Deputy President William Ruto (pictured) has never hidden his desire to become Kenya’s president. Ahead of the chaotic 2007 elections, he was one of the ODM luminaries who shelved their ambitions to support their party leader Raila Odinga. They lost to PNU’s Mwai Kibaki, even though controversially.In the 2013 elections, the DP decided to bolster his chances by joining forces with President Uhuru Kenyatta. In the pact that led to the merger of several parties to form Jubilee, the DP was to support Uhuru for two terms. Uhuru would then rally his Mt Kenya backyard to support Rutos bid for the presidency in 2022.At the moment, there’s every indication that this arrangement will not stand. Ideally, Uhuru should have declared “Ruto tosha” by now. However, the president is on record as saying his choice of successor will surprise many.
Some say Ruto may have only been interested in a powerful office. But this is not true as Ruto has never missed an opportunity to campaign even after Uhuru’s warning to members of the Cabinet to stop politicking and concentrate on service delivery.The DP may have signed the deal without knowing the specifics as there is no guarantee Uhuru, after retirement, will be able to influence Mt Kenya residents to vote in a particular way. Kenyatta’s influence may even be waning. That is why some Mt Kenya MPs are defying him, for example, on BBI. Even then, would Uhuru rather take a holiday to unwind after a stressful 10 years marred by corruption and suffocating public debt or campaign for Ruto? Your guess is as good as mineThe March 9, 2018 handshake between the president and Raila was another sign of the frosty relationship between Uhuru and his deputy. Article 131 (e) of the Constitution says the president shall be a symbol of national unity. It is therefore curious Uhuru chose to execute this mandate with the help of Raila.
The two went ahead to establish the BBI to unite Kenyans. Yet, this duty is the presidency’s which Ruto is part of. And Ruto, like the rest of us, learnt about the Uhuru-Raila deal in the news. There could be more to Uhuru and Raila than meets the eye. If Uhuru has any interests in the 2022 polls, he will only support the person who guarantees such interests. He may be eyeing a position. Thus, his supposed betrayal of Ruto does not matter. After all, there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics, only interests.In his book, ‘The 48 Laws of Power’, American author Robert Greene explains how anyone keen on winning power should treat their bosses. He discourages people from outshining their masters. Yet this is another area Ruto has fallen short.
He tries to spell out government policy even when Uhuru is present. Ruto would go around launching projects at times without Uhuru’s blessings. This is what gave birth to the Tangatanga tag. Uhuru had to put a stop to the launch of new projects. Ruto may be in control of part of the Cabinet but this does not make him a co-president.One of the few occasions he acted a true deputy to Uhuru was on January 31. Uhuru, while on his way to Arusha, had made a stopover in Kitengela town after a stormy Cabinet meeting. Uhuru told the crowd how he had warned members of his Cabinet against politicking. All that Ruto said when Uhuru invited him to speak was, “Have you heard what the president has said? That is how it shall be.” He did not show Uhuru he had a better speech.Selfish interestsRuto and his allies have also been opposing some projects that are close to Uhuru’s heart. They for instance accused those behind BBI of being driven by selfish interests and creating positions for some people. Ruto appeared to forget his boss started the initiative. My take is that since the DP is eyeing the presidency, he did not support creation of a powerful prime minister because he would want absolute power in case he wins in 2022.To master the game of power, Green says, one must master their emotions so they don’t cloud their decisions. And ancient Chinese military strategist, Sun Tzu, in his book ‘The Art of War’, explains how to deal with rivals who can’t manage their emotions to get the best out of it. He thus says; “If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him …” Ruto’s rivals have taken advantage of his seeming irritable nature to annoy him. Result? His angry outbursts that make him look like a bitter person.
Source – The Standard