Sunday, October 12, 2014


Until now, William Samoei Ruto has performed remarkably well as Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya.

His presence in government has injected energy, zealotry and personal charisma into a job often viewed as colourless and thankless - a job once described by an American vice president as "not worth a bucket of spit." He put his presidential ambition on hold, deflected his ego, and dedicated himself fully to the administration of the Jubilee government. He has shown loyalty and patriotism and has carried himself in a debonair manner.

Moreover, Ruto relates well with President Uhuru Kenyatta whom he calls "my brother, my boss, my president," The chemistry between them is more than chivalrous and congenial, a marked difference from the turbulent ties between President Mwai Kibaki and his Prime Minister Raila Odinga, in the previous government.

The recent gesture by Uhuru to entrust him with the acting presidency while he attended his case at the Hague showed the level of trust and high esteem he has in his deputy. Ruto did not disappoint.

However, Uhuru has said he intends to rule for ten years, which means, Ruto must wait for another eight years to stand as the Jubilee's presidential candidate; that is, if everything goes according to plan.

The bigger question however remains: Will Central Kenya support Ruto for the presidency the way Ruto's Rift Valley supported Uhuru in 2013?

To answer that question we need to refer to history. In 1992, Paul Muite, then a key lieutenant of Ford-Kenya presidential candidate Oginga Odinga contested the Kikuyu parliamentary seat in Central Kenya. Muite garnered over 30,000 votes while Oginga got a paltry 3000 presidential votes. Voters in that part of the country rejected Oginga who hailed from the Nyanza region, and instead, chose to split their votes between Kenneth Matiba and Mwai Kibaki - both from Central Kenya.

An almost similar scenario happened in 1997 when George Nyanja of Kiambu in Central Kenya stood on Raila Odinga's Nyanza-dominated NDP ticket. He won the Limuru seat but voters there dismissed Raila's presidential candidature.

Another example is that of 2002. Raila endorsed Mwai Kibaki for the presidency against Uhuru Kenyatta. Raila's Nyanza region voted almost to a man for Kibaki. Soon after winning, Kibaki turned against Raila. He was president for ten years while Raila benefitted from a peace agreement and became Prime Minister after the 2007 elections.

Come 2013, Raila expected Central Kenya to back him as a payback for supporting Kibaki in 2002. He was disappointed. The region voted for Uhuru.

So, the question still remains. Will Central Kenya support William Samoei Ruto to take over from Uhuru when the time comes?

Your guess is as good as mine.

The only advice I can give my party boss is that he should continue to do what he is doing now: combing the country, making new friends and cultivating relations for the future. Expecting endorsement from Central Kenya could prove disastrous.

And that is my say.