Ruto's silence amid battle speaks volumes
- As a general with a platoon of supporters behind him, many expected Dr Ruto to come out and save his people on the frontline.
- Some would say that the DP’s silence and attendant behaviour is an act of desperation, especially going to the President’s backyard to give food.
Thomas Anomoaphe Alemoh, a Nigerian writer, says keeping quiet when you are required to speak out could easily be misunderstood as a sign of incompetence, intransigence or outright arrogance by the public.
This could ring true for William Samoei Ruto, Kenya’s Deputy President (DP), who has been uncharacteristically quiet amid a simmering political crisis in his Jubilee Party.
Dr Ruto is the man who never lacks words whether on the podium or on social media, especially Twitter, where he has been quite active – until recently.
He always quotes Bible verses, cutting the figure of a deeply religious man who casts all his burden unto the Lord.
But he has lately cut the figure of a lonely man troubled by the goings-on in Jubilee, where he is deputy leader, but his influence has waned, thanks to a tussle for control of the party between him and party leader Uhuru Kenyatta.
Party members loyal to him are being shunted aside in a scheme that leaves the country’s Number Two looking powerless, if not helpless.
Dr Ruto’s troubles have been traced to the famous Handshake between President Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga in March 2018, a deal he was not party to. He was gradually edged out of his position as the President’s bosom buddy.
His allies trooped into the battlefield to wage war for him while he retreated into the “warroom” to pray and plan.
In the past couple of weeks, his gallant fighters, Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, who was majority leader in the House, lost the seat.
Same for Majority Whip Susan Kihika, and on Friday his lawyer and adviser Kithure Kindiki lost the Senate deputy speaker seat.
These have been deemed serious body blows to the man who has been seeking to succeed his boss in the 2022 presidential election.
But while he tried to put out the inferno, it seems to be getting out of hand, as President Kenyatta seemingly has more firewood fetchers than the DP’s fire-fighters.
The Kenyatta side, backed by Nasa coalition and other parties, has moved to purge Parliament of the DP’s allies, who are now deemed disrespectful to the President.
As the fire burns, the man has kept a safe distance and silence. The last time the DP was spotted in public was last week, when he distributed relief food in Nachu, Kikuyu constituency in Kiambu.
So is the silence a depiction of a cornered man who is trying to find his bearing from an awkward situation or a weapon, even as his allies are being overrun?
As a general with a platoon of supporters behind him, many expected Dr Ruto to come out and save his people on the frontline.
But alas! He kept mum as they were jettisoned from their top positions.
One would still ask, did he send his men and women to irritate the President and watched from the sidelines, or is he unbothered by what is happening?
How best does he intend to come out of this quagmire, with a wounded battalion with enough fire-power to win 2022?
It is also worth noting that DP Ruto’s message has been how he helped President Kenyatta get elected in the tumultuous 2013 elections and defend his seat in the chaotic 2017 polls.
He has also been constantly reminding Kenyans how he and the President will deliver the election promises.
Perhaps he may have realised, just like Niccolò Machiavelli says in the book The Prince, that power is total and not shared.
DP Ruto could be a tired coach with a match before him, but is he focused?
Even the fans know it’s a mismatch, meaning they cannot fill the stadium. The match means nothing to them.
Some would say that the DP’s silence and attendant behaviour is an act of desperation, especially going to the President’s backyard to give food.
The King has planned this game, so it will end in the manner he wants.