Raila, Ruto alliance would be invincible
By Jectone Oyoo | March 9th 2021
His ability to draw back into the fold even the most disgruntled of political nemeses is not in question; a trait that purveys exceptional political acumen and emotional strength forged in the crucible of personal hardships. Thence the idea of forming an alliance with beleaguered Deputy President William Ruto is not implausible.
History is replete with more bitter rivals who have worked together before. As a Kenyan working and living in America, perhaps the apotheosis of such is Abraham Lincoln. When the 16th President of America won the 1860 Republican nomination against three of his fiercest rivals -- New York Senator William Seward, Ohio Governor Salmon Chase and Missouri’s distinguished statesman Edward Bates -- their disregard and angst for him was apparent for even the blind to see.
Lincoln, however, made the three of them a crucial part of his administration, consequently showing his political genius and the wherewithal to form alliances with his erstwhile detractors, repair injured feelings and demonstrate that qualities like tolerance, honesty and sensitivity that we often associate with moral decency can also be impressively political.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila’s March 2018 camaraderie was not unprecedented either. The ‘Handshake’ was not the first time Kenya’s rival elites had put down daggers and opted to work together. If anything, the duo had made pacts before. Raila made one with President Mwai Kibaki following the 2007/08 post-election violence and Uhuru formed an alliance with a former rival, Ruto, and won the 2013 elections.
By ‘taming’ Raila, Uhuru had perhaps solved one of his politically defining migraines. However, he also created another. His ultimate choice of successor is likely to prompt a political explosion that might reunite his deputy with Raila.
Uhuru has a soft spot for both ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and Kanu chairperson Gideon Moi. The duo, alongside Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula, have declared they will form an alliance ahead of the 2022 General Election. Media reports aver that close associates of President Kenyatta are reportedly pushing for a Mudavadi presidency.
Raila has been on the receiving end of their newfound political dalliance with the leaders insisting that the former prime minister becomes a Kingmaker in the next general election. With Ruto smarting from what his allies have termed a glaring treacherousness by his boss, this could create fodder for Raila and the DP to work together. The two were formidable allies during the infallible Pentagon days — a high-powered five-membered ODM juggernaut that was responsible for rewriting history. Its members were Raila, Ruto, Mudavadi, Najib Balala and the late Joe Nyaga.
Kibaki retained power by the skin of his teeth following the onslaught by the Pentagon. Presidential election results were fiercely contested, leading to the birth of the grand coalition government. Raila would then serve as the Prime Minister with Ruto as the Minister for Agriculture before their rancorous divorce in 2011. Since then, Raila and Ruto have had a sour relationship that was further exacerbated by Raila’s handshake deal.
They might bear divergent ideologies but in politics, you can’t rule out anything. Already, hue and cry from Raila’s circles has unmasked disquiet, with Siaya Senator James Orengo saying some individuals from the president’s office have morphed into saboteurs keen on ‘interfering’ with the succession plan.
Oburu Oginga professed the other day that nothing significant stops Raila from working with Ruto since their differences are political, not personal. It will be arduous for the ‘Deep State’ to betray both Ruto and Raila. When State House operatives knighted Mudavadi over Ruto and Uhuru, the duo formed a political juggernaut and are currently serving their second term.
Raila and Ruto enjoy fanatical support; both are cunning politicians, both are enviable mobilisers and thorough campaigners and the DP has the financial muscles to oil a thorough campaign.
It goes without saying that no State Machinery can beat a Ruto-Raila alliance and if the antics being peddled are true, then the country is bruising for interesting political times ahead.
What Kenyans both within and outside the borders like are alliances forged on common ideologies and devoid of political turmoil. The pandemic hit the people hard; politically stirred unrest will be unbearable.
Dr Oyoo is a businessman in Texas, US
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