In politics, there are neither permanent friends nor permanent enemies. A majority of the electorate in Kenya, just like everywhere else in the world judge political matters from a surface level.

Deputy president of Kenya William Ruto.

Deputy president of Kenya William Ruto.

A dose of euphoria is enough to charge them up. They are emotionally engaged which makes it hard for them to be objective. Politicians, on the other hand, are driven by partisan interest. Their allegiance is available to the highest bidder. I can accurately guess that the die-hard supporters of the Jubilee coalition have dismissed this article by the title alone.

Niccolò Machiavelli, in his classic book, The Prince, stated that “Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.” He also wrote, “the prince ought to read history and reflect upon the deeds of outstanding men… examine the causes of their victories and defeats, and thereby learn to emulate the former and avoid the latter.”

I have a hunch that the DP reads a lot of history. He comes off as an armed warrior who has carefully examined the shortcomings of most political players in the Republic and he knows how to capitalize on them. His laser focus ability to gamble politically doesn’t stem from a place of luck and chance. Like an eagle, he rarely misses the prey when he goes for it. Mentored by the ‘professor of politics,’ it would be a fatal flaw and akin to living in a house made of cards to be assured of the support of William Ruto simply because he is in your camp.

That’s politics for you. Neither are there permanent friends nor permanent enemies. It’s all about convenience. However, we shouldn’t be shocked if William Samoei Ruto runs for the presidency in 2017 elections. Stranger things have happened before. He is currently the most valuable player in the political landscape in Kenya.

He is passionately loved and hated in equal measure. As they say, where there is smoke, fire cannot be missing. His inner circle does not trust the GEMA region to keep their word in 2022. He is not the type of a politician to wait for his head to be put on the Guillotine first then to find a way out. William Samoei Ruto is not joined to Uhuru Kenyatta at the hip as many of their followers seem to believe. They are brought together by their agendas. So are all politicians. Raila and the CORD fraternity are working together because they have no other option. The moment politicians find the best alternative, they usually move on swiftly.

William Ruto started off as a pawn in KANU. But like any other pawn in chess, when you reach the end of the board, you choose another piece you want to become. Even though in an interview in Citizen TV he admitted that he is like a Bishop in the game of chess, I think he is a Knight. A Bishop only moves diagonally in squares of only one color. But a Knight is unpredictable, exercising influence on squares near and far. That describes who William Ruto is, at least according to me.

However, elections are simply hyper-advertised marionette shows. There might be many marionettes in the arena but the strings that control them are usually handled by the same owner. Regardless of their different manifestos, speech and body language, their schema is one and the same. Most politicians are motivated by their self-interest. When José Martí said that the first duty of a man is to think for himself, he accurately described politicians.

Let us admit it, any person who has 2017 presidential ambitions in Kenya needs William Ruto. On the other hand, he doesn’t need them. Unless Uhuru and Raila join hands which is very unlikely. They need him, PERIOD. Without him, it will be a herculean task for any single candidate to win the 50+1 votes in the first round.

With Ruto running as an independent candidate, he will bite a sizeable chunk of the vote. Around 2 Million which he controls directly and another 1 M which he can bring into the fold without much work.

He can easily pull the rug below anyone’s feet and he has balls to do it. After driving everybody, like a sheep to the Jubilee party pen, he can then pull out leaving a severely weakened party. Using blame game, a skill which he has mastered very well, he may initiate a scathing attack against both sides, CORD and Jubilee.

When the nation overwhelmingly moved towards a YES vote during the 2010 referendum, he marshaled up a team and moved a sizeable number to vote NO. He single-handedly, with the help of Raila Amolo Odinga, mounted an offensive and dislodged the Moi dynasty; one of the biggest dynasties in Kenya. His artillery managed to sink the Moi’s vessel in the Rift valley. He severed over 2 decades of allegiance in one election.

Let’s leave the theories aside and look at the numbers. After all, numbers don’t lie. The Deputy President has the following counties under his grip: Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi, Baringo, Kericho, and Bomet. These counties, according to the projected voter registration in 2017 can easily bring on board around 2 million votes.

First, they are predominantly Kalenjin. Secondly, they have a history of putting their votes in a single basket.

The DP also commands a sizeable influence in the following counties; Mandera, West Pokot, Nakuru, Garissa, Wajir, Marsabit, Isiolo, Narok, and Samburu. Through his influence in these counties, he can easily amass over 1M votes.
He is passionate. He is charismatic but he is also strategic. He is the first Kenyan to have risen from selling chicken by the roadside to become the second most powerful man in Kenya. It shows his level of ambition. He is willing to take big risks. He then gets big rewards. Like he did in the March 2013 elections.

If he ran, he would trigger a runoff. His power to bargain will immediately shoot to the roof. Uhuru and Raila would come knocking with bags of goodies. The negotiations will be on his terms. A guaranteed 2022 ticket offer will be on the table plus plum state jobs. He wins either way he goes.

If he doesn’t vie in 2017, his chances of winning in 2022 will be greatly reduced. The odds will be against him.

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Politics & International Affairs
Author: Dannish Odongo

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    2 Responses

  1. Ndirangu says:

    Hi, Dannish

    I grew up in Uasin Gishu, but migrated to Nyandarua with my parents just before the 1992 ethnic clashes. To me Nairobi is more home having spent most of my adult working life here. I have been to every part of this country not as a tourist but in the course duty. I therefore understand and appreciate the diverse culture and values of 80% of the Kenyans. Back to DP William Ruto. Can he run for the big office in 2017. No he will not. The chemistry between him and his boss goes beyond politics and none will antagonize the other. Will the Gema nation support Ruto come 2022?. His inner circle do not believe so, to quote you. Iam not a spokesman for the Gema nation, but one thing is clear to me. Irrespective of 2017 presidential outcome, the Gema nation will give Ruto more votes than his home base come 2022. The Gema nation cherish stability and hate forced migration like what we have witnessed every election cycle. Ruto seems to have provided this. The small challenge he has is to convince the few individuals within inner circle to to relax and support in his vision.

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