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To resign or not? Ruto’s 2022 election dilemma

By Moses Nyamori and Rawlings Otieno | January 14th 2020
Deputy President William Ruto during an interdenominational church service at St Paul's Makongi Secondary School in Soy, Uasin Gishu County, on Sunday. [DPPS]

Analysts suggest it will be politically suicidal for Deputy President William Ruto to resign at this time, arguing he will expose himself to harsher attacks by State operatives and forego resources crucial for his campaigns.

They further argue that by staying put, the DP is able to play the victim card, which could win him sympathy support and bolster his bid to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Dr Ruto has found himself caught up in a political conundrum created by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and handshake between Uhuru and Opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Pundits reckon

Political analysts and pundits reckon that it would be politically suicidal for Ruto to resign as it would expose him to further attacks by State machinery as well as his political nemesis.

It would also be untactful of him as it would also be used against his bid for State House by labelling him as a rebel who walked out on his boss.

At the same time, overstaying in the “abusive marriage” can also work against him as it can be interpreted to mean that he is a weak politician who cannot face his opponents head on.

“The worse thing to do now is to resign because that is what his detractors want to achieve by humiliating him. If he decides to quit they would extremely frustrate and humiliate him,” says Prof Edward Kisiangani.

He adds: “Right now that is not an option because they will frustrate him and label him as rebel who fought his boss.”

Already, Ruto is shooting straight at his real and perceived foes, and has trained his guns against the BBI.

The DP has claimed that the BBI has been hijacked by Raila to craft a 2022 political vehicle for his quest for the top seat.

Kisiangani believes that by staying put and creating an image of a victim within a government that he worked hard in putting in place, the DP would attract sympathy support.

“By remaining, he will be playing the victim card that will help his course. In western Kenya for instance, he is already gaining traction because of this perceived political persecution,” he adds.

Prof Herman Manyora says that Ruto currently enjoys state resources, which he uses for his weekend rallies.

He says that if he chooses to resign he will lose all the benefits as well as expose himself to attacks.

“He is free to quit government and present his case to the people. But this option is not easy in Africa because when you quit you open yourself to attacks,” says Manyora.

He adds: “Being in government gives him some protection. They can humiliate him but to some limit.”

But he warns that overstaying in the marriage may also work against him as people might start questioning if he is not brave enough to face the president and his people.

“If you overstay, people will start asking ‘are you a man to keep being mistreated’. He needs to choose the right time when he can cause the greatest political harm to Uhuru and quit,” he adds.

Similar views are held by 2013 presidential candidate Prof James ole Kiyiapi, who says that it is in Ruto’s interest to remain in government.

“We are stronger when inside than outside. He can decide to play politics, but while inside because that serves him better,” says Kiyiapi.

He, however, argues that when it becomes unattainable he can choose to opt out, adding that by 2022 the ruling party would have disintegrated.

“Issues within Jubilee are because of the succession and everyone is trying to position himself. By 2022, we will most likely have no Jubilee or have Jubilee under different players,” he says.

He observes that the BBI has been weaponised and turned into a 2022 political vehicle for certain individuals.

Ruto’s allies led by Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet) and Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa have since declared that they will stay put in Jubilee.

Instead, they have dared those uncomfortable with Ruto in Jubilee to quit government.

“If any member of Jubilee is no longer comfortable with the DP or any of us they are free to quit the Jubilee Party and government and go and form their government. We don’t want deceitful con men in our government and party,” said Mr Murkomen.

Barasa said it is people like nominated MP Maina Kamanda who should quit the ruling party for supporting the Opposition.

“Walking out of Jubilee is not an option for us and the DP. We control instruments of power in the party as we have the numbers and we will do everything to ensure Jubilee stays put. But people like Kamanda can leave and join ODM like they have said,” he said.

Uhuru should quit

Kipkelion West MP Hilary Kosgei, and a close ally of the DP, are of the opinion Ruto should not resign and if he must, even Uhuru should quit since the duo was elected on one ticket.

Mr Kosgei held that Ruto has stakes in the Jubilee administration that he helped form and nobody should lecture Jubilee on who should resign and who should not.

Speaking at Parliament Buildings, Mr Kamanda told the deputy president that if he does not believe in the President anymore, he should resign.

“If you don’t believe in the President it is high time you resigned. You cannot keep on attacking the President in his backyard every time. Respect the President if you want to lead,” said Kamanda.

But Junet Mohamed (Suna East), a close ally of Raila, claimed that Ruto had already left Jubilee long time ago, the moment he started going against his boss’ clarion call to stop early campaigns.

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