Kenya’s Deputy President Dr. William Ruto is a man under siege. Faced with a decision of either supporting the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) spearheaded by President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime minister, Hon. Raila Odinga, or opposing it, finds himself between a rock and a hard place.
This is new territory for Dr. Ruto, whose past sentiments against the BBI have been a direct indication of his displeasure with the initiative since the inception of the handshake. For Ruto and his allies, the handshake was a spoiler to his clandestine strategy towards the 2022 presidential elections.
On Friday, Nov 27th,2020, Dr. Ruto send a tweet that was seen by many of his supporters, as a sign of betrayal. By indicating that he supports article 11A of the BBI bill, a claim that was swiftly disputed by parliaments minority whip, Hon. Junet Muhammed, came across as someone whose word cannot be trusted. According to Hon. Junet, article 11A that Dr. Ruto claims to support in the amended bill has been there since the very first day BBI was launched. This, therefore, was quite embarrassing for the Deputy President and his social media handlers.
His tweet read, “NEW article 11A in the BBI Constitution bill INTRODUCED AFTER Bomas will ANCHOR the ORDINARY PEOPLES’ Hustler economics of wheelbarrow, boda×2, mamamboga, pastoralists/butchers & GUARANTEED MINIMUM RETURNS on coffee, tea,korosho,sukari,maize. BOTTOM UP NOT TRICKLE-DOWN ECONOMICS”.
Based on his previous sentiments, William Ruto has never shied away from expressing his opposition to BBI by its proponents. During the recent BBI launch at Bomas, he punched holes at the document by pointing at various gaps especially at the expansion of the executive.
“The President will appoint the PM and the two deputies from the winning coalition. And then we will have the runners up being the leader of the opposition. The question I am asking myself is, have we sorted out the winner-takes-all question?”.
“For example, we have the president, I am the DP, [Amos] Kimunya is the PM because he is the leader of Majority, Jimmy Angwenyi (National Assembly Chief Whip) as the deputy and Maoka Maore as the other deputy, what happens to the whole Nasa brigade?” added Dr. Ruto.
In his opinion, BBI is being used to divide Kenyans as opposed to bringing them together. While attending Naivasha MP Jayne Kiharu’s mother funeral in Nyeri, he said,
“If this program is meant to build bridges, let us build bridges by listening and considering the opinion of everyone,”.
“Let us not look down upon the opinions of pastoralists, farmers, Parliament, Counties, and religious groups. It would not be fair if we disregard the opinion of these stakeholders.”
“I want to ask Kenyans that we should resist the division that is being forced on us that there must be those who support and those against.” He posed.
By Ruto having expressed such a strong opposition to BBI based on his previous statements, the biggest question is, what changed?
His newfound support for BBI exposes him as a spineless rebel without a cause. In all actuality, he has never had a cause. For the better part of the uhuruto second term, Ruto has never mastered the courage to resign from his position despite having differed sharply with his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Dr. Ruto has curved an image as a defender of the hustler nation. Yet when it counts, he is nowhere to be seen. By standing up to BBI and leading the NO campaigns, he would have demonstrated his undying devotion to the hustler cause. The Deputy President has no known street cred. When it matters most, the deputy president is always far away from what matters to the ordinary man.
For those who believed that Dr. William Ruto would represent their interests and defeat the so-called “Dynasties”, this is a clear indication that they better look elsewhere.
Ruto stands for nothing and has never fought for anything. His hustler nation narrative and posturing is a façade and it’s time his supporters knew him for what he is.