The gods seem unhappy with the DP as his stars keep dimming fast
By JACOB OKETCH
It is a cumbersome undertaking to associate with two political formations at the same time. Yet that seems to be what the Deputy President Dr William Ruto has been doing. For some time now, the DP has been isolated from the centre of power arising from his political differences with his boss -President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Consequently, the much touted loose pact between the president and his deputy-concerning the next general election-that the incumbent was to support his deputy to be the next president-seems to have been irreparably scuttled. That means that the DP is not guaranteed to harvest the populous Mount Kenya vote as was expected earlier on.
At the same time, there has been a spirited campaign to dislodge the DP from the ruling party-arising from the DPs move to openly associate with another political outfit-UDA-while still serving as the deputy party leader of the ruling party. The clamor for the ouster of the DP from the party has been so vicious that it has now even spilled over to the courts.
The DP’s problems are further compounded by the fact that his allies from central Kenya have been rethinking their support for him-arising from the fact that he (the DP) is yet to enumerate or even unpack the benefits that will accrue from that support-to the people of central Kenya. But it also appears that the DP’s forays into the region earlier than expected were a miscalculation that put him in direct conflict with the president.
At the same time, the DP’s fortunes in western Kenya seems to have tumbled-especially after the outcome of the recently held by-elections in the region. As a matter of fact, the DP himself lamented about the unreliability of the region’s MPs who only call on him for their personal benefit and abandon him when he needs votes from the region. As this unfolds, there also seems to be a resurgence of the parties whose leaders are from the region-Ford Kenya and ANC-to reclaim what they claim to be their rightful mandate.
It is apparent that the DP’s misfortunes will continue to pile as long as he stands in that dubious position-where he is a serving deputy party leader of a ruling party-and still associating with another political formation. This political arrangement-under the present political circumstances-hamstrings the DP from unleashing his full political muscle-because of the duplicity that underpins it. It has not worked before and history bears us out on this.
In 1966,Vice president Jaramogi Oginga Odinga lingered on as the country’s vice president after his unceremonious ouster as the party’s VP at Limuru-for a month- but when he realized that it was untenable-he wrote a terse resignation letter to the president and quit as the country’s number two. In 1989, Mwai Kibaki resigned as the minister for health and formed the opposition party-The Democratic Party. Though he had been demoted from the VP post-a while ago-Kibaki was a very instrumental political player in the formation of the independence party.Infact-he was its first chief executive officer-after being fished from Makerere University-where he was a lecturer- and had a hand in the writing of the party’s constitution. He more or less foresaw KANU’s growth from infancy to where it was at that time. Yet he had to abandon it and chart a new path when the time came.
Then there was the mass resignation of KANU cabinet ministers led by the party’s secretary General Raila Odinga-at the sunset of Moi’s rule. Almost all of the ministers that resigned-apart from Raila -had been with Moi for decades. A person like the late Prof George Saitoti had diligently served as both the country’s and the ruling party’s Vice president for a record of 13 years. Even President Uhuru Kenyatta walking away from KANU to form TNA, could not have been an easy decision to make.KANU was his father’s party and not only that-it was the independence party. Yet when the political circumstances dictated-he left the party without any reservation.
The point is-it is no longer tenable for the Deputy President to continue serving as the country’s number two-when he is at variance-with the ruling party’s political aspirations for the remainder of the term. Since the DP has openly stated that he will be vying for the top seat-the honorable thing to do –as his predecessors (Saitoti, Kibaki and Jaramogi) did-is to relinquish his position as the ruling party’s deputy leader. It may be time to truly chart a new political path that will give him a focused attention to his next undertaking-vying for presidency next year.
As long as the DP continues juggling between his loyalty to the ruling party and his determination to consolidate the UDA train-his focus will be split between the two political institutions-and that is baggage that he does not need at all-especially at the moment he is focused on bagging the ultimate prize. Even the loyalty of his followers is injured by this political ambiguity of sorts.
The DP-as smart as he is in political maneuvering-must have noticed all these challenges and must be doing something about it. The question is-what is he doing to stem the tide of opposition that may affect his huge support base across the country. With the Covid 19 pandemic restrictions in force-no political activity is taking place-at least publicly. But when this period ends-be ready to witness the DP at what he does best-vigorously campaigning across the country to ring-fence his support base and raid other regions for more endorsement for the presidency next year. As they say, you can take that to the bank.
The writer is the author of Aphorisms and Poems of Light