Pride comes before a fall, Mudavadi tells Ruto

ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi

Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi addresses the Media at the Musalia Mudavadi Centre in Nairobi on August 23, 2020.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

The relationship between Deputy President William Ruto and ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi hit rock bottom Monday after they traded barbs as President Uhuru Kenyatta’s 2022 succession battle gained momentum.

Their disagreements peaked on Saturday, after DP Ruto dismissed Mr Mudavadi and Ford-Kenya party leader Moses Wetang’ula, in their own backyard, as nonstarters in the race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.

A day after DP Ruto fired a tirade in Bungoma County, during the burial of the father of Bumula MP Mwambu Mabonga, Mr Mudavadi’s spokesman Kibisu Kabatesi fired back.

“Hubris is a disease politicians avoid but Ruto covets it and is infatuated by it. It is hubris that drives him to undermine his own government and oppose his boss, the President,” Mr Kabatesi said on Monday in a strongly-worded statement.

Mr Wetang’ula, who is Bungoma Senator, attended the burial and sat as DP Ruto told them off. He did not respond when the Nation reached him for comment.

What apparently infuriated the ANC boss the most was what appeared to be an ultimatum for him and Mr Wetang'ula. DP Ruto said they have no choice but to look for him and support his bid before it's too late.

Mr Kabatesi said: “In Bungoma, hubris ruled when Ruto appeared to give the Western leadership of ANC and Ford-Kenya an ultimatum to join his crumbling political campaign or face unspecified consequences.”

He continued: “Ruto appeared so cocksure of his support in Western that he chose it as the venue to goad the two leaders into a union with him. They aren’t ready to offer him a shoulder to cry on,” he added.

'Little sway'

The comments by the DP pointed at the idea that he may not need Mr Mudavadi's and Mr Wetang’ula’s support, after all, in his quest for the most powerful office on the land.

The DP’s thinking in this case would be that he already has the people's backing so the two politicians' support would be of little consequence.

This is corroborated by the DP’s bluster about the huge following he enjoys in Parliament and the “many” harambees he has held in Western region in support of various groups.

“At least 150 MPs support me. Those supporting Mudavadi are 10 while those for Wetang’ula are 12 in number, so how will such people compete with me? How will they defeat me? They should be serious,” DP Ruto said during the burial.

“They should be the ones looking for me and they should not delay because time is not on their side. I will not wait for them for too long. They have not held any harambee to support boda-boda and women's groups, and build churches and schools. How will they compete with me? Don’t they have a difficult task?”

ANC MPs Godfrey Osotsi (Nominated) and Beatrice Adagala (Vihiga Woman Representative) had asked the DP to shelve his ambitions and support the ANC boss.

"Forced marriage"

However, Mr Kabatesi said that it is hubris that breeds the arrogance that "blinds” Ruto into going to the backyard of Western leaders and issuing an ultimatum.

“Ruto is showing all the signs that give meaning to the adage that ‘pride comes before a fall,'” he said.

Mr Kabatesi reiterated that at no time have the two leaders lacked political partners to work with, a deficit that would force them to seek the company of a “person whose character is wanting”.

He said that the two leaders welcome political partnerships underpinned by integrity, in reference to scandals that have been linked to the DP. The Deputy President has denied the allegations and has never been convicted of corruption.

Mr Mudavadi’s spokesman further said that the DP’s "politics of deceit and splashing tokens from suspect proceeds" insults the people's collective intelligence.

“A further insult is piled on Kenyans when history is turned upside down; a master passes himself as a slave.”

The DP was also told that arrogance and chest thumping have never won anyone support, “least of all a politician shunned and viewed with scorn”.

He was told that if he is sure of support from Western, it makes little sense for him to seek a forced marriage with ANC and Ford-Kenya leaders.

“His bravado hides a worried and panicking man. It is utterly disgusting that Ruto revels in buying the support of poor, desperate Kenyans, using proceeds whose sources remain suspect.”

Mr Kabatesi also accused Dr Ruto of personalising government projects.

This is proof of a “person who will clutch at any straw to survive the political onslaught he faces", he said, adding that it exposes treatment of public property as private.

He told the DP that before reaching out to the two Western leaders, he should first face his “demons” in the Jubilee Party, and face the truth that he is part of the mess the administration has inflicted on Kenyans.

“He cannot wriggle out [of this position] by pretending to be impoverished Kenyans' Robin Hood. He cannot demand a partnership while his house is burning.”