By Kabando wa Kabando
UhuRuto was a timely, necessary but, ultimately, unholy, rickety and leaking alliance replete with indecent indulgences and pretentious camaraderie that clouded gross governance indiscretions.
The duo’s pact, with the unequivocal support support of their constituencies, was specifically to repulse the ICC threat, unite to end the Kalenjin-Kikuyu political hatred, and, in the process, realize Uhuru’s goal to be President as well as to give Ruto something to focus on for journey ahead.
All these objectives were duly achieved. However, the rosy manifesto we launched in Kasarani in 2013 became just that, a precious rose in the Jubilee Party garden. Nobody has picked it. Isn’t it obvious, for instance, that our flagship one laptop-one child project for primary school children would today be such a useful tool for our kids’ e-learning requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic? Graft and manifest greed is to blame for our setback in this regard. Were it not for the same greed, today we would be healthily feeding all school-going pupils straight from the Galana-Kulalu million-acre scheme.
I know for a fact that after the 2007 polls, Uhuru was rather keen on not renewing a partnership with Ruto. Also, until very late in the day, Ruto wanted to run for President himself, probably for a chance to negotiate at the high table, and probably re-enact a ‘Kalonzo 2007’ in 2013!
Whatever was “negotiated” to overturn and condense the duo’s mutual ambitions into one, only the duo truly knows. Meanwhile, Raila too wanted Ruto back to ODM as an affiliate. As things are, today a reunion of Raila and Ruto isn’t completely out of the question, however remote the possibility.
That said, It is necessarily good for the country that UhuRuto is falling apart. It was an unholy alliance ab initio. Between 2013 and 2017, anyone who tried to hint at or correct Ruto for his many misdeeds was quickly and summarily thrown out of the palace gates. Ruto’s men knew what they essentially wanted from Uhuru, and they got everything.
Although we fear speaking about it, those of us from TNA suffered alienation and punishment, within parliament, and outside. If, like myself, you rooted for engagement with Raila, Mudavadi or Kalonzo for dialogue, you faced a sobering sort of wrath that you lived to regret. And although regrets do not last, the tough times prevailed. Some URP ‘agents’ in Parliament became spies; anything anybody said in good faith got them into big trouble. Calls and summons — or if you were lucky — became the order of the day. Everyone toed the line, like it they don’t.
The promise of a new season fortified our heart. Unfortunately, the hopes and aspirations carried by the Building Bridges Initiatives are now all gone, thanks to perceptions and realities of selective targeting of corrupt elements. Time, and COVID, have also conspired to collapse an otherwise unstoppable dream.
In a nutshell, Uhuru has not been fighting his deputy. Rather, it is circumstances of inherently deep contradictions in the formation of the UhuRuto alliance that have come to fruition. The rainbow didn’t ever emerge. What I mostly see is stinging hypocrisy in those now singing Raila but who between 2015 and 2016, and again in October 2017 vehemently fought against dialoguing with Agwambo for the sake of national dialogue and unity. How now? Is it that now Tinga has mellowed sufficiently or aged well enough to be trusted because he lacks the gusto to disrupt the crooks emptying out the troughs? Or has he himself become captive of accomplices within his guard as to lose his anti-corruption credentials?
It seems to me that Ruto is also not fighting Uhuru. Grand ol’ Bill is fighting for his “promised” space, and nobody ought to begrudge him that. At an Orange rally post plebiscite 2005, keen observers saw the present man in Dr Ruto in days to come.
The danger we must look out for is if Uhuru were to reunite with Ruto, and get Raila to adopt the truce. There’d be an implosion in ODM, and JP would re-coalesce for JP. The waters may be torrential and the bridge rickety for the UhuRuto and UhuRao boats, but the ensuing waterfalls promise new ‘energy’ for the national rebirth we so badly need.
Raila and Ruto have the people, and Uhuru has got the Power, which is where the problem lies. The trio of bigwigs must start by having their corrupt confidantes arrested, tried and jailed for looting the country dry, and only then call for a truce. And if any of the Big Three has benefited, directly or indirectly, from the looting of the republic, they must seek redemption by owning up, returning their loot and making good with Kenyans.
For now, and the foreseeable future, we’ll continue to see and hear of bravado, conflict and friction from each camp. Internal dissent will expose the bad and the ugly, and that is what we need to foster our nascent democracy. Let Ruto be, Let Raila be, and let Uhuru be.
As for Kenya, a national rebirth is coming. There is hope in the horizons. (
— Writer is a politician and a member of Kenya’s 11th Parliament (2013-2017)