“He is honest until proven guilty”.
This is the new catch-phrase supporters of Deputy President William Ruto are flaunting whenever questions of ‘honestability’ by kenyan politicians arise.
William Ruto’s consistent attendance of his ICC case, coupled with his widely popular CNN interview and a wobbling boss seems to have endeared him to Kenyans who take leaders for their words.
After the CNN interview, where the Deputy President acknowledged, or did not deny, that KDF soldiers looted Westgate during the last month’s siege by Al Shabaab, many Kenyans praised the honesty of Mr Ruto.
“It is so unlike the things we have been hearing from Uhuru (president) and that Lenku guy (Joseph Lenku is the Interior Cabinet Secretary on whose docket falls internal security)” observed a social media commentator.
Ruto told CNN’s Jean Vergee that ‘corrective measures’ will be taken on all those who may have ‘overstepped their mandates’ during the incident.
On ICC, Ruto has continued to cooperate with the Court despite Uhuru Kenyatta’s charm offensive to the AU where he discredited the institution as a ‘colonial toy’ used by western nations on Africans in new forms of neocolonialism.
Ruto, unlike Uhuru, prefers the ICC to handle the cases, only that the court should factor in his current status as a serving deputy president of a sovereign country. However, his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta, favours other means rather than the Hague based court.
The contrasting moral, and political standpoints of the two leaders appears to run down in their two parties running the coalition government.
Most Uhuru sidekicks are vocal anti-Hague chatterboxes while Ruto’s ‘guys’ have apparently taken a rather quite and less abrasive approach.
Because Ruto case is already ongoing, many of the current last-minute attempts to halt the ICC case is seen to be pushed by Uhuru, whose trial will begin on Nov 12.
Fundamentally missing in the whole ICC debate; whether the cases should continue or get terminated, is the Kenyan populace.
From election, the faultline which ensured the ICC become the most polarising issue during elections has not been overcome. With it, attempts by Uhuru to shore up public opinion against the cases only appeals to his Jubilee supporters, not the country he presides over.
New attempts to bring in the opposition and civil societies in the cases, according to keen observers, may be the first true indication to seek bipartisan approach to the ICC.
For now, Ruto’s moral bank overflows with new deposits taken from the continued pussyfooting and dilly dallying by people like Gen Julius Karangi, the chas at State House and saddening appointees like Lenku and Omamo.
But Ruto is a politician. From his verbal records; he is among the few politicians in Kenya who have perfected the art of ‘truthful lies’. Innocent till proven guilty. . . err…honest until proven innocent!