency, Ruto could be signing himself into a one-term presidency.

As I usually say, power depletes the taste and flavour of those who get it. Two, as Machiavelli would say, when hustlers changed their rulers willingly, they hoped to better themselves, and this hope induced them to take arms against Uhuru's government-so, if they find themselves afterwards in worse situations, they will change the regime again. It isn't easy to meet expectations of the people.

A ruler can only avoid such a scenario if they are installed by the nobles or by God. As for God, we signed a charter that he won't interfere with our elections during the time of priest Samuel. Since then, we have remained a democracy, not a theocracy. Thus, God only accepts those we elect and watches as we face the consequences of our choices.

The second reason is that in 2027, the Mount Kenya region will have a presidential candidate. If not Uhuru Kenyatta II, a new person will be matured. Mount Kenya will trouble Ruto-as they played a visible role in enthroning him.

Therefore, in 2027, the Kikuyu and Kalenjin ethnopolitical oligarchs won't abide. Since the political heavens don't let the words of a king fall to the ground, it is in 2027 when Uhuru's prophesy could come to pass-that Kenya is ripe for a president from other tribes.

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

The Standard
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