There is a euphoric wave among the supporters of Deputy President (DP) Dr William Ruto that he will, almost automatically, ascend to the presidency in 2022 because seemingly, the Son of Sugoi has no serious opponent.
Prof Makau Mutua in the Sunday Nation has echoed these thoughts today. He writes that: “…the man is singularly unqualified for any public office, let alone the pinnacle of power.”
He concludes :
“While his opponents in NSA or One-Kenya Alliance dither, wobble or remain comatose, he’s [Ruto] marching ahead collecting weaklings and stalwarts. Now he’s unstoppable. In fact, he’s acting as though he’s the only opponent is Mr Kenyatta. He may be right. Or wrong”
While these sentiments are not new, and anyone is allowed to stretch their imagination, I would advise that we accompany lessons from history while in such an exercise.
I know that DP Ruto is not a fan of history – maybe because it haunts him reminding him of his role in the dark era of Moi’s KANU – but I beseech you not to ignore the lessons.
History repeats itself, and those who let history repeat itself, have not learnt anything from the past.
The Kenyan political history teaches us that, that who becomes the President in this country, is that an ‘unexpected’ politician, and he/she who does not become, is that politician who is leading in polls before the actual material day.
DP Ruto has blown has been blowing his trumpets for so long. His tone and rhythm have been known, and we have gave gotten accustomed to them. And, a song played too often, always becomes noise to the eyes.
Let’s put all these into perspective.
Jomo Kenyatta’s Presidency that was supposed to be Jaramogi’s
When Jomo Kenyatta became the president, he wasn’t even prepared for it. He didn’t even know that he was going to become the president. He was in detention getting cosy treatment from the British.
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, the person whom the British had asked to form the government in 1963, was too preoccupied fighting for the release of Kenyatta at the expense of seizing the opportunity to claim power from the imperialist.
In Not Yet Uhuru, Oginga Odinga recounts:
“We in KANU said one thing louder than anything else: that we would not from no government, even after victory in the elections, unless Kenyatta was released…I was convinced that the question of Kenyatta remained the central issue. As long as he was still in restriction – and he was important not only because he was Kenya’s leader but also because he was symbolic of all the political leaders still in the detention camps and under restriction….Kenyatta was not only the leader, he was the symbol of the people’s political aspirations; while he was not free, the people could not freely express their aspirations or hope to attain them…”We all know what became of Jaramogi.
He was accused of working with the communist counties with an aim of overthrowing Kenyatta’s government.
Later in March 1966, his position of the Vice Presidency was watered down in the Limuru Conference, when Kenyatta and his cronies decided to have 8 Vice Presidents each representing the 8 provinces. Imagine!
Humiliated and frustrated by Kenyatta’s inability to address the issues of land, corruption among others, Jaramogi resigned from the VP, and KANU to form Kenya People’s Union (KPU)
And in October 1969 – when Kenyatta visited Kisumu to open the new Russian-built Nyanza General Hospital [now Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital] Kenyatta spit verbal venom at Jaramogi, leading to chaos.
Kenyatta grabbed the opportunity to blame the chaos on KPU, consequently banning its activities and putting Jaramogi under house arrest.
Daniel Moi’s untimely Presidency
When Jomo Kenyatta died “peacefully” in his sleep on 22 August 1978 in Mombasa, his VP was not even aware.
It’s reported that Moi was at his home in Kabarak Home, enjoying the sweet-sour mursik.
Moi, in his position as the country’s next in command, was kept off near the president, ironically, and by then, was viewed as an underdog. He wasn’t thought of as presidential.
Previously, when there was speculation about Kenyatta’s [ill] health, the GEMA group had orchestrated a plan to change the constitution so that in the event of the death of a sitting president, the VP would not automatically assume to be the president.
This debate only died a natural death when the then-Attorney General and Moi’s confident Charles Njonjo declared that “it was treason to imagine the death of a president.”The GEMA backed down and Moi became the president.
At first, Moi was presumed to be calm and not divisive. Not cankerous. The GEMA thought that it would control and eventually remove him from massive imperial powers of the Head of State, Head of Government and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.
So elated was Moi that he came up with Nyayo – to follow the footsteps of his mentor Kenyatta I – Harambee.
However, the events of August 1 1982, and after, would change Moi into a brutal dictator.
When a coup against Moi’s regime mocked with a struggling economy failed, Moi turned into a beast.
He ensured a police-state, engaged in reckless arrests, detention of leader, propaganda, and with cruelty crushed any descending voice.
His reign of terror collapsed in 2002 though he attempted to extend his misrule through Uhuru’s Project.
Mwai Kibaki’s unseen rise to power
It is not a debate anymore among historians that the declaration of Kibaki Tosha by Raila Odinga in 2002 is what propelled Mwai Kibaki to the presidency.
The opposition parties were so divided to defeat KANU.
Raila notes in his autobiography Flames of Freedom that:
“…I calculated that if Kibaki could win half of the Central votes as well as those of other blocs in the Alliance, this would offer our best chance of defeating the ruling party. I had mooted this idea among the partners, without much enthusiasm from those who wanted the presidency for themselves. I realised I would have to step outside the ring to ensure that I then fervently believed would be non-tribal results for everyone.”
And just to paint a picture on how Kibaki’s selection was contentious, the late Simeon Nyachae, who believed he had a better chance than Kibaki to ascend to the presidency, had insisted on the “selection of the presidential candidate by an electoral college”
Raila adds that Nyachae said that “fostering Kibaki on the opposition was not better than what Moi had done with Uhuru.”
Kibaki would later win the election with 62.2% against Uhuru’s 31.3% and Nyachae’s 5.9% et al to become Kenyan’s third president after 24 years of Moi’s error.
We know the frosty relationship that existed between Raila and Kibaki.
In 2005, after Kibaki snookered Raila and quashed their initial MoU which among other things was to make Raila an executive prime minister in the Yash Paul Ghai-led Bomas Draft Constitution.
Kibaki insisted on the Wako Draft which was eventually defeated in a referendum.Raila and his team were shown the door thus making two antagonists going it the 2007 presidential election – PNU v/s ODM – that later became bloody, resulting in a Grand Coalition government – with Kibaki as the President and Raila as the Prime Minister.
Is there anyone who still doubts that Uhuru’s ascend to the presidency was by a huge accidental mistake?
Were it not for the charges labelled against him and Ruto by the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, the due wouldn’t have been at the helm of this country’s leadership.
The due, knowing that the only way it could manipulate and escape the wrath of justice was by ascending the presidency through wiping the emotions of its supporters and sympathisers that vote it in.
So indecisive was Uhuru that he had thought of backing Musalia Mudavadi in 2013 because of ICC matter could have made him ‘unelectable’.
Jubilee was formed in the very election year and ran a successful campaign against Raila-Musyoka’s CORD to be declared the winners of the 2013 presidential election and consequently in 2013. And now that Uhuru and Ruto are done, they no longer eat from the same plate.
Time factor on the presidency
You can deposit this safely into your Bank of Baroda; that the person who will become this country’s president in 2022 will be known, tentatively, in the election and more specifically at most, 6 months to the presidential election.
We have no known alliances, and even more significantly, chickens have not gone home to roast.
Who else is in the race, strongly campaigning causes unnecessary stampede amid covid-19 traversing the country talking about being the president in 2022 other than Ruto – who, by the way, began campaigning in 2017?
We have only known one suitor, and as time passes, more eligible ones will come out.
But even more powerfully, Ruto has besieged himself with first-timers who, when the lion will roar, will coil their tails between their legs and heed to their master’s call.