April 25th 2017

Opinion / Commentaries

Ruto, Gideon Moi battles provide lesson for DP: Never outshine the master

Many will argue that President Kenyatta was contented with Mr Ruto’s aggressiveness to politics but we have to remember that Ruto had outsmarted his political nemesis President Moi by being seen as the Kalenjin kingpin in 2007 and 2013 general elections.

By Reuben Gitahigitahireuben@gmail.comMonday, 27 Feb 2017 16:07 EAT

President Moi with his political mentee, DP Ruto.

The maverick classical writer Robert Greene’s book 48 Laws of Power opens with law that focuses on the need of not outsmarting your prodigies on any kind of situation. Deputy President William Ruto might appear to have been outsmarted by Gideon Moi if we were to take the current developments in the Rift Valley literally.

In yesterday's meeting in Elgeyo Marakwet during the launch of the campaign by former Inspector General of Police David Kimayo, the son of the former president attacked the deputy president by urging President Uhuru Kenyatta to seek votes from the Rift VAlley region directly "rather than through proxies". By proxies Mr Moi meant William Ruto.

Is it that Mr Ruto was acting as a cloud that prevented the Sun from shining? The first law by Robert Greene seems to wreak havoc to wannabe political midgets with an insatiable appetite for growth. The Kenya political dynaties, which comprises of the Odingas, Kenyattas and the Mois, seem to enjoy the limelight and political dynasties seem to be part and parcel of our politics.

Many will argue that President Kenyatta was contented with Mr Ruto’s aggressiveness to politics but we have to remember that Ruto had outsmarted his political nemesis President Moi by being seen as the Kalenjin kingpin in 2007 and 2013 general elections.

Other politicians who have fell based on not adhereing to this mundane law in politics include Ababu Namwamba. Mr Namwamba's star was rising in the Orange Democratic Movement where he was seen as the voice of the youths in the party against the autocratic Odinga family.

He had support during the Kasarani party official elections in 2014 and was seen as the new kid on the block. It is from this wrong calculation that his star started to fall. Counter accusation of bribery started to appear from the Public Accounts Committee and later being linked to the ruling party the Jubilee. In short, Mr Odinga had managed to cut to size the rising and more eloquent Mr Namwamba.

The quintessential Tom Mboya appeared to enjoy the limelight with superfluous speech that made Jomo Kenyatta a political dwarf. He was eloquent and moved the crowds and was a darling of the west. He was rising and his feet needed to be cut and Kenyatta’s kitchen cabinet had to devise a plan to curtail the popularity of the politician. Josiah Mwangi Kariuki rose from the trenches to become Kenyatta’s personal assistant and his popularity was on a crescendo in Central Province politics. But he didn’t know that the popularity would cost him his life.

Back to the Ruto-Gideon Moi fistfight. What might have caused President Moi to lie low like an envelope after suffering a humiliating dressing down by a younger Mr Ruto can still be analysed by Robert Greene’s other book, The 33 Strategies of War. In the book Greenes notes that the ‘perfect economy strategy’ is important in war and former president might be a good student of Greene. After the humiliation in 2002, Moi went back to Kabarak and adopted a low lifestyle steering away from politics.

The professor of politics steered clear of a fight with the rising politicians. As the saying goes when you fight with a midget they will always hit you below the belt. Moi had adopted a similar strategy used by Mao Tse Tung when he faced the 28 Bolshevics, a team of young Russian trained Communists while fighting the Nationalist led by Chiang Kaishek.

The 28 Bolshevics decided to do away with Mao as the head of the Communist Party and saw his archaic strategy as not working in the fight. But only came back after the nationalist seem to have an upper hand and the communist had been reduced to only 8,000 men and then the Long March started with Mao rejuvenating the Communist Party. Up to date the Communist Party is the main political outfit in China.

Has the strategy of Mr Ruto failed in the Kalenjin Nation? Or has the Kalenjin Nation gone back to their own Mao and it’s that time for the Long March?

The writer is an experienced journalist, lecturer and researcher based in Nairobi





Stay Connected