Wednesday, February 11, 2009



By Jerry Okungu
Africa News On Line
11 February 2009

My heart bleeds for William Ruto. Despite his many past so unpleasant deeds in the corridors of power under Moi, I had come to admire him as a principled, focused and daring man. For these reasons, he defied Moi and Uhuru in 2007 and chatted his own political destiny in a party that Moi had no time for.

The mere fact that Ruto parted ways with KANU and Moi; and went ahead to campaign against the Moi family and friends with convincing victory, earned Ruto a place of honor in our national politics. He had changed the political equation in Rift Valley forever. The Moi family lost control of the Kalenjin community.

Yes, it is true William Ruto was one of the architects of the infamous YK’92, the political machine that used every means at its disposal to retain Moi in power in 1992, when it was obvious that the tide was against the despot. Having helped derail reforms in 1992, he went on to serve in the Moi regime in several capacities, the last one being in Moi’s cabinet with his YK’92 fellow founder Cyrus Jirongo to the last day of KANU’s reign in 2002.

Soon after the 1992 elections, so many major scandals emerged involving Kenya’s NSSF funds and fictitious land buying deals and real estate development that cost the Fund billions of Shillings. To be fair to Ruto; his name never featured in most of the NSSF related deals but his YK’92 close associates were involved.

Soon after KANU was defeated and KANU operatives were out of power; a number of the regimes wheeler-dealers were hauled in courts including facilitators of the infamous Golden Berg scam that took place inside the Central Bank.

Although Ruto and his YK’92 comrades were never implicated in the biggest scam of the 20th century in Kenya, he was arraigned in court for other forms of economic crimes involving questionable land deals and unprocedural tender procurements.
To date, he still has a case pending in court.

Rumour has it that had NARC not disintegrated soon after forming the government; had the Kibaki/Raila Alliance remained intact and pursued their 2002 pledge of ridding Kenya of corruption and economic crimes, we would not be talking of the likes of Ruto in Kenya’s 10th Parliament. A number of them, known thieves sitting in the cabinet and Bunge would today be serving their fifth or sixth years in our jails.

There is another less talked about incident of unethical behavior in which William Ruto has been mentioned several times. It has to do with some equipment that used to belong to the Kenya Times Media Trust. It is stated that soon after KANU was thrown out of power and Moi went home with his closest associates, it fell upon Ruto to direct the affairs of the KANU newspaper.

It was during that period that he is rumored to have attempted to sell off the property of the company without due consultation with other stakeholders.

During the 2007, very few people in the ODM could beat Ruto on the podium on eloquence. The man had mastered the art of oratory politics. He had the ability to think on his two feet and field any questions in any live television talk shows.

He became the hero and the darling of millions of ODM supporters across the country.
And to be fair to Ruto; it was even rumored that he was the man to watch in Kenya’s future politics. Remember that he even ran for president in the ODM primaries with a plausible manifesto that received good reviews in the local press. What amazed Kenyans was his lackluster performance at the ODM primaries when the much touted formidable Rift Valley voters didn’t vote for him. If anything, Ruto came a poor third after Mudavadi.

That was how he lost the number two slot to Mudavadi in the ODM hierarchy.

As Ruto battles for his political life; what with the current maize scandal and the impending tribunal that will try suspects who masterminded and organized violence during and post election periods in Kenya in 2007; are Ruto’s accusers like Boni Khalwale, the Kenya National Human Rights Commission and even the Waki Report all wrong on pointing fingers at William Ruto? Are these allegations the work of political rivals bent on cutting Ruto to size to scatter his chances of running for President in 2012? Is Ruto a victim of ODM- KANU conspiracy, political rivals who would like to settle scores with him?


Rosslynn said...
February 11, 2009 at 11:42 AM  

You balanced your perspective without throwing any stones. Good job!