Is DP Ruto an isolated man two years after Uhuru-Raila handshake?


Is DP Ruto an isolated man two years after Uhuru-Raila handshake?
President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani for the Mashemeji derby between AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia FC on March 8, 2020. PHOTO | PSCU

It is two years since the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM party leader Raila Odinga.

But even as the pro – handshake team celebrates a sense of tranquility, those in the camp of DP William Ruto view that the handshake as a sword that not only divided the ruling Jubilee party but also created a rift between the President and his deputy.

“Wisdom and advice and pressure forced this two people to come together…they were both in need of a way out…the handshake was the way out.

“The handshake came as a surprise; and right at the back of a bitterly contested election, disputed and nullified results and the parallel swearing in of the antagonists President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga,” said Prof. Macharia Munene.

However, there had been another handshake in 2012: Uhuru and his running mate Ruto had ran for office on a promise of unity.

When they were declared winners in 2013, they walked, talked and worked in harmony or so they were seen to be.

But the election had left Kenya a divided country: with a hostile opposition, rising political temperatures, a struggling economy and rampant corruption combining to turn Uhuru’s term into a living nightmare.

“And he (Raila) said and he had said before that he would make it very difficult for Uhuru Kenyatta to govern….and so he did….” said Prof. Munene, who teaches History and International Relations at the United States International University (USIU).

Three months after the repeat presidential election, Raila was sworn as the people’s president, an event that pushed the country to the edge.

Then one morning and against run of play, Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga shook hands on the steps of Harambee House.

“What they did not make clear is exactly the terms of the handshake…we know they issued a document with 9 points …that they did…but were there some other expectations,” Prof. Munene said.

The Uhuru-Raila handshake seemed to have a displacement effect on Deputy President William Ruto who has since March 9, 2018 struggled to fit in.

The DP’s allies feel he is being sidelined deliberately.

“And we warned the President that the person who is coming on board did not have good intention…his agenda was to ensure he destroys jubilee….two: he creates a rift between the president and his deputy…and more so he succeeded,” said Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei.

But Uhuru and Raila pressed on, the handshake mutating to the Building Bridges Initiative  (BBI) that is now on the brink pf introducing constitutional reforms.

BBI threw the Deputy President deeper into a state of personal conflict; unsure of his boss’s game plan.

“Interestingly, the people are were not elected, who are in opposition are running the government and the people who are supposed to be in government are now outsiders….and that’s why Kenyans will not receive services,” Cherargei added.

Prof. Munene adds: “William Ruto has eyes set on succeeding President Kenyatta but as he makes his moves, DP Ruto fears that the administration ran by President Kenyatta is out to stop him.”

During the burial of the late Sgt. Kipyegon Kenei on Saturday, DP Ruto said: “The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) is used being used to stop me…but I will not go back… that I promise.”

It is the murder of Sgt. Kenei, who worked at Harambee Annex office, that has put the DP on a collision course with the DCI.

Though the detectives have not linked Ruto or his aides to Kenei’s death, the DP has grabbed it and converted it into a political platform from which he is accusing the Kenyatta government of witch-hunting.

As if for a dramatic grand finale,DP Ruto is daring unnamed Uhuru administrators to face him directly instead of undermining him and his office.

In the last few days, the DP has left little in doubt that the handshake, BBI and the rollercoaster of related political events have decisively taken their toll.

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Story By Enock Sikolia
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