BY KOIGI WAMWERE
If like Deputy President William Ruto you want power but the government is fighting you what route would you take to the presidency?
You can bow to the man in power and beg him to give you power. You can also beg the big man for power. If the leader gives you power, you shall say thank you. If he does not give it to you, you shall equally say thank you.
The path of begging power is the path that Daniel Moi followed to succeed President Jomo Kenyatta.
When Kenyatta gave Moi power by keeping him as vice-president until he died in 1978, Moi said thank you to him. Had Moi opposed and antagonized Kenyatta, the President would not have kept him as vice-president long enough to succeed him upon his death.
As for Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, he pursued power through a different route from Moi. Instead of begging Kenyatta for power, Jaramogi demanded it, arguing it was his right to inherit the presidency. Instead of asking Kenyatta to give him power, he fought to get it. This antagonised them, leading to Jaramogi’s resignation.
Kenyatta didn’t keep him long enough to be in a position to take over as he did for Moi.
By detaining and removing Jaramogi from Kabu and government leadership, Kenyatta made it impossible for him to succeed him.
Today, Jaramogi’s son, Raila Odinga, is following the same route his father used but hoping for a better outcome than his father. But will President Uhuru Kenyatta treat Raila better than Kenyatta treated Jaramogi? We are waiting to see.
The other route Ruto could take to presidency is to consider power as a right to fight for, win or lose, not as a privilege the President may give or deny. But if you take this route, you must also fight for the right to contest elections fairly, win or lose. Without fair elections for Ruto or any other Kenyan, the right to power is a mirage out of question. Mwai Kibaki followed this route and succeeded to become the Third President of Kenya.
Which route will Ruto follow?
Kibaki route is least combative but safest and most successful.