OPEN LETTER TO THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF KENYA, WILLIAM RUTO
Bwana DP, I know like most of us, you have followed the events in the USA with bated breath, and depending on who you were rooting for, are either happy or sad.
I am writing this because of the many parallels between Trump and yourself. I am hoping that in this season, you are reflecting and re-strategizing. After all, it is good to learn from your mistakes, but it is better to learn from other people’s mistakes.
Donald Trump sold himself as the ultimate truthteller; the one who truly represented America; their savior from the swamp that was Washington. He proceeded to tell America precisely what their problem was, and who to blame for it.
He blamed immigrants, people of color, Muslims and the poor/lazy for America’s problems. He was abrasive, uncouth and brash, he deliberately set out to divide the country in order to secure a base. In the process, he mainstreamed bigotry, racism and class differences. His actions emboldened the worst in American society. Does that ring a bell?
Your mode of operation bwana Ruto is the same; you are well aware of the challenges that face poor youth in this country; you point out their problems, and you show them who to blame for it. You lie about the genesis of their problems and you sell them pipe dreams designed to fail, so that you can feed off their frustrations.
We see you donating wheelbarrows and tanks while absolutely refusing to participate in policy change that would provide the launchpad for long lasting success for that demographic. We see you fill your thinktank with the old as you decry lack of opportunities for the youth.
We see you, Mr. Ruto! You have no qualms starting a class war if it serves your ambition; if it creates a support base for you. Learn from Trump, that strategy only works for a little while; before the very people it was used on reject it.
Trump was fond of blaming the “deep state” for all his failings. It was a convenient thing to blame. After all, it cannot be seen, cannot be summoned and cannot defend itself. Everything he has failed at, he has blamed the deep state for. Every crime he has committed, he has blamed the deep state for.
You Bwana DP employ the same methods. When accused of corruption, you don’t deny engaging in that corruption; instead, you blame the deep state for being exposed. When you are exposed dealing with criminals and charlatans, you blame the deep state. Learn from the mistakes of Donald Trump and begin to take responsibility for your actions and those of your allies. Clean up! Understand this, you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.
It is a matter of public knowledge that you treat your wife like an unwanted child, a prop at best. The coldness of your interactions is not lost on us. The rumors of your violent nature, whispers of your abhorrent treatment of the second lady abound. Where there is smoke, there is fire. A leader is judged by how well he can master himself and his baser urges. In this area, you are exactly like Donald Trump; you fall short.
Understand that while it may seem that the masses are cheering on your escapades, they weigh you by the standard of their highest aspirations, and you fall short. The women of this country may seem to turn a blind eye but they see themselves in your wife and they will not forget your slights to her.. just like the women in the USA did not forget Trump’s slights to them.
You have monopolized the God of the Christians. Only you can midwife His purpose in this country. Only you are anointed enough or righteous enough. You have become the one every self-proclaimed prophet touts as the chosen one of God. Dreams have been dreamt and visions have been seen. You have shown your gratitude by giving expensive gifts and lavishing those churches with money. Little wonder that it is you they pay homage to.
Even as you bask in that glory and recognition, remember that the evangelicals did the same for Trump. They literally washed him in the blood of the Lamb and declared him white as snow. They turned a blind eye to all his vices. Know this, the glory and accolades poured on you by men of the cloth does not necessarily mean their flock feels the same way; understand that Kenyans can tell lip service from actual devotion; and though they will be excited by the gifts, in the long run they will judge you by your actions.
Your conduct during the course of this pandemic period can only be described as “Trumpian”. Like DJT you treated masking and physical distancing like mere suggestions instead of life saving interventions. Just like him, you have been holding super spreader events without masking or even attempting to encourage those who attend your rallies to mask.
Your conduct has put lives in danger. It was an abrogation of your responsibilities as one sworn to protect the lives of Kenyans…and I promise you, if your conduct does not change, it will work against you too.
You are running a race but you have misunderstood the nature of that race. This is not the 100m dash; it is the 42km marathon. It needs more preparation than this; it needs you to come with clean hands, it needs you to emerge as a statesman, failure to which rejection by Kenyans awaits you.
What you decide to do with this information is entirely up to you.
By Gabriel Oguda