The Book of Luke Chapter 15:11-32 tells the story of the Prodigal Son; a story about two sons and a father in which after the younger son so requests, his father divides the family property evenly between the two sons. The younger son sets off to have fun on wildly things and after squandering everything, returns to his homestead and his father welcomes him back much to the chagrin of his older brother who remained and labored for the father all the while the younger son was having fun but never accorded any show of affection or appreciation from the father.
I thought about this story when reading in today’s Standard Online story at http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/InsidePage.php?id=2000034025&cid=4& that a cabinet reshuffle is afoot and that the PM is faced with a choice to keep or let go the suspended minister for education, William Ruto. The party is apparently divided with the handful of MPs allied to Ruto saying he should be allowed to return with the rest saying he should be shown the door he is already more than half way past anyway.
Going strictly by what is reasonable, this is an easy decision for the PM to make: show Ruto the door and let in a replacement from the Rift Valley–and there are any number of able and more qualified MPs who more than fit the shoes left empty. That’ll be a very easy decision to make had there not been such lies and distortions propagated by Ruto and Co against Raila in the Rift which in my view Ruto should basically confess to to save his political career by asking Raila to assent to his return to the cabinet. Doing otherwise is not wise.
It is reported in the same Standard story that Ruto allies are saying that he is not desperate to return to the cabinet. That’s a lie. Ruto would rather be a rebel ODM MP and minister than a rebel ODM MP without a ministerial portfolio which itself is better than quitting ODM and being forced to seek re-election to parliament, an outcome which is not assured despite Ruto having everyone believe it is.
Quitting ODM and seeking fresh mandate is a pre-requisite, if being a PNU minister is what Ruto has been promised by those egging or advising him to quit ODM.
As I have stated elsewhere in the blogsphere, Ruto has been a rebel ODM member for a long time but time is nearing for Ruto to make a decision whether he disembarks completely from ODM or he hangs on for what it’s worth to him. The media has cast this as the PM’s major decision as to whether to keep or boot Ruto, given the impending reshuffle. I say the bigger decision is for Ruto to decide whether he leaves ODM for an uncertain political future or seek redemption and stay on in ODM where his
future is better predictable and altogether avoid the sharks that await him in the waters were he to jump ship.
Like the prodigal son, Ruto should simply return home to ODM, seek redemption and I am sure the party will welcome him back with no hurt feelings. Obviously some may consider this prospect out of the question but in the final analysis, it is a better path Ruto should seriously consider given where things are headed politically for him. Incidentally, just saying this reminds me of one Maasai warrior from Moi era by the name Stanley Oloitiptip.
For those of you who don’t have a clue who that was or have simply forgotten, the late Oloitiptip was at one time Moi’s Home Affairs minister who fought and lost every battle against Moi as most everyone did that time. He was also a colorful politician who at one time showed the press his bare bottom to make the point contrary to what Nyerere and pretty much what all non-pastoralists thought or believed, public display of a moran’s behind was nothing to be ashamed of.
Oloitiptip also enriched our political lexicon in Kenya by introducing the idiom if you can’t beat them, join them. I do not recall in what context I heard Oloitiptim utter those words but I recall hearing the same words again soon after arriving in the United States for my first time back in the day and wondering how could words spoken by the Big Moran ever made it to the US only to discover the question I should have been asking is how did those words come from the US to fall from Oloiptip’s lips.
Fast forward to 1997, these words would come to mind again as Raila folded NDP and joined hands with KANU after the disjointed and fragmented opposition handed Moi victory at the polls with Moi if you call winning the elections with less than 40% of the vote victory but I digress. Ruto is my focus in this piece but these two concepts, namely, the Prodigal Son story and the if you can’t beat them, join them idiom come to mind, too as I examine Ruto’s situation in the context of the upcoming cabinet reshuffle.
Raila has now beaten Ruto twice on major national fights: the Mau forest debate to save the our environment in which Raila had and continues to have overwhelming public support to save our environment and the biggest of all thus far, the promulgation of the new Constitution in which Raila working with Kibaki finally delivered the long sought Constitution against Ruto and Co’s wishes and hopes. Every indication is Raila will deliver a knock-out punch against Ruto in the final round also known as the upcoming general elections no matter which corner Ruto fights from therefore it behooves Ruto to give up his public fighting with Raila and return to ODM as the odds are stacked against him no matter how bright he sees the stars.
First, as in elections past, Ruto cannot go it alone and be elected president. Everyone, including he knows that so no need to elaborate here.
Second, as in the case of his efforts to go against the entire Cabinet in the Mau Forest debate or as in his efforts to block passage of the new Constitution, Ruto cannot articulate a single reason why leaving ODM makes sense other than selfish reasons which always make sense to the selfish person and nobody else.
Ruto has been going around the country falsely accusing Raila of being behind him being sent to the Hague and offering that as the reason he parted with Raila. He has also previously cited other untruths as additional reasons, including the discredited claim that Raila did not offer him the premiership which he could not as things turned out and that Raila did not appoint enough ministers from the Rift Valley which he did, given what he had to offer.
As to Ruto’s lies about the ICC, I know most if not all of you know and agree this is precisely what he has done but let me lay this out for the sake of those of you who have not followed closely the development of the ICC cases.
In February 2008, the government of Kenya established the Commission of Inquiry on Post Election Violence (CIPEV), otherwise known as the Waki Commission. The Waki Commission’s sole mandate was to investigate the violence that erupted in Kenya following the elections of December 27, 2007. Raila was neither a part of nor did he play any role in the Waki Commission’s conduct of the investigation.
After conducting its investigation, CIPEV handed over its 529 page report otherwise known as the “Waki Report” to president Mwai Kibaki and prime minister Raila Odinga on October 15, 2008. The report, however, did not publicly disclose the alleged perpetrators in the report. Raila had nothing to do with the preparation and handing over of the report to the government by the Waki Commission.
The Waki Commission separately handed a list of the alleged masterminds of post-election violence (PEV) to Kofi Annan who on July 9, 2009 in turn handed the envelope containing list of names to Luis Moreno-Ocampo (Ocampo), the Prosecutor at International Criminal Court of Justice (ICC). Raila had nothing to do with the handing over of the Waki Report to either Kofi Annan or Ocampo.
The Kenya Government was then given 1 year, beginning July 2009, to setup a Tribunal to deal with issue with the condition failure to do so would have the ICC pursue the matter itself beginning August 2010.
In efforts to keep ICC at bay, and following this agreement, Constitutional amendments that would have established a special tribunal, as recommended by the Waki Commission, failed to get the requisite consensus in parliament by the September 2009, leading to Ocampo seeking formal authorization from ICC to start his investigation. Raila had nothing to do with Parliament’s failure to pass the legislation which he supported. On the other hand, opponents of the legislation including Ruto wanted to go to the Hague, saying let’s not be vague let’s go to the Hague! Obviously the Ocampo Six underestimated ICC’s resolve to have this matter quickly, given it is now more than 3 years since PEV.
On December 15, 2010, Ocampo publicly named the six suspects (the Ocampo Six) that he has evidence to show that they bear the greatest responsibility for PEV and from that point on, the heat was on forcing the PNU part of the government in which they Ocampo Six now belong or align themselves with, to scramble in efforts to avoid or delay the fast moving Ocampo and his prosecutorial ax. Again, Raila has had nothing to do with any action Ocampo or ICC has taken in the case against the Ocampo Six.
Ruto and Co’s going around the country telling big lies otherwise should be rejected by everyone. As Raila says, let Ruto go to the Hague and if he is innocent, he will be acquitted; that’s what the rule of law is about. One cannot mount and ought not mount a tribal defense in a matter dealing only with facts and law, which Ruto and Co have tried to do.
The third reason, noting just a few, why Ruto should return to ODM is if history teaches us anything in political tactics, Ruto is being used by PNU to his ultimate detriment as compared to PNU; Uhuru can lose the presidency but he still remains Uhuru ICC notwithstanding. Ruto looses in the campaign with Uhuru will not remain Ruto. I do not have to expound on this but Ruto should take time off from attacking Raila and fending off all these cases swirling around him and study our country’s post-independence and he will quickly learn, if he has not already, that his dalliance with Uhuru is the quintessential riding on a bridge to nowhere.
This is because almost exclusively, all tactics employed to succeed in the past evolved around tribalism; however, it is more likely Kenyans will this time around reject tribalism at the polls in greater proportion than ever before, leaving those who have aligned themselves tribally in the cold.
Put another way, among forward looking Kalenjins or otherwise those not driven blindly to follow Ruto and those Kalenjins who have come to know and like Raila for who he is as a national leader, not what they are misinformed by propagandists and liars, or among those who otherwise will not vote central as the reality stands today, this combined group smaller in comparison it is I readily admit to the opposite group in the region who will vote for Ruto on account of him blindly leading them to do so, is large enough to blunt any gains by Uhuru in the region and given Raila’s ability to hold his own elsewhere, money is on the duo losing impressively to Raila.
Were that to be the case, Ruto and Uhuru will be rendered politically irrelevant for a very long time to come, a prospect which is more likely than the other way around and thus my suggestion for Ruto to return home to ODM whose ideals upon which it was formed remain intact and from where he might regroup for a much brighter future political career, ICC notwithstanding.
Ruto, of course, need not heed to this good advise. He can take his truck and drive it right into the ditch as many a politician before him have done. That’s his call.
Yes ICC looms large over Ruto and Co and yes I have already predicted and concluded elsewhere on this blog that Ruto will not be convicted at the Hague. I have so concluded after a thorough and objective legal analysis of the case against Ruto, given the information made public thus far.
I have concluded Ruto should return home to ODM because it is the best thing he could do, if he were evaluating his situation objectively.
I also know what I am suggesting here for Ruto politically is tantamount having him eating crow, but sometimes eating crow is just what the doctor ordered.
Peace, Love and Unity.