The 2022 Kenyan elections is not going to be about the economy, environment, security, corruption and any other issue which might be pertinent to the voters in terms of basics! It is going to be about Ruto.
Kenya is reeling from one corruption scandal to another but curiously the public seems to be throwing its lot with the main suspect, William Ruto.
Ruto has managed to hijack the narrative and he is now controlling it. The Ugenya and Embakasi couldn’t have come at a better time for him. Nowonder he thanked God profusely.
When the 21 billion dam scandal came to light, Ruto was a cornered man. But he is a genius and has managed to turn the tide and take the battle to leaders like Raila. He has also openly dared Uhuru. It is such traits which endear leaders to the people. Fearlessness.
One mistake after the other by his percieved enemies gave him a lifeline. Raila barged in on the scandals and suddenly his intentions became suspect. The entry of Orengo into the fray with his ill timed impeachment talks couldn’t have worsened the situation for anti Ruto forces.
Ruto quickly turned the straightforward theft into a political battle, muddying the waters and threatening the investigative agencies. The DCI is now on a back pedal and Uhuru is clearly cowed.
The president is also coming out as terribly lame duck. His GEMA backyard is sensing a vacuum in so far as leadership is concerned and are openly becoming restless.
Power abhors a vacuum and the hope GEMA had in Raila standing as the bulwark against Ruto and his politics have been strongly shaken by the losses ODM faced in the last bi-elections, moreso Ugenya.
They say the public is not known for its logic and voters always tend to identify with leaders they feel can win, policies notwithstanding.
There is an observable switch in the online arena by young voters towards the Ruto camp and the man is upbeat. It is almost tangible. The ground has palpably shifted.
He also pulled a stunt by standing on the line to ostensibly register for the Huduma Number. This was a victory lap and it is instructive that the public mobbed him, hailing him as though he were a ceaser. Ruto wants to invite the public against established families, presenting himself as one of them, a simple man squeezing himself on the line for a service imposed on the people by the dynastic families. It is working.
He has also deliberately decided to up the tempo by making Odinga the object of his ridicule. He wants to damage Raila by painting him in all manner of negative light. He knows Raila is not a mganga but will call him the same anyways.
As the people keep the their eyes focussed on Raila the “villain”, Ruto will seek to do his best to paint himself as a performer such that when 2022 comes, all bets will be on him.
Ruto is today the proverbial sphinx, rising from the dirt each time a scandal breaks out. He is a cat with nine lives and by 2022, he might still be holding some aces up his sleeves.