BY SAMUEL N. OMWENGA
Dear Hon. Ruto:
I am fairly certain you do not recall this but at the tail end of the 2007 campaign period, a friend of mine and I were at the Fairview hotel having lunch when you and other Pentagon members minus Raila and Nyagah were also seated at the nearby gazebo having your own lunch meeting.
My colleague and I walked over to your table as you had just been seated and engaged you all with some small talk generally about the state of the then election campaign and shortly thereafter excused ourselves to allow you to go on with your lunch as we proceeded to our own.
More accurately, my colleague and I engaged the other members of the Pentagon except for you as you were mum and basically treated us as a nuisance – not sure exactly why I joked with my Kale friend it must have been you and he had had some run on before but he assured me that not to be the case.
Be that as it may have been, as my friend and I returned to our seats, I told him looking at that table, and given your discomfort with our presence, it was my conclusion that you could not possibly be on that team for much long after the ensuing elections.
My assessment was simply based on this: knowing you were the youngest of the four Pentagon members sitting there and the two absent but clearly in your mind, you must have surely been thinking if each ruled as president at a minimum one term, that would translate to more than 25 years before your turn arrived, going by the politics of the oldest first; if each ruled for a maximum two terms, you were then looking at more than 50 years before your turn. If you factor in the opposition taking one or two of those terms, add at least five more years, which led to my summation you couldn’t possibly want to wait that long and thus my prediction then to my friend you may not last long with the Pentagon.
For this reason, I told my friend you would soon have to find a way to cut the line and this could not possibly happen in ODM.
The only way you could not have been thinking about this, namely, seeking a short-cut to the presidency, I told my friend, was if you were given a pacifier in the form of a premiership which you have since claimed Raila promised but did not deliver – never mind Raila could not have offered you this as he himself became one.
It was therefore no surprise to many of us when soon after the coalition government was formed, you started making noise and later bolted ODM becoming a thorn in the flesh of Raila.
I don’t think there is any doubt in anyone’s mind that the sole objective in doing what you did was simply to try and dethrone Raila from the pinnacle of power he enjoys as the leader of ODM and therefore position yourself as the new kid on the block with sufficient coattails from such a dethroning to ride all the way to State House as President.
Neither is there any doubt in anyone’s mind that was an overly ambitious objective albeit one no one can really blame or condemn you for pursuing as it is what any savvy politician would have done, if they had the chutzpah to do so.
Looking back, however – and you would have to agree, felling the Mugumo tree turned out to be an insurmountable and daunting task for there is simply not enough muscle or tool to bring it down as others before you did ultimately equally find out as you did.
Meanwhile, you had a visitor by the name of Luis Moreno Ocampo, who invited you to join him and his colleagues at The Hague in connection with PEV.
That case remains pending but after conducting a thorough legal analysis of the case, I long ago concluded you cannot be convicted as charged.
Which brings me to the purpose of this letter and that is, to ask you the question, what is that you want at this stage in your political career?
This is a rhetorical question for I have my own thoughts as to what you would want which I now share and hope you’ll agree.
First, as any politician, you’ll want to maximize and preserve power.
There is no question you have amassed a considerable amount of political power since the Moi days when even you would admit until you ploughed your way into the corridors of power as a Moi youth organiser, you couldn’t have imagined that you were yourself presidential material – at least not this early in your life-span.
I can’t say that for sure but logic and common sense dictates that to have been the case and I am sure you’ll agree were you to be intellectually honest.
However, be that as it may be, what power you have is strictly regional and more specifically, it’s power of influence over a portion of the Kalenjin community primarily in North RV.
It is power nonetheless you can leverage to your political advantage albeit not enough to propel you to State House as president for reasons that are obvious and I need not get into.
One obvious way you could leverage that power to your political advantage, and the second thing I would postulate as top of the list of things you’ll want at this stage in your political career, is to play king-maker.
Soon after the Kibaki succession game (KSG) was whistled on, you and several other politicians formed the so-called G7 alliance which has either since fizzled to death or is comatose in some form.