Love him or hate him, you cannot ignore him. William Ruto, the deputy President is a man who divides opinion, attracts controversies and dominates headlines, second only to Raila.
Nicknamed the ‘high priest of corruption’, Ruto has had to repeatedly defend himself against claims of corruption and land grabbing. The opposition has spent the last four years accusing him of massive corruption and questioning the source of his wealth. Famous for his ‘generosity’ in numerous fundraising events, the self-proclaimed ‘hustler’ attributes his wealth to hard work.
There is an unspoken perception among some Jubilee supporters that Ruto and his side of the government (read Cabinet secretaries, principle secretaries and parastatal heads appointed by Ruto) is responsible for the numerous corruption scandals that have plagued the Jubilee government. The opposition has been quick to label Jubilee, Kenya’s most corrupt administration. To some, these constant allegations are a major liability and could end up costing Jubilee in the forthcoming elections. Ruto insists the allegations against him are driven by people who are jealous of his rise from obscurity to the Deputy President of Kenya and now just a step away from the Presidency.
On the other hand, Ruto’s political brilliance is unmatched. Mentored by Moi, the professor of politics, and moulded by Raila, the enigma of Kenyan politics, Ruto is a combination of arguably Kenya’s two most influential politicians. Ruthless and calculating, he successfully dethroned former President Moi as the King of the Rift Valley, he then turned Kingmaker by teaming up with Uhuru to defeat Raila and positioned himself for a stab at the presidency in 2022.
Skilled in the art of public speaking, his oratory prowess is simply unmatched. His speeches are delivered with humor, wit and simple logic which easily connects with the masses, easily making him the most convincing politician in Kenya. His constant jibes at the opposition makes for entertaining soundbites.
The NASA camp has no equivalent of Ruto in terms of energy, verve, political brilliance and mobilization skills. The closest they come is Joho whose ongoing duel with Uhuru Kenyatta has catapulted him to national prominence and seen his star shine.
CORD (now NASA) recognizing Ruto’s political capital, have spent the last four years either courting him, or trying to break up his political marriage with Uhuru, and when that failed, they have resorted to sustained attacks against him.
Ruto is singlehandedly the biggest asset, and most effective campaign weapon at Jubilee’s disposal as the presidential contest tightens. So, yes Kalonzo had a point when he said Ruto might be the reason Uhuru is not re-elected, but he might just be the reason Uhuru is re-elected.