There is so much happening in the Rift Valley lately. Some politicians are trying to quell the turmoil, while others are tearing at each other like a pack of starving hyenas that have stumbled on a zebra’s carcass.
This scenario makes some sense until you scratch beneath the sizzling surface and discover there is more than meets the eye. Why is there an eerie studious silence from the man in the House on the Hill? Why is he not coming to the aid of his embattled Number Two? Could President Uhuru Kenyatta be part of those working behind the scenes to curtail the Deputy President’s 2022 dreams? Could he be fanning the political embers behind the curtains to banish the kingmaker?
Political observers say this could be the case.
Mid last year, [Former President Daniel] Moi cautioned Rift Valley residents to be wary of political brokers. He told them DP William Ruto’s objective was to auction them to the highest bidder. Moi emphasised that the community should deal with Uhuru directly and not through Ruto. This points to the fact that Moi does not trust Ruto as his successor. He wants his son [Baringo Senator Gideon Mi] to call the shots. This could be why the region is melting down politically.
Ruto’s political baggage makes him even more vulnerable to political games aimed at curtailing his political ambitions. Furthermore, Ruto is not of royal blood. The country’s royals sneer at him. It is easy for them to use his many upheavals to their advantage and kick him out of the boxing ring to pave way for a “prince”.
This leads me to conclude there is a political conspiracy against Ruto. Political conspiracies are as old as civilisation itself. When they are employed to change the course of history, they usually involve influential figures of the day. Our figures are Moi, Uhuru et al.
To understand why the rebellion against Ruto could be receiving backing from higher offices, we must go back to the 90s.
Moi’s rule was in its sunset days. Multipartysm had just been
introduced and the ruling party Kanu was facing opposition from new parties. Sooner or later, Moi would be heading for retirement. To the old man from Sacho who sees far like a giraffe, the future of Kenya still lay in the hands of two communities that had been in power since Independence. Moi was not comfortable with ‘others’ ruling Kenya and so at a meeting in Nairobi, he mooted the idea of a Kalenjin-Kikuyu political alliance.
Moi did not just want any leader, he had some people in mind. One was Uhuru and the other his son Gideon. He wanted a safe pair of hands to safeguard the two families’ wealth and what better way than to have two sons of former presidents on the throne? But the self-declared Professor of Politics had not in his wildest dreams envisaged Ruto the Hustler inserting himself into this formula and diminishing the valid dreams of a ‘royal blood’.
Although Ruto is Moi’s student, this did not qualify him to ‘masquerade’ as royal blood. So when Ruto beat all odds to be the country’s Number Two, Moi was beside himself with grief. He thought the gods must be crazy to let him live through this betrayal in the Rift. Now, in his sunset days, he is doing all he can to ensure Gideon assumes his ‘rightful’ place.
But Moi cannot do this alone. Uhuru could be in the loop to scratch Moi’s back just the way he scratched his when he endorsed him as his successor in 2002. When Moi picked Uhuru, he was preparing a smooth landing for his son. It would have been wrong for him to pick Gideon then.
However, the ICC cases took precedence over Gideon in 2013. Uhuru preferred Ruto because together they stood a better chance of fighting for their freedom. Uhuru is free and Ruto’s case appears to be crumbling. Although I do not have hard evidence of a plot, there is no way Uhuru can say no to Mzee Moi’s advice, no matter how awkward it looks.
Moi, on the other hand, has unshaken confidence in Uhuru. To Moi, the wobbling pact between Uhuru and Ruto that runs until 2032
is irrelevant. Uhuru is looking the other way as Ruto is kicked left, right and centre. There is no way he has reprimanded Gideon for giving his deputy a hard time. Late last year, he told off Isaac Rutto but the scoffing sounded more like a slap on the wrist.
For Uhuru, drudging along with a political liability that could cost him votes in 2017 is not worth it. This makes things easier for him. If he goes to the Rift Valley and says his deputy is not good for his re-election, the people would agree as long as another son from the region is his running mate.
The writer is a political analyst