Photo: Prof Mutahi Ngunyi (left), helped DP Ruto (right) coin the tag hustler.
OF DYNASTIES AND HUSTLERS
By Abuga Hussein Makori
I have been keenly observing the unfolding local political realignments and the competition seems to be narrowing to the so called Dynasties and Hustlers. The former refers to hereditary rulers of a certain community while the latter refers to ordinary poor people.
To be specific, pundits and some serious sycophants from from either side of the divide have differed the context in which the two the two words are applied. To some extend, this might have rattled President Uhuru Kenyatta leading to excommunication of those believed to be rebels within his administration.
Deputy President William Ruto was the first to coin has campaigns on the hustler tag, a move which could have set him against his boss, Uhuru, the son of the founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, and undoubtedly, a perfect example of a dynasty.
But the race is now bringing Dr. Ruto and Raila Odinga into the picture, with the latter being lambasted by his critics as a dynasty, whose 5th presidential quest is being misconstrued to the wider scheme to protect the so called Dynasties.
BUT IS JARAMOGI REALLY A DYNASTY?
While nobody can despite the fact that Raila Odinga is a son to Kenya’s first Vice President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, in my opinion, I think this term is wrongly used to his prejudices. To explain this, I’ll try to use empirical evidence based historical facts to debunk this bad narrative.
Throughout his life, Mzee Jaramogi was an ordinary Kenyan who just hustled like any common mwananchi. In fact, he struggled to earn a living before moving to Maseno and later to Alliance through the help of Edward Carey Francis, the second headmaster of Alliance High School.
When Kenya gained independence from the Britons, Jaramogi was appointed as VP by Jomo Kenyatta. But due to clashing ideologies with Jomo, he quit on principle in 1966. Perceived as a socialist, Jaramogi was seen as a threat to kleptocratic capitalists, who incited Kenyatta against him.
By counting, Jaramogi was just a VP for just two years. As an MP for Bondo, Jaramogi served for a total of 7 years [1964-69, 1992-94]. This is just the total number of years Jaramogi served in government, mostly on legislative wing.
Throughout long spells, Jaramogi was was displaced from the equation over his perceived extremism, making it even difficult for him to do business or have his learned children get formal employment in GoK. He spent most of his time in house detention or fighting for pluralism during Jomo and Daniel Moi regimes.
The above demonstrates that Jaramogi was never a dynasty but just an ordinary Kenyan who fought for social-democracy and liberalisation/nationalisation of our ECONOMY. He died having achieved his course for just under 2 years!
WHAT ABOUT RAILA ODINGA?
Jakom is arguably Africa’s most cherished politician after Nelson Mandela. Just like his father, Raila spent his youthful years fighting for pluralism and expansion of democratic space after working briefly at KNBS.
For almost a decade, he spent his productive times in Kamiti, Shimo La Tewa, Manyani or Nyayo Chambers. He’s one of few surviving Democrats to have gone through hell especially during the regime of President Daniel Moi.
After realisation of his dreams in 1992, be was elected to Parliament, a seat which he went on to hold for 20 years. In parliament, he’s one of few legislators with an impeccable record on putting subsequent regimes on toes as part of his oversight duties.
But in Government, Raila served as Energy minister from 2001-02, then as Roads from 2003-05. After breaking with Mwai Kibaki, he returned to active opposition, something which saw him put a formidable campaign where observes believe that he won 2007 polls.
We all remember that a Grand Coalition Government was constituted in 2008. This saw Raila serve as Prime Minister for 5 years up to 2013. Cumulatively, Raila has served GoK for a total of 9 years, mostly as a Minister.
Given his struggles and ability to attract masses, there is no doubt that he’s one of formidable politicians globally. But the humble beginnings, struggles and few years served in GoK is a outright indication that he’s not a dynasty as purported by his critics.
AND WHAT ABOUT RUTO?
There is no doubt that Dr. William Ruto is an aggressive politician having been a student of both Moi and Raila. Also, it’s indisputable that he has risen from rags to riches, his acquisition methods notwithstanding. Currently, he’s among the richest Kenyans around.
Having put a strong foundation in YK92, Ruto went on to win Eldoret North seat [now Turbo, Soy], beating the renowned Eldoret politician Reuben Chesire in 1997. Months later, Ruto was appointed as Assistant minister and later on as a minister in 2000.
After KANU losing polls to Narc in 2002, Ruto was thrown to opposition politics. However, he put a formidable force in 2007 and would later return as a minister from 2008 to 2011. He was just sacked about one year to 2013 polls over massive graft allegations.
Since 2013, Dr. Ruto has been serving as Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya. Assuming nothing transpires between now and 2022, Ruto would have served a cumulative 10 years as second most senior GoK employee.
When you tabulate the years Ruto has actively served as a GoK official, you’ll establish that he enjoys 18 years of active service as a minister and DP as of 2022. This would be twice the period Raila has served for the same Government.
This begs the question; who is the dynasty? Who is the hustler? The above brief explanation should put this controversial debate to rest! The debate is neither here nor there. Let them compete based on ideologies, the people shall decide.
By Abuga Makori MBE via Whatsapp