• April 23, 2024
  • Last Update April 23, 2024 10:40 PM
  • Nairobi

Will DP Ruto’s Pursuit of Presidency Compromise Peace ?

Will DP Ruto’s Pursuit of Presidency Compromise Peace ?

Kenya is a multi-ethnic society and as is more often the case, such societies are prone to conflicts and tensions and always a threat to national cohesion and political stability.

Such conflicts sometimes gets to dangerous levels and a good example of this is the infamous post election violence of the year 2007/2008 that led to a loss of over 1300 lives and displacement of hundreds of thousands of Kenyans that came to be known as the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). For all intents and purposes , these IDPs were refugees in their own country and, sadly , to this day not all have been effectively settled.

And this is not all , almost all elections post independence have have been marred by tribal clashes in varying degrees and forms. So severe is this problem that the country has, over the years come up with the legislation, Constitution provision and even a whole constitutional commission on National Cohesion and Integration.

This legal Provision and interventions have served well to bring down tribal animosity and hatred but have not been sufficient to deter post election conflicts and violence. Because of this , the country has had to relay on more pragmatic approaches such as the Handshake between Uhuru and Ruto in 2012 and that Between Uhuru and Raila in 2018. 

From Left: ODM Leader Raila Odinga, President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto. |Photo| Courtesy|
From Left: ODM Leader Raila Odinga, President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto. |Photo| Courtesy|

In both cases , the country was walking through fire and the handshake was then the prescription that the doctor ordered. The Uhuru-Ruto dose cured in a way hither to unimagined, the bad blood between the Kalenjins and the Kikuyus. This two communities had taken the brunt of the post election violence of 2007/2008 with hundreds of their compatriots dying and hundred of thousands displaced.

The handshake proceeded to produce the Jubilee Government of Uhuru and Ruto .

The second handshake between Uhuru and Raila came at a time the country was burning following the disputed 2017 elections that had even been annulled by the supreme court and whose repeat election was boycotted by Raila.

The events of 2017 set the country on a destructive path that almost saw the end of the country as hither to known. With Legitimacy questions hanging over the head of Uhuru and his Jubilee administration and talk of cessation, the country was surely on a destruct mode.

The violence that ensued, the swearing in of Raila as People’s president, and the boycott of certain goods and services from sources perceived to be sympathetic to Jubilee, put the country in a state that no country will ever want to be in. Even the most optimistic Kenyan could see that the country was sliding toward a dangerous cliff.

It is because of this that the Raila-Uhuru handshake of March 9th 2018 was well received and celebrated. The handshake brought the peace that we enjoy to this day.

Now, with such clear benefits coming out of these handshakes , its difficult to understand how a beneficiary and a key architect of the same can fail to appreciate the Raila -Uhuru handshake, yet that is exactly what is coming from the Deputy President , William Ruto’s Corner.He has repeatedly, directly and through proxy attacked and rubbished the Handshake and has had the most unkindest words toward BBI, an offshoot of the handshake.

Why is Ruto so opposed to the Handshake yet he was part of it right from the beginning? We have it from none other that the president, that Ruto was not only informed of the handshake but also took part in assembling the BBI team and indeed he nominated people to the the team.

Would one be wrong to conclude that the only reason why Ruto would be opposed to such a cause , is his burning ambition to be the president of Kenya? Further, would it not follow that his ambition is so overbearing that he would, perhaps , stop at nothing to become President? And might some people not whisper that this is dangerous?

Its difficult to look at this things in any other way. It would call for a lot of straining to deny that the Kibaki -Raila handshake not only brought peace but also created a political environment in which the coalition government delivered most. It would call for insensitivity of monumental propotion to deny that the Uhuru-Ruto handshake brought peace to the country and enabled the country hold fairly peaceful elections in 2013.

And , as it now appears , one would have to want the presidency so badly to deny that without the Uhuru- Raila handshake there would perhaps be no country to call Kenya. Yet, Ruto sees no benefit in the handshake that brought peace, he sees nothing positive in BBI that attempts to address the issues that cause violence and loss of limb and property during every election cycle. And yet, in the words of Mark Anthony , Ruto is not an honourable man.

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