The Standard Online is reporting that Eldoret North MP William Ruto has explained reasons why he turned down an offer by Prime Minister Raila Odinga to be his running mate.
According to the Standard, Ruto complained of the PM’s abandonment and lack of concern for tribulations facing him, saying the PM called him for the first time in three years last month to ask him to back his presidential bid.
“I was surprised and I kept asking myself whether he had run out of credit for the whole three years,” the Standard quotes Ruto as telling this to a meeting of elders in Eldoret Wednesday.
Ruto said he put the PM to task for mistreating him and told him that he would not work with him politically, says the Standard.
“I told him his payback time had come and he had to face the consequences of turning his back on an ally,” he added. Ruto said when the International Criminal Court indicted him over post-election violence, Raila never showed any empathy.
“I expected that he would have even called to express his concern because he knew where we, as his lieutenants then, were at the time we are said to have perpetrated the violence,” he said.
Ruto said Raila further allowed his party ODM to write letters pressing the international community to support and pursue the case against him and his co-accused at The Hague.
“He never came to my defence or asked his people to stop doing what they were doing. This showed he wanted me finished,” he said.
The PM will speak for himself as to these allegations by Ruto but, going by what is known publicly, Ruto is here at best engaged in the worst form of disingenuity at best and outright lying at worse.
First, it’s simply not true that Raila abandoned Ruto; rather, the facts are it was Ruto who abandoned Raila and ODM for purely political reasons that had everything to do with his now obviously miscalculated and bone headed belief that he could topple Raila from the height of his political power or at least damage Raila enough to render him impotent in his efforts to succeed Kibaki.
Put another way, back in 2007, Ruto did not join Raila and ODM until it was abundantly clear that Raila and ODM were set on sweeping the entire country, including Rift Valley.
Having come in the last minute, Ruto reaped the greatest benefit from the half-loaf Raila and ODM got from the coalition government deal reached between Rail and Kibaki following PEV in that not only did he get appointed to a very significant Ministry of Agriculture, the entire Rift Valley region got more share of the half-loaf than any other in the country.
In terms of what Raila could have done for Ruto and/or RV following the stolen elections of 2007, he actually did as best as anyone could have done and that is a truth no one can deny.
Ruto therefore had no good reason to abandon Raila or ODM other than the pursuit of his own personal political ambitions which every indication is thus far he miscalculated and may as yet pay the ultimate price for such miscalculation and that’s being rendered politically irrelevant, if he doesn’t get locked up at the Hague.
Yet, this is exactly what he did, namely, walk away from Raila and ODM for no good reason, or more precisely, for badly miscalculated reasons and now he is whining about the fact albeit disingenuously as he falsely claims it was Raila who abandoned him when that’s clearly and obviously not the case.
Second, much as it’s false Raila did not abandon Ruto, it’s equally false that Raila did not show or has not shown any empathy with Ruto and his tribulations.
Long before it was known who were the suspects most responsible for commission of crimes against humanity in Kenya during PEV, Raila led efforts to try and establish a local tribunal to try whoever the suspects were as recommended by the Waki Commission.
Ruto, on the other hand, led efforts to defeat establishment of a local tribunal and joined the choir singing the now famous PNU refrain sang by all those opposed to a local tribunal, “don’t be vague, let’s go to Hague.”
This is because Ruto and those opposed to a local tribunal mistakenly believed then that the ICC process will take ages and changed tune only after realizing this was, in fact, not the case.
Raila therefore had nothing to do with Ruto and other ICC suspects being hauled to the Hague and this now stale lie that he did must be laid down to rest for good.
Yet, when Kibaki made it known early last year that the government would only pay legal fees for Uhuru, Muthaura and Ali, Raila and ODM strongly protested and said ODM will nonetheless provide and pay for Ruto, Kosgey and Sang’s legal fees in addition to their own.
Addressing a press conference attended by 10 MPs at Parliament Buildings at that time, ODM Deputy Secretary-General Joseph ole Nkaissery and Parliamentary Group Secretary Ababu Namwamba announced that they have completed work on yet another proposed bill seeking to establish a local tribunal—again, evincing ODM’s commitment to ensuring justice for the victims of PEV, not hauling the ICC suspects to the Hague as they falsely claim.
Although ODM Secretary General later appeared to contradict the views expressed by this group of MPs, this was more an issue of internal split as to how to proceed with the Ruto issue than a manifestation of non-caring with his plight.
Speaking on behalf of Raila and ODM, Westlands MP Fred Gumo noted at about the same time, ““We cannot abandon them at the hour of need because they are our members. We are the ones who know what they did not do.”
There is more but even going by this, it’s obvious neither Raila nor ODM has ever abandoned Ruto and neither is it the case that either or both have not been concerned about his tribulations.
Having said that, however, it’s important to note despite Raila’s and ODM’s efforts to be of help to Ruto, he nonetheless chose the path of being a thorn in the flesh of Raila in the false hopes as noted above that he could topple or at least cripple Raila and ODM to the enemies of the latter’s benefit and therefore vicariously his benefit as well but all that boomeranged.
It is in this context that Raila said in Swahili soon after it was clear Parliament will not pass the law establishing a local tribunal, “” If a child cries for a razor blade, you as a parent should give him or her and if he or she cut himself or herself with it, they learn.”
Ruto cried for the razor he can’t now whine about it for any reason but is certain to cry like a baby when the cutting happens.
Ironically, knowing fully well he has been trying the hardest to be a pain to Raila, Ruto now whines that Raila has not called him for the last three years; who would?
Is it not classic humility and statesmanlike for Raila even after all of this to pick up the phone and call Ruto to try one last time and have Ruto get back to his senses and return to ODM he should never have left to begin with?
Third, it is obviously false as Ruto claims that Raila has mistreated him.
If anything, Raila has been very good to Ruto’s fortunes: he made him part of the Pentagon that propelled him to the height of political power, minimal as it may be; he appointed him to a key cabinet position soon after the formation of the coalition government; he bent over backwards to make sure the RV was more than proportionally represented in the cabinet and other appointments; when Raila called for Ruto’s suspension for corruption, this was not mistreating an ally but doing what was and always is the right thing to do if were are to end the culture of corruption and impunity.
In sum, the reasons Ruto has given for not accepting Raila’s offer to return to ODM are bogus.
The real reason is Ruto is beholden to Uhuru for the financial support he has been enjoying in their marriage and is concerned the price to pay in abandoning Uhuru for Raila is greater than doing otherwise.
No one can blame him for that.
The sad reality therefore becomes Ruto has come this far and high politically and this fast yet in no time, he must fade from the Kenyan political scene as a political point of influence or relevance.
He will not be the first one to do so and what an epic ending to an otherwise promising political career had the man made the right decisions and choices.
Such is life.