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Why Kenyans should brace themselves for Joho as next president
By Charles Bazenga | Updated Mar 06, 2018 at 10:54 EAT
Mombasa County Governor Ali Hassan Joho
  • William Ruto and Hassan Joho have all it takes to become whatever they wish to in their political lives
  • If either of the duo wants to lead this country they must reach out to all communities
  • Both of them have the financial muscle that a presidential campaign attracts


H.E William Ruto is the deputy leader, Jubilee Party and the deputy president of the Republic of Kenya. Ali Hassan Joho is the deputy leader, Orange Democratic Party and the Governor of Mombasa County. 

William Ruto is keen to succeed his boss and friend president Kenyatta whilst Governor Joho on the other side is keen to succeed his party boss- Raila Odinga. Joho has hinted severally that he will seek the Kenyans mandate to be their president when his tenure as Mombasa governor lapses.

Ruto has positioned himself as the most suitable Kenyatta successor. The no-show by the NASA principals during the swearing in of Raila Odinga as the "People's president" on January 30 placed Joho ahead of them as far as succeeding Odinga is concerned.

He stood by Mr. Odinga during the hour of need. Both leaders have; energy, the monies, appeal, courage, network and determination that is sufficient to become whatever they wish to in their political lives.

Below is a random pick of some elements that will make them emerge first and second in the 2022 race;

1. Brave

Deputy President Ruto is not a coward. He has confronted his rivals and critics fearlessly and boldly. He defied the Moi narrative in the Rift Valley region to become the kingpin of the region. Those who have risen against him have suffered severe political consequences and would not dare repeat the same. 

HE Ali Joho has come out as a courageous leader who calls out the government whenever he feels that government's acts are inappropriate. Severally he's been involved in an exchange with senior government officials including the President himself. This has endeared him to many Kenyans- they feel that he can fearlessly represent them. 

2. Aggressive

Mr. Ruto and Mr. Joho are go-getters. They have always chased their political dreams passionately, energetically, fearlessly and well. They have always achieved political seats they set their eyes on. Some critics feel that the deputy president has made enemies on his way up and they refer to this as his greatest undoing- burning bridges! 

Governor Joho has won his national admiration through fiercely confronting the government of the day as opposed to individual leaders. This has worked for him as it increases his popularity and admiration countrywide. Both leaders likely to be in the 2022 presidential race. The nature of political contest between these two vibrant politicians is a wait and see thing.

3. Political capital

Owing to their fairly long successful political stints, both Ruto and Joho have built a stable political foundation that is sufficient to help them seek this country's presidency. Ruto has served as a member of parliament, minister, party leader and deputy president.

This exposure is a great contribution to his political capital. Joho, on the other hand, has served as a member of parliament, assistant minister, party leader and governor. This experience is a plus to his political foundation. 

4. Charisma

President Ruto's ambitious and aggressive nature has earned him friends and foes in equal measure. He's admired by Kenyans across the country. He has fierce critics who feel that he doesn't deserve a chance to lead the country. He's never swayed by these critics...he keeps moving on.

He has a vast network across the country- this is his biggest tool in the 2022 presidential bid. Governor Joho on the other side is loved across the country and political divide. How someone who performed dismally in secondary school, went on to acquire a university degree, became a member of parliament and is the second term Governor of the second largest city in Kenya is quite interesting. 

His time after time heated conflicts with the national government thrust him to the national spotlight. His outgoing, fashionable, flamboyant and trendy nature has won admiration among young Kenyans. He's a self-proclaimed sultan- a king/ sovereign of a Muslim state. 

5. Public speaking/narrative masters

Both Ruto and Joho have excellent oratorical skills. When it comes to public speaking they never disappoint. They are able to run political narratives so well that the target audience believes them without checking the facts. Both have a great mastery of both English and the Swahili language hence are able to thrill crowds whenever they take to the podium.

They address the crowds with a lot of energy, humor and political rhetoric. In television shows and summits, both leaders have demonstrated the ability to break down processes and blueprints. This shows that they have a good grasp of issues and are suitable to drive the vision. This will be an advantage in their 2022 bids. 

6. Rao swearing-in ceremony

When National Resistance Movement swore in Mr. Raila Odinga as the "People's President" on 30/01/2017, DP was the acting president as president Kenyatta was out of the country attending an African Presidents Summit in Ethiopia.

William Ruto is 'credited' for the restraint with which the government security agencies conducted themselves on that day. It was expected that there would be a deadly confrontation between NRM/NASA supporters and the law enforcers on that day. The government withdrew all its security apparatus from the swearing-in venue and allowed the opposition to carry on with their event. This was a big win for the government as no violence case was registered.

 On this day it was expected that all senior NASA leadership would be present at the swearing venue. Very few of them turned up...something that the NASA supporters described as fear and betrayal. The three NASA principals- Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetangula, and Musalia Mudavadi- are amongst those who didn't attend the long-awaited function. Governor Joho arrived at the venue alongside Raila Odinga. This was a sign of loyalty and principle. Apart from RAO, Joho was one of the senior most leaders of the NASA coalition. This prompted a section of NASA supporters to call for the swearing in of Hassan Joho as Rails's "deputy president". He was the man of the moment. 

In conclusion;

The aforementioned factors are not the only means to the end. If either of the duo wants to lead this country they must reach out to all communities, shun divisive politics and avoid retrogressive narratives such as marginalization, land etc.

They need to come up with manifestos that prioritize job creation, strengthening government institutions, poverty alleviation, and digitization of various service delivery processes. Both of them have the financial muscle that a presidential campaign attracts. 

Hon Charles Bazenga

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