Why is it that cases against suspended higher education minister William Ruto have been held at bay for such a long time and yet suddenly all of them have emerged out of the woodwork and have come back to haunt him big time? Was somebody holding the dogs off all this time and has now gotten out of the way? As it is Ruto is going to be very busy in court cases over the next couple of months (he has at least two major ones locally).
These are just some of the many questions Kenyans are now asking themselves as the Hague finally begins to catch up with some pretty big fish in Kenya (as has been predicted in this blog amid jeering, for a very long time now).
But for my post today I will focus on the lessons those who come after Ruto must take from from the story of this man. Ili iwe funzo kwa wengine. Ruto’s big mistake is that he got way too cocky after killing one giant too many. The first giant who fell to his knees in front of Ruto was one retired President Daniel arap Moi. The Kalenjins take their leaders very seriously and for many years the word of Moi was law in the community. Ruto dared to challenge that and won. His stunning victory for Raila and ODM in the 2007 general elections in Rift Valley will be analyzed for many years to come.
Next he challenged his own ally the mighty leader of ODM Raila Odinga and not only became a thorn in the flesh to Odinga for a long time, but to the surprise of some who worship Raila and believe he is nor ordinary mortal, Ruto did not suddenly fall dead and die (although he has lost a lot of weight since he went against Raila. In the end it was all too much, for the man whose quick road to glory started at the jobless corner near Hilton hotel, and it went into his head. Ruto decided to challenge for the ultimate price, the presidency of the republic of Kenya. According to his calculations he had a good chance to fell the constitution during the recent referendum and that would have uplifted his image tremendously. There was one big problem with the decision. It went against his biggest most powerful and yet secret allies, those close to President Kibaki. That is where the man’s real protection from prosecution had been coming from all along. And shortly thereafter the deal was off. And so it was just a matter of time before things started catching up with the Eldoret North legislator. It was as simple as that.
I am not sure if Ruto also saw the fact that the new constitution if passed was going to dramatically change the politics in Rift valley. The sum effect is that Ruto as self-proclaimed king of the Kalenjin would suddenly lose a lot of his clout. Let me explain. Before the current constitution Kenyan politics was based on constituencies. Boundaries for these were greatly fiddled with by former President Moi. Just to give a single example. Eldoret is divided in such a way as to make sure that all the three constituencies hive off a part of Eldoret town. The motive was to ensure that Eldoret Town was never allowed to be a constituency on its’ own because there has always been enough influence and numbers there to ensure a Kikuyu legislator elected. Now with the counties, although the boundaries are yet to be finalized, you can be sure that there will be plenty of counties within the Rift valley that will be headed by Kikuyu governors. Counties will influence constituency politics and not the other way round. In any event counties will take the focus away from tribes to where it should be, to development efforts and plans within specific counties. In other words the need for a tribal chief like Ruto to “fight for the rights of the community” have been dramatically diminished. Hopefully forever.
Much has been said about the new constitution and many skeptics told us here that it would hardly change anything. I was ridiculed for my child-like enthusiasm during the promulgation of the new constitution. A few weeks later the writing is on the wall. Big fish are facing trial in our courts, as you read this a man is in trouble for holding a woman’s backside without her permission and faces some serious charges (na mambo bado). Let me just say one thing. The written law of the land is a very powerful thing. You can fight for your rights until the cows come home but when there is no written law to back you, chances are you will not have much success. Now everything has changed. The new constitution by itself is a juggernaut trudging forward at increasing speed and it cannot be stopped. Be careful folks even as you enjoy the discomfort of the big fish because even small fish with bad manners like treating women like trash are on very thin ice now.
But then this post is about Ruto so I don’t want to go too far off from the man.
To his credit Ruto has seen trouble coming when it is still very far in the horizon. The main aim of his current expensive trip to the Hague was to give his lawyers an opportunity to feel around and see what kind of evidence Ocampo has against him. He wants to prepare his defense early. And contrary to what some Kenyans are speculating, the International courts at the Hague do not have plea bargain options where you plead guilty to a lesser offence or give the prosecution valuable evidence in return for a lighter sentence.
How close is Ruto to the famous song bird Emily Kosgey? If they are as close as the rumours have it, then he will need plenty of music (like King Saul) to sooth his troubled soul over the next few months or so.
Kwaheri bwana Ruto.
P.S. I predicted in this blog some time back that Ruto would finish Raila politically before his own demise. Well, it seems I was wrong about that one. But then who would have predicted the amazingly unexpected turn of events over the last few months. Who would have predicted that kenyans would have a new constitution long before Christmas 2010? Still my apologies. I was wrong. Umesikia Bwana Phil?
What you and other Kenyans never knew about the Kalenjins
Ruto winds up talks with Ocampo
1. Sticker being prepared for the exit of Mwai Kibaki reads; End of the 2nd error
2. Only in Kenya......do we use the word 'politics' to describe the process so well: Poli' in Latin meaning 'many' and 'tics' meaning 'bloodsucking creatures'.