Is Jubilee’s second-term agenda to fight Deputy President Ruto?

Deputy President William Ruto when he attended a church service at Ziwani AIC in Nairobi on September 20, 2020.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Constraining the Deputy President, by whatever means necessary, is Jubilee government's most important objective at present.
  • Critics accuse the State of profiling, targeting and intimidating Dr Ruto’s allies through arrests, bogus trials and unfair dismissal from state jobs and party leadership roles. 

Corruption and Machiavellianism, the two favourite pastimes of the country’s political elites, are likely to take us backwards and could spawn major problems.

The government of President Uhuru Kenyatta is widely and rightly regarded as corrupt. Its first term was nothing but a half-decade of ruthless plunder of public coffers by individuals in strategic positions. Constraining the Deputy President, by whatever means necessary, is its most important objective at present.

Promoted as a quest to prepare Kenyan learners for an ICT-driven economy, taxpayers lost billions of shillings in the fake digital literacy and school laptop project. Despite resistance from stakeholders, including parents and teachers, the government pushed through this multi-billion scam.

There was another lucrative yet bogus mobile medical clinics project in the Health ministry. Almost a decade later, the country is yet to find use for those worthless cargo containers.

And then there is the Galana Kulalu irrigation project that was touted as a critical investment towards food security. Although the government cannot demonstrate the true value of this project, pouring billions of shillings into a project to harvest grain worth a pittance is simply bad economics.

Huduma Namba was highly questionable yet a year since it was concluded, not a single Kenyan has been issued with the said unique number to supposedly “improve access to public service”. But then, the government reportedly plans to subject Kenyans to yet another bogus process, ostensibly as a cover to divert public funds anew.

Billions of dollars have been stolen in controversial projects like the Kimwarer and Arror dams; dozens of incomplete stadia; the standard gauge railway (SGR); the Managed Equipment Services (MES) and the Somalia border fence. 

The brazen plunder of Covid-19 mitigation funds while Kenyans were sick and dying is sure proof that the government has been captured by some individuals on a mission to steal state resources without restraint.

Nobody believes this regime will build half a million houses in the coming months. Instead, the ‘Big Four Agenda’ is simply regarded as new opportunities for corruption.

Stranger in government

Although the surprise “Handshake” between the President and Opposition leader Raila Odinga is often explained as necessary to regain national peace, pundits acknowledge the real objective was to checkmate Deputy President William Ruto and ultimately extinguish his rising political star.

Isolated and relieved of official duties, Dr Ruto is now a stranger in his own government, seldom attending Cabinet meetings.

The falling-out is evident beyond our borders for the President often taps other politicians to represent him on foreign missions.

Critics accuse the State of profiling, targeting and intimidating Dr Ruto’s allies through arrests, bogus trials and unfair dismissal from state jobs and party leadership roles. 

Dr Ruto has also complained of skewed journalism, sponsored media headlines and fake television and radio narratives.

Some media practitioners have sensationally claimed he was (in)directly involved in an alleged arms deal which led to the murder of his bodyguard.

Veteran newspaper columnists and social media content creators are also said to have been enlisted to churn out baseless stories and hashtags that cast him in negative light. His detractors hope a Building Bridges Initiative (BBI)-sponsored referendum will deliver the knock-out punch.

One does not have to like the DP to see the ridiculousness of mobilising state institutions to fight him. This is a dangerous path that reverses our democratic gains. And it is absolute pettiness to seek a constitutional amendment because of an individual. 

For our myopia, our neighbours have isolated us and are pursuing lofty goals in their own orbits. Last week, Uganda and Tanzania launched a $3.5 billion (Sh35 trillion) oil pipeline project as a precursor for the Kampala-Dar es Salaam electric train, marking the official death of Lapsset with the Lamu Port becoming another worthless project.