Ruto is hunting in Kiambaa to vindicate himself, not to serve the people

Tuesday, July 6th, 2021 00:01 |
Deputy President William Ruto.Photo/PD

By Olivia Chebet

How to build enduring trust in one’s own community is the ultimate thrust of The Art of War, a lesson the ruling Jubilee Party must learn quickly and run with it if winning Kiambaa is of great importance.

“United we stand, divided we fall” is the underlying message of The Art of War. And clearly, Deputy President William Ruto and his ilk believe that The Art of War, like The Prince, teaches clever people how to sow discord. This is a stupid way to parse the text, requiring cherry-picking of the most benighted sort.

For the refrain of The Art of War is to forge unity at home, lest your enemies seize the opportunity to “create gaps” using their spies, counter-spies, and fake news.

In Kiambaa, the political temperament is rife with apprehension, mistrust, and restlessness. And one man- Ruto - is at the center of it all.

That one participant is a winning candidate, seasoned politician, hard-working (not a hustler), reliable, principled and a man of the people who has the fire in his belly is very clear in the mind of many Kiambaa voters.

In addition, he has the looks of a winner, embodies the characteristics and personality traits of a strong leader and that’s why Kiambaa people must rise above the mudslinging and dirty politics being played by United Democratic Alliance (UDA) and come together to vote in the right man for the job.

For UDA, winning is everything; the rest is negotiable, they are wheeler-dealers using Kiambaa people as guinea pigs to test DP Ruto’s popularity in Mt Kenya region. UDA is not selling a candidate for the July 15 by-election but is subtly promoting a presidential candidate for 2022 General Election at the expense of Kiambaa.

Consequently, the ruling Jubilee Party must be willing to go the whole nine yards to redeem itself and win the seat, not only for the continuity and completion of projects started by the late MP Paul Koinange, but also for President Uhuru as this is his home turf.

Ruto is a popularity demagogue flourishing in deception and must be stopped before he fools more people, especially in Mt Kenya region.  

One thing the DP and his allies have perfected is trickery; they tell blatant falsehoods whenever it suits them. And you ask, are Mt Kenya people insensitive to falsehoods? Do people no longer care about truth?

The answers are nuanced and rest on the distinction between our traditional understanding of honesty and the notion of “truthfulness”. Lies take many forms.

For populist politicians - such as Ruto - who explicitly pits mythical paupers against an equally mythical elite, blatant disregard for facts only underscores their authenticity in the eyes of supporters.

An opinion poll conducted by Radio Africa early this week, seems to be in Ruto’s favor as results indicate that the UDA party candidate, John Njuguna, might win the Kiambaa mini polls.

Should voters believe those numbers? Well, many remember the 2016 US presidential election when polls showed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was headed for a massive win. But how Americans ended up with Donald Trump proved the unpredictability of politics, and the unreliability of opinion polls.

But while polls are not entirely infallible, the Kiambaa prediction could yet be correct. But the silver lining for the Jubilee Party is that a week is a long time in politics and the poll will no doubt give them the motivation to enter the homestretch with vigour and turn the tide.

The party must go hammer and tongs to ensure they clinch Kiambaa seat. It should focus on winning over the voters at the grassroots level and ensuring they come out enmasse and vote for Kariri.

It is one of the ways to tame Ruto. Indisputably, the DP is seen to understand Mt Kenya voters, including their weaknesses, strengths and dispositions. But he appears to be making inroads only because Uhuru, who is undoubtingly the area’s kingpin, has not given the direction yet.

In 2010, powerful minister John Michuki declared Uhuru the undisputed kingpin of the Agikuyu people. He said, “Anyone who wants to talk to the Agikuyu should speak with Uhuru.”

Given his non-compromising, often combative demeanor, Ruto has boxed himself into a political corner from which he must extract himself tactfully. It is becoming apparent - fact Ruto’s utterances uphold - that he has been alienated from the centre of power, his only lifeline being a constitutional provision binding him to the presidency.

And as so, he is desperately pushing for the Kiambaa win not because he loves its people, but to simply vindicate himself.

Ruto has often presented himself as a hustler and even though he did not inherit generational assets, his political origins are dynastical; a truth he has strategically hidden from his followers, the so-called ‘Hustler Nation’.

Ms Chebet is a regular commentator on social, economic and political affairs.

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