How ‘Super Tuesday’ wave exposed Ruto

Wednesday, February 24th, 2021 09:36 |
Deputy President William Ruto

The passage of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill by more than 30 county assemblies, has exposed Deputy President William Ruto’s soft underbelly, with pundits warning that he may be forced to go back to the drawing board.

Ruto who has been criss-crossing the country, disparaging the unity project spear-headed by his boss President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, had created the impression that he had a silent majority that will be activated to reject the document.

However, yesterday 26 more county assemblies- including those perceived to be leaning to his side such as Bomet, Kwale and Migori—voted in support of the Bill even though those in his backyard were yet to embrace the document.

Since the launch of the report, the DP has been poking holes into the document and in some cases even suggested that ‘the reggae will stop’.

“They are telling us this reggae can’t stop. We shall stop the reggae. It will not succeed,” Ruto had said in reference to Raila’s campaign slogan in support of the BBI, a product of their March 2018 Handshake with Uhuru.

Dr Obuya Bagaka, a political scientist, argues that passage of the BBI has exposed the reality that Ruto’s opposition to the document was “just hot air”.

According to Bagaka, the combined force of both President Uhuru and Raila was no match for the Deputy President.

“Counties that were opposed to the BBI where Ruto has been doing fundraising with wheelbarrow, have unanimously voted for the BBI. Yesterday’s vote shows that the direction Uhuru and Raila will take politically, will be the direction Kenyans will go,” said Dr Bagaka.

Political scientist Mutahi Ngunyi -a one time critic of Raila, calculated that out of the 550 Ward Reps in the Gema nation, only four voted against BBI.

“This equals 0.72 per cent. As I said in the past, you cannot buy a Kikuyu. You can only rent one. And 0.72 per cent victory for Ruto means that rent is over. He needs to re-load,” said Ngunyi.

But Ruto’s allies put on a brave face and took to social media to chastise the passage of the Bill. Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot said that the ‘Hustler’ Nation’s position on BBI remains the same.

“It is not a priority. It is least of our concern. What the system decides to do with it. Celebrate all you want. Eyes on the prize for us. Emancipation of the hustlers by all means,” said Cheruiyot in a tweet.

Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said the celebrations that followed the passage were misplaced.

Change strategy

“Why are BBI promoters excited and overjoyed? When you are running on your own, how you are celebrating that you won?” said Murkomen, a strong Ruto supporter.

In October last year, Murkomen argued that BBI was very good for presidential candidates, especially the front runners-- but very bad for stability of the country.

“It creates an imperial presidency, unstable executive and an expensive governance structure. In the end politicians gain but the people lose,” he said.

Political pundits who spoke to the People Daily argue Ruto must change tact and strategy noting that yesterday’s overwhelming vote was an indication that the Bill was unlikely to fail at the National Assembly, Senate or even at the referendum ballot.

“This will be in an effort to hide their shame. They will quickly want to erase the money they have spent in visits to Karen to get money. Tanga Tanga has paid these MCAs to reject BBI for years, these MCAs even insulted the President but when push came to shove, the 35 per cent increased allocation to counties and the five per cent ward fund are too big a gain for any MCA to vote against,” says Mark Bichachi,a political analyst.

He adds: “The choice here is a resounding rejection of propaganda and acceptance of what is good for the country.”

University of Nairobi political science lecturer Richard Bosire argued the DP and his allies will have no choice but to drum up support for the BBI going forward or declare a No campaign and lose.

According to Bosire, the passage of the BBI has exposed the Ruto’s underbelly and questioned the Tanga Tanga bravado about having numbers.

“The DP and his allies should swallow their pride and accept that the BBI is unstoppable or organize themselves and start the ‘No’ campaign,” said Bosire.

According to Bosire, the Ward Reps played their cards as they stood to directly benefi t from the proposals in the BBI. Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu said the massive support for the document pushes Ruto to a tight corner.

“Ruto and his people must accept that they have been wrong on this. It was passed despite having put all their efforts to fi ght it. Now they must also ask themselves what else they are wrong in,” said Wambugu.

“They will now have to evaluate their recent decision to eat their cake and have it by fi ghting the President’s policies, while at the same time insisting they are working for him.”

Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay Town MP) said Ruto should not have contradicted his boss on the campaign.

“His only option now is to resign and campaign against his boss,” said Kaluma.

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