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OPINION: Why DP Ruto stands to benefit more from Big Four success
By Mureu Patrick | Updated Jul 20, 2018 at 12:15 EAT
Deputy President William Ruto [COURTESY]

If there was a single factor that truly attracted friends and foes to the Jubilee campaign team in the run-up to last year general election, one thing that the masses could identify with and which could have given the UhuruRuto duo honest votes across the country, it is the connection to the national electricity grid. 

What was dubbed the ‘Last Mile Connectivity’ was one truism the often romanticised hunt for the vote was anchored on. And it delivered.

From pictures of, especially, Deputy President William Ruto in a mud-walled structure in Turkana to a barbershop and welding workshop in Kogallo, the running theme was the switching on of a light bulb courtesy of the Last Mile. Save for the not-so-honest criticism of electric light in the midst of striking poverty, the switch on indeed turned on quite a number of voters. I can bet at least a million of the votes Jubilee garnered in the two presidential elections last year were motivated by the connectivity.

Jubilee campaigners never missed an opportunity to remind their opponents of the fact that the administration had increased the number of those connected to electricity by proportions never witnessed in the history of the nation. From just over a million connections when they took over the leadership of the country in 2013 to over five million in only five years, the Jubilee campaigners said, things can only get better if they are re-elected. President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy told voters the new electricity connections had raised the total number of households with access to power to 5.5 million.

They urged Kenyans to vote for them and the Jubilee team for the continuation of development and progress, based on the transformation in electricity connection.

“We have not let you down on development in the last four and a half years. We intend to do more to transform the country in the next five years. That is why we are asking for your votes,” President Uhuru and Ruto kept telling the would-be voters.

And it was not hard to see, the light was indeed there!

The country saw and believed. Kenyans voted for Jubilee and duo got back in office. Now it is time for Uhuru and Ruto to show, and Kenyans to see, more light.

The Jubilee administration actually looks like it has all intentions of staying true to the promise. The two gentlemen at the apex of the party, and the country’s leadership, however, have different motivations to put in place and see to fruition the development projects they pledged to the country. Other than the fact that it is good manners to keep a promise, the President and his deputy have some selfish reasons to put their money where their mouths were in 2017.

Every leader wants to be remembered for something outstanding in their time in office. It is called a legacy and it is either positive or negative. It is easier to secure a negative legacy, one only needs to sit back, enjoy the trappings of power and allow every other person do what they want with the country and its resources, including looting. It is slightly harder though to be remembered for the positives. It takes some effort and a few enemies.

It is clear President Uhuru has chosen the positive legacy and he is pursuing it with no holds barred. It is in pursuit of the positive legacy that the President is keen to make as many enemies as it takes for him, for instance, to eradicate corruption in the country. It is not smooth but Kenyans can see he is trying.

Most importantly, however, Uhuru has identified and professed betterment of the lives of Kenyans as his most treasured way to securing his legacy. That is his motivation for investing in development. That is where his drive for the Big Four comes from. The President seems resolute on delivering universal healthcare, food security, affordable and decent housing for all and ensuring growth in the manufacturing industry.

Deputy President Ruto on the hand has a more direct drive to see the Big Four succeed. Of the two, it is only Ruto who is likely to be going back to the Kenyans for a report card. In another four years, the DP will be traversing the country asking for a full mandate to serve as President. He will be expected to be telling the voters that “look, I was here five years ago showcasing the Last Mile Connectivity and begging you to allow me and a friend who has now retired to bring you further development. Now here I am again. We have given you the Big Four and I want to ask you to for another chance to give you more, will you?” The voters will review the progress of the Big Four and decide whether William Samoei Ruto fits the bill or not.

It is mainly on the basis of the Big Four that Ruto will become the fifth President of Kenya or the office will be given to someone else.

Mr Ruto, and anyone claiming to be his ally stands to benefit more by talking Big Four than anyone and anything else. He and the President must always read from the same script.

Mr Mureu comments on socio-political issues.

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