Saturday, April 24, 2010
William Ruto Rapidly Running out of Options
FACT: William Ruto was one of the main architects of the Naivasha input into the draft constitution as a key vocal and influential member of the parliamentary select committee on the constitution.
FACT: There was no question of Ruto not being happy because one cannot fail to be happy with something they were one of the main architects to.
FACT: The Naivasha changes made by Ruto and company were virtually all incorporated into the draft constitution by the Committee of Experts (COE).
So the question Kenyans must ask is a simple one. What made Ruto change his mind about his own work at Naivasha? In other words what is Ruto’s motivation in so suddenly changing his position?
Many analysts point to the section in the draft constitution on land. They say that Ruto is wary that when fully implemented that little section could easily wipe out his ill-gotten wealth virtually overnight. But if this is true the question that begs an answer is didn’t Ruto see this when the parliamentary select committee was drafting changes in Naivasha?
And so it is unlikely that it is just the section on land that is the motivation behind Ruto’s behaviour. There is something bigger.
Clues as to what may really be happening start to emerge when you consider Ruto’s actions behind the scenes after he was recently demoted from the high profile, high finances ministry of agriculture and relegated to the virtually invisible ministry of higher education. The man seems to be in some kind of panic. The kind that would make a man use air conditioning services in Nairobi at this time of the year even when the weather is relatively cool and comfortable without any artificial help from anywhere.
The truth is that the latest move has greatly unsettled him? More than he will ever want to admit to anybody. But why? He hasn’t been dropped from the cabinet has he? The man is still flying the coveted flag.
Some information that has recently been made available to this blogger suggests that some political deals have gone sour for dear old William and the only card he had to play was to beef up the “NO” camp for the upcoming referendum on the draft constitution. The deal that went sour had been crafted with some PNU insiders and the intention was to politically cripple Prime Minister Raila Odinga. However our dear friend who considers himself one of the smartest Kenyan legislators who has ever lived (you tell me what you think of this self-analysis) forgot the first rule in politics. This game is way too fluid and there is no such thing as a permanent friend or permanent enemy. No politician on earth can afford them.
In quickly becoming the most visible personality and indeed the de facto leader of the No-vote brigade, Ruto’s strategy was to bring back the PNU stalwarts to the negotiation table. What has now unsettled Ruto the most is the fact that his recent demotion to the ministry of higher education is clear-cut and conclusive proof that his recent allies have ganged up together with his sworn enemies and have already dealt him the first body blow. It should be perfectly clear to Ruto by now that the latest move was merely a warning jab. The knock out blow is coming for sure.
Mr Ruto has been left isolated and with very limited options. Remember that this is a politician who has always thrived on playing one side against the other to his huge advantage. Many do not realize that the reason why Ruto got such massive land allocations and access to cash very early in his political career was because he convinced Kanu insiders that he was capable of penetrating the then dreaded opposition. Playing exactly the same tactics Ruto approached PNU promising them Raila’s head. Now that the ground has shifted so significantly Ruto has been left in extremely unfamiliar territory.
Politically the move to demote Ruto is smarter than most would realize. He was not dropped from the cabinet, meaning that he cannot complain nor organize those fake demonstrations claiming that his people have been targeted. Secondly it removes him from the political limelight and he is left with only the “No” campaign platform that is sounding increasingly tired and fatigued. So much so that Ruto, sensing defeat has shifted gears and is now campaigning for what appears to be a middle ground—namely a referendum that will allow voters to also vote on the contentious issues separately. This should allow him to at least claim partial victory even if the “Yes” side wins overwhelmingly which is what is going to happen by the look of things.
Still it is clear that Ruto’s political fortunes have changed very suddenly and very emphatically. In retrospect Ruto’s main strength in the past was his secret sneaky alliance with PNU and some of the president’s closest advisors. That is clearly history now.
Whatever happens the next couple of weeks should be fascinating as we watch the sneaky Kalenjin warrior wriggle in the spider’s web where he is already trapped. Granted he has gotten out of tighter corners than this before, but will he manage this time? Will he outwit Mwai “with the best political advice money can buy” Kibaki and Raila “experience” Odinga? And then Ocampo and the ICC after that?
P.S. What is wrong with Ruto? The man looks increasingly sickly and weak by the day. Is it the stress of his kind of politics or is it some incurable disease of sorts? Very confusing because the man has dramatically increased his security detail? What is he scared of? Has he been threatened by somebody? P.S. I am keenly aware that Citizen headline seekers always visit Kumekucha before deciding on their front page splash for the new week. I am watching very carefully to see what their front page story will be this coming week.
Do you have problems getting lots of quality traffic to your site?
Posted by Chris at 9:30 AM