Hypocrisy rules political roost as Ruto, Raila exchange roles
- 'Former’ Opposition leader Raila Odinga and President Kenyatta are now partners under the Building Bridges Initiative.
- As the DP and former prime minister Odinga face off, the inevitable divorce between Mr Ruto and Mr Kenyatta beckons much sooner than predicted.
Barely a fortnight into the year 2020 and the political decibels are enough to take care of our energy deficit.
What we’ve seen and heard over the past few days is enough persuasion that President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto would do Kenyans a great favour if they resigned to make way for a more cohesive team.
Our ears have been terribly assaulted by the separate tribulations of Dr Miguna Miguna — the deported self-appointed ‘general’ of the non-revolution — in some cold European airport, and fellow loudmouth and purveyor of crude insults, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, in a cold cell at Kilimani Police Station.
Those were only the sideshows in a bigger farce that lays out the sheer stupidity and utter incompetence of a dysfunctional government.
The tale of the DP being ejected from his Mombasa official residence just after he’d made the bed and arranged his clothes in the wardrobe fits in here.
The bigger issue is the open split in the presidency against the backdrop of early battles for the 2022 elections.
The main protagonists are Mr Ruto and ‘former’ Opposition leader Raila Odinga, now partners with President Kenyatta under the Building Bridges Initiative.
This partnership is what has Mr Ruto lashing out in a manner suggesting that he has replaced Mr Odinga.
The Miguna and Kuria sagas provide good illustrations. The government shot itself in the foot by blocking his return despite President Kenyatta’s public hint that the irascible gadfly was free to come home.
A series of contradictory statements, shifting positions and outright lies badly exposed the government’s dishonesty in the matter, and also a woeful lack of strategy.
Dr Miguna may be a most disagreeable character, but the ham-fisted expulsion associated with Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho serves only to lionise him and confirm the dictatorial streak in the State security.
Interestingly, all of a sudden, the shrillest voices in support of Dr Miguna and in condemnation of the government repression come not from a neutered opposition but Mr Ruto’s mouthpieces.
It’s now standard operating procedure that anyone of note arrested for any crime — theft, murder, assault, name it — will immediately attract support from the Ruto faction.
Narratives will be spun that the arrests target the DP’s supporters to derail his 2022 presidential bid.
The hypocrisy was brought to the fore when one of their own, Mr Kuria, was locked up on accusation of assault.
The DP’s Tangatanga squad mobilised at the city police station in solidarity with a ‘political prisoner’.
Fuel was added to the fire when police tear-gassed a group that included MPs Kipchumba Murkomen, Ndindi Nyoro, Mohammed Ali, Kimani Ichung’wa, Alice Wahome and Oscar Sudi and civil servant-cum-political activist Dennis Itumbi.
The couple of tear gas canisters exposed cry babies used to the establishment comfort zone but, more importantly, provided them fodder to accuse President Kenyatta of bringing back repressive ways.
This was the environment in which Mr Ruto entered the fray.
On Sunday, when he warned that public officers who disobey court orders would be held personally accountable, he was braving territory where he could be accused of firing broadsides at President Kenyatta.
It might be instructive that the DP’s promise of action against officers who disobeyed court orders was for a future time when, presumably, he will be holding the reins.
Then there is Mr Odinga’s early campaign for the BBI report. Mr Ruto is right in seeing the roadshows as advance positioning for the 2022 elections.
Before Christmas last year, Mr Odinga and President Kenyatta extended the term of the BBI Task Force, mandating it to receive additional public input before condensing the report to actual legislative and policy proposals.
Even before the new task force has started its work, Mr Odinga is on a campaign trail with demands for a referendum in six months.
There is no referendum question yet on the table. So, the weekend Kisii rally and others slated across the country are, obviously, more in the realm of political mobilisation.
It’s rather rich, however, for Mr Ruto to be the one complaining that premature 2022 elections campaigns are diverting attention and resources from the government development agenda: he has done nothing else over the past two years!
Meanwhile, as the DP and former prime minister Odinga face off, the inevitable divorce between Mr Ruto and Mr Kenyatta beckons much sooner than predicted.