Legendary Nigerian author Chinua Achebe wrote in his famous book, “Things Fall Apart” that: if you see a toad jumping around in broad daylight; just know that something is after its life.
Similarly, when you see guys like Kipchumba Murkomen, Jubilee’s former majority leader in the Senate, mourn more than the bereaved, in the Anne Waiguru aka “Minji Minji” impeachment debacle; you can only be a naive political mind if you can’t immediately guess who the bigger forces behind the governor’s impeachment are.
Let’s first agree on one constant here: Just like it’s the norm in our political culture, this has nothing to do with the people of Kirinyaga. You can save such crap for the birds. Nevertheless, this has everything to do with the life and death battle for the vote-rich Mount Kenya region, ahead of 2022. And this is what I mainly endeavor to explain below.
Do you think that the good MCAs of Kirinyaga suddenly had their road to Damascus moment and realised how corrupt and inept Waiguru has been? My answer is a big NO. In the 2017 elections, a majority of them literally ate from Minji Minji’s palm, as they hung on the hems of her skirts, all the way into the Kirinyaga County assembly. They all knew very well that the queen bee had drained the NYS coffers dry.
Most importantly, in spite of everything they knew about Waiguru, the people of Kirinyaga went ahead and chose “mwizi wao” just like the rest of us chose “wezi wetu” elsewhere (over 95%, if not all, of our politicians are incorrigibly corrupt).
If you are old enough to have voted at least twice in the past, by now you should have known that phrases like “my people” or “our people’s welfare,” that most politicians often use, is a euphemism for “my stomach” or “My family’s welfare”. In this country, extremely few politicians work genuinely for the welfare of those that they represent – I can actually count them using the fingers on one of my hands.
It is for this reason that, as a political scientist, I am not very much interested in what politicians say or do; but, I am more intrigued by why they say what they say or do what they do. I am even more interested in analyzing similar political situations in history, both locally and in other jurisdictions, that will then give me the empirical basis of making informed deductions on the politics of the day.
Let’s face it; just two years to the general elections, this is obviously the season of bare knuckled realpolitik. We should expect so many political machinations that will finally culminate into new and clear-cut political realignments that will then face off ahead of 2022, and ultimately, in the next general elections.
To the layman’s eye, the political alignments are a bit vague at the moment. But, to the politically conscious, the political divide is already taking shape in a very clear manner. The die is already cast and there is no turning back.
Currently, we have one group coalescing around the handshake duo of president Uhuru and former PM Raila Odinga, while another one is naturally coalescing around the DP, Dr. William Samoei Arap Ruto. Except for a few re-alignments here and there, from undecided politicians who might jump ship ahead of 2022, the political tug of war will largely remain between these two emerging groups.
Apparently, Uhuru and Raila are the new power couple on the block and they seem to be fully in control of every lever of power in the country at the moment. One thing about political power is that, politicians who have it never miss a chance to flaunt it. On the other hand, the DP is seen to have obviously fallen out of glory with the powers that be. The man seems to have been rudely edged out of the high table, where major decisions concerning this country are made.
That goes on to show you how fleeting and more of an illusion power can be. Today you have it, tomorrow it is gone! In January 2018, I am sure if anyone told Bill that by March the same year, Raila Odinga would be more welcome in statehouse than he himself would be; I guess he would have told that person to go to hell and hug , then kiss the devil.
But, politics being what it is, to William Ruto’s chagrin, by the end of March 2018, Raila Odinga was a real insider at the big house on the hill, complete with cabinet secretaries reporting to him at his Capitol Hill office. Raila and Uhuru had pulled a fast one on William Ruto, without warning. Whichever way you look at it, the famous March 2018 handshake was a completely unexpected political masterstroke from the two.
William was suddenly and forcefully kicked out into the cold and I can bet my teeth he has never known what exactly hit him up to date. The open bromance between Uhuru and Raila, following the handshake shook Bill to the core. He hoped against hopes that this “unholy marriage” wouldn’t last.
Ruto could hardly hide the bile and pain on his face from the cameras, during the 2018 annual Prayer Breakfast event held at Safari Park Hotel, when Uhuru and Raila intimately hugged and showered each other with praises. He acted like a jilted lover and he has been doing so to date.
When the new union persisted, Arap Ruto knew he had been politically cornered and the only way out was to put up a good fight and prove his political worth and might to his political detractors.
Buoyed by non-existent superior numbers in Parliament, he has been doing exactly that, with his countrywide political rallies, until the COVID-19 pandemic stopped him right on his tracks. If the recent easy de-whipping of MP’s and senators allied to the DP, from powerful parliamentary offices, are anything to go by, then Dr. Ruto must have realised that the numbers he thought he had in both houses were nothing but a mirage.
Now, he has to live with the fact that he is outnumbered both in parliament and in the popular vote out there. To make matters worse for him, he is realising too late that the Jubilee party has its real owners and he is not one of them!
He has since changed tact and one of the things he as done is to try and use grassroot leaders, like MCAs, to fight his political battles. And did we recently see new offices of an outfit called “Jubilee Asili” coming up? I just hope that was a prank since something like that is completely underwhelming.
Forget about the dull colours that define that outfit, its very formation is a clear sign of desperation on the Ruto camp, and honestly, I did not expect him to surrender the original party without putting up a good fight. I am sorry for the digression though.
Make no mistake. Dr. William Samoei Arap Ruto is fighting a political battle of his life; if vanquished, he might never recover from political oblivion. It is obvious that he banked a lot of political capital on the votes from the densely populated Mount Kenya region and the impeachment motion against Governor Waiguru must be seen in this light.
In 2015 I wrote here that the battalion of political hangers-on from Central Kenya, led by Babayao Waititu,who traversed the country with Ruto back then, were taking him for a long ride, by promising him that they’ll safely deliver the Mount Kenya region votes to him come 2022. They had declared Uhuru a lame duck president too early!
Last years, I also wrote here that the Jubilee Party belongs to Uhuru not Ruto. On both occasions, Jubilee diehards almost lynched me. Here is why Waiguru will be saved from impeachment. This fiasco has slowly taken the shape of a Tanga Tanga vs the Handshake Team duel; that is how the impeachment attempt became dead on arrival.
The matter is no longer on Waiguru’s hands, but in the safe hands of the big boys at the top. Politics being a game of optics and perceptions, the bigger picture always matters. A good example is the recent impeachment attempt against POTUS Donald Trump – perhaps the sickest president on earth today.
It is not that the senators from the Grand old Party don’t know that their president is very sick in the head. But, the moment this looked like a Democrats Vs Republicans duel, the Republican senators (who have a majority in the senate) had to save Trump for the sake of the party’s image.
This is the same way governor Waiguru will be saved at the Kenyan Senate; not because they love her, but for the sake of the Handshake Team’s image. Can you imagine a situation where the Tanga Tanga brigade claims victory in the event that Governor Waiguru is impeached? What does that politically portend for the Handshake Team in Central Kenya, as we head to 2022? Doom!
Given a chance, I would advice William Ruto to craft his political future without banking too much on any votes from Central Kenya region in 2022. Then, if by some miracle, he manages to bag a sizable chunk of votes from the region, let it be a pleasant surprise that will top up his victory, hence giving him an unassailable lead.
The worst mistake he made was to go all out, too early, in wooing the region when Uhuru was still the reigning Prince in that kingdom. In politics you don’t show your hand, let alone your head, so early. It will be chopped off before you know it.
Truth be told, there is no region in Kenya whose votes are as elusive as those from Central Kenya, especially for “outsiders” like Ruto and Raila. It should not be lost on us that politicians are very territorial animals and their political territories can only be equated to their wives or lovers.
Like the cantankerous mzee Atwoli keeps reminding all and sundry, who care to listen; you don’t begin salivating and making overtures at a man’s wife when he is still alive. Even if he is very sick on his death bed, he’ll use his last strength to kill you.
As things stand now, the political fight in Central kenya is between Uhuru Kenyatta and his erstwhile bossom-buddy-turned-foe, Dr. William Ruto; and you can easily predict how it will end. We witnessed a similar contest in Kiambu just recently.
There is no doubt that Uhuru still calls the shots in Central Kenya region and any politician who thinks he/she can sidestep him to get the Central region vote is just day-dreaming. Forget about the theories being bandied around that Karanja Kibicho, the powerful PS of interior, or the Kirinyaga Women Rep are behind Anne Waiguru’s woes. This fight belongs to Kibicho’s bosses my fren.
Waiguru is corrupt, of course, but in this one, she is just caught up in a bigger fight. She belongs to the handshake faction and has since projected herself as a major BBI player in the Mount Kenya region. This is exactly why Ruto’s big guns are trained on her, since the way the BBI and an imminent referendum turn out, will hugely determine how the country will vote in 2022.
The faster Waiguru goes down, the happier the William Ruto faction will be. However, this is not gonna happen since, in politics, any political mischief is normally met with an even bigger political mischief, as we have seen in the senate. It is for this reason that the Senate has already saved Waiguru’s head from the chopping board.
You know who calls the shots in the senate, and you can as well forget about her impeachment for now since it not gonna happen any time soon. The Cleophas Malala committee will do the politically correct thing; not what democracy dictates. That is how politics works.
Expect the two political factions to do anything in their power to put roadblocks on the path of the other side ahead of 2022. Expect more impeachments to be brought to the senate and woe unto governors affiliated to Ruto, who will be brought before the senate. They will definitely be roasted Waititu style.
As for the Kirinyaga MCAs, don’t tell me that they are saints who recently dropped from heaven for Chrissake! That all of them were forced to sleep in the county assembly Chambers ahead of the impeachment can tell you a lot. Whoever that was pulling the strings behind the scenes couldn’t trust them as to take chances. Most of these MCAs are two-faced; they could pocket the money and never show up on the impeachment day!
I hope William Ruto has a hidden wild card that he might flash at the most opportune time, but as things are now, he is clearly overwhelmed. Meanwhile, the beat goes on.
Unfortunately, the pawns on this intricate and dirty political chessboard that is called Kenya, are the Kenyan people – the so called Wanjiku – whom each politician pretends to work for; just like we are witnessing in Kirinyaga today.