True to the belief that Kenya’s vice-presidency cum deputy presidency is jinxed, it is self-evident, conclusive and unassailable that we are witnessing another historic moment where Kenya’s 11th second in command is finding himself in the murky waters of succession politics.
The affront, brush-off and loss of face subjected to helpless deputy President William Ruto by Uhuru and his lieutenants was long overdue, going by the matrix of happenings that have surrounded that office from the days of Jaramogi to Kalonzo Musyoka.
With recent developments of GSU withdrawal from Dp’s security team and the exposure of Ruto’s vast estate by interior cabinet secretary Fred Okengo Matiang’i leaving him at the mercies of critics, that is just the tip of the iceberg of what drowned most of his predecessors.
Ruto is no different. At the dawn of the betrayal in Kenya’s political capital, Andrew Morton, Moi’s biographer in his book, The Making of an African Statesman notes that Kenyatta’s allies set unsuspecting Jaramogi to his boss claiming he was getting too powerful and had allegedly taken over parliament.
As a cautionary measure, Jaramogi was brought down to his knees after the chaotic Limuru conference held on 12-13th march that rendered his position useless after it was replaced by eight regional vice presidents.
Then Murumbi came in but his stay was short-lived too. Two months after he was sworn in as vice president on may 13th 1966, he drafted a resignation letter which he handed over in November the same year.
A then energetic Moi who posed no political threat to Kenyatta’s power, he was self-effacing and loyal, was brought on board. However, the inner cabinet soon started hatching a plot to stop Moi from succeeding Mzee who age was catching up with, but the plan backfired seeing Moi ascending to the presidency.
Kibaki was then appointed vice president in 1978. He also had his own dose of humiliations which intensified after the 1982 coup before he was eventually thrown under the bus in 1988, paving way for Dr. Josephat Karanja who also dramatically resigned after being accused of behaving like a god for telling people to kneel before him.
The services of an astute academician, professor George Muthengi Saitoti were then tapped. One of Saitoti’s most dramatic moments came in February 1990 when somebody poisoned him through his food.
He would later be condemned to 448 days of political wilderness after he was temporarily sacked from January 8th 1988 to April 1999.
Later in march 2002, Saitoti met his waterloo when he was disabused of the idea that he was going to succeed president Moi.
Moi personally silenced Saitoti after he complained about his missing a name in the list of KANU delegates.
“Kimya Professor, kama jina lako haliko!”, Muttered Moi to the wonderment of the country leaving Saitoti staring in disbelief.
Curtains later fell when Saitoti was sacked in August 30th 2002 and replaced by Musalia Mudavadi who up-to-date is still chasing his presidential dream.
The story of Kalonzo, Kenya’s last vice president also speaks of betrayal. Despite stabilizing Kibaki’s government, he also got the proverbial stab-in-the-back after Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto stole the show despite an earlier promise that he will be backed for the top job.
And now it is William Ruto’s turn, will he withstand the storm?