We should give Ruto benefit of doubt to steady the Kenyan ship

President William Ruto. [PCS]

The commander-in-chief has repeatedly maintained that he will not shrink from making hard choices in the interest of the country.

As Robert Green teaches us in his book ‘48 laws of Power’, we judge others not by their intentions but by the consequences of their actions. Today, as we speak we have averted a debt default.

We have brought down the cost of petroleum products without wasting taxpayers’ money on subsidy. The shilling has stabilised against major world currencies including the dollar, which has effectively brought down cost of importation.

Above all else, we have re-set politics on genuine transition. The politics of old hatred is quickly being replaced with a politics of enlightened self-interest and huge swathes of this country that were hitherto simply delivered on political tables like chattels are now redefining their politics through issues.

If in doubt, let me explain.

When we came from the General Election, the people of Mt Kenya had nothing but disdain for their kith and kin who had voted to the contrary candidate. They introduced the word Kagege, meaning foolish into national political syntax.

So bad was their internal division that when the supposedly smarter ones hitherto called kieleweke started donning sufuria in their heads ostensibly to overthrow the president and his administration, the former team that had been branded tugege, foolish ones were beside themselves with laughter.

But there was a context to it. Central Kenya politics has historically been organised and mobilised largely on ethnic siege and ethnic exceptionalism mentality. Phrases like ‘nyamu cia ruguru’ meaning wildcats of the west, have been liberally used to refer to leaders outside Mt Kenya.

So it has become near impossible to reform politics of this country while it still runs on the software of ethnic suspicion and mistrust. In fact, the concept of garbage in garbage out finds its most eloquent expression in our politics as is.

However good a leader might be, if he still has to operate in a political environment that mobilises a community to come out like red ants (kumira kumira) purportedly to protect some mythical ethnic interest then we would all be staring doom in the eye like ancient Egypt, Gomorra and the old Roman empire. The rot and decay would swallow us like the biblical fish that swallowed Jonah.

As we speak, with the commencement of the pursuit of the ‘African Union Commission Chair project’ we have seen the mountain beginning to embrace one another. If in doubt, look around more intently.

Those who used to revel in mocking and ridiculing the deputy president are today diehard fans of the second lady Pastor Dorcas Gachagua. They affectionately call him Mama boys.

In a single stroke, the political leadership has transformed blinding hate into an oasis of love and brotherhood. A subsequent poll asked the same residents of Central Kenya who they believe is the one leader burning the midnight oil to solve their challenges. Guess whom the pollsters picked at over 80 per cent approval rating? His Excellency the Deputy President.

This needs to be celebrated, for today, if you go to Luo Nyanza and everyone legitimately wishes that the President succeeds. He went to them with outstretched arms and even when his efforts to lead the country in the search of ecumenism were viewed with suspicion, he did not give up. He went back over and over again.

Today, the historical disdain for the government of the day in Luo Nyanza, has been dealt a death blow. As we grapple with other challenges let us remember that there has never been a human enterprise that went entirely smoothly. Especially in governance.

Some unforeseen or underrated threat may blossom and threaten the tranquility of the administration.

As the President sorts out all the little messes that have reared their heads like the fertiliser scandal, let us remember that his prudent leadership has put us in a steady path of progress.

Given time, he will return us to our innate optimism and self-confidence.

-The writer is the convenor Inter Parties Youth Forum. [email protected]