Deputy President William Ruto, Photo courtesy
THE HANDSHAKE AFTERMATH
By Gilbert O Kenya
If William Ruto wasn’t in the know about the deal between Uhuru and Raila, it’s a matter of time before he goes ballistic.The man is a smooth operator though. At the moment, Ruto might be fighting the political battle of his life.
He obviously doesn’t like the idea of Uhuru embracing his “brother” Raila, but he knows that crying foul is a show of weakness that might make him more vulnerable to attacks from his many political enemies. It’s is a preserve of political weaklings and crybabies like Madvd and Weta. Ruto knows shouting that “Uhuru betrayed me” won’t help his political ambitions in any way at the moment.
Ruto prefers action than crying foul and you can see how busy he has been moving around the country lately. His foot soldiers are also silently fueling a rebellion against Raila by selling the narrative that the NASA leader betrayed his supporters.
A restless Raila support base and other moves from Ruto loyalists within gov’t, like the Miguna Miguna saga, are aimed at forcing Raila to renounce the “handshake” and scuttle any political pact between him and Uhuru.
Make no mistake; the handshake rattled the hustler to the core and automatically sent him back to the drawing board. Now, more than ever, he isn’t assured of the Mt. Kenya votes in 2022; thank to the new Uhuru-Raila alliance.
Ruto must now craft a new political alliance outside the traditional Jubilee strongholds, if he still dreams of becoming president in 2022. This will be very tricky for him, given the kind of abrasive politics he has been playing in defense of Jubilee since 2012. Did Ruto blindly invest too much in Jubilee?
As sure as the sun will rise from the east and set in the west tomorrow, Jubilee will ultimately split into two distinct halves: one supporting the unexpected newfound love between Uhuru and Raila, and the other totally against the union. That makes it almost certain that Jubilee won’t deliver the presidency to Ruto come 2022.
Meanwhile Raila is silently crafting a new alliance as people keep making fun of him and speculating about the famous “handshake.” between him and Uhuru.
Raila is one man who has mastered the terrain of Kenyan politics very well. He has the patience of a Nairobi street hawker whenever he is out to achieve a given political end. This is what has enabled him to craft winning coalitions since 2002 when NARC swept KANU out of power. Believe it or not, the man won in the last three general elections but was defrauded of his victories.
What the famous handshake did was to upset the status quo of Kenyan politics as we knew it in 2017. This might be a blessing in disguise since the venom between Jubilee NASA was becoming too toxic for this country’s own survival.
Now, whether we like it or not, we shall have completely new political alliances before 2022 and main players will switch sides.
Most Raila supporters have been an unhappy lot since the handshake. They think their main man betrayed them by embracing their enemy. But Raila knows one thing: he still sets the agenda of Kenyan politics. See how we have been talking about the handshake for a whole month now? Soon, university students might even be writing theses about it!
Now, we are all waiting for Raila to make another surprise announcement and both the mainstream and social media will be abuzz about it for the next one month! Surprisingly, even those castigating him are waiting for him to set the next political agenda!
When Raila is silent, even the media lacks news and writes about his silence! That is how important Raila is in Kenyan politics. Finding a replacement for such a political player overnight is definitely a tall order. The political clout he wields can only be grown over several years.
Truth be told, even the disgruntled Raila supporters who are angry with him now are eagerly awaiting his next move. What they can’t admit openly is that, they find it so difficult to hate the man and that he can easily win them back in a week’s tour around the country, once he has something convincingly tangible to announce to them.
As for now, only political greenhorns can write Raila off. You can only do that once you have a person big enough to fit into his massive boots. The way the man keeps reinventing himself mesmerizes both foe and friend and he isn’t retiring anytime soon.
Raila will be on the ballot in the next elections with a completely new political alliance and you can take that to the bank. It will be interesting to watch how he moves to regain the trust of his restless political supporters. Also, interesting to watch will be how the hustler reacts to the imminent “betrayal” from Mountain region.