Ruto’s war on rich Kikuyus could backfire very badly in 2022

11 mins read

As a man born to a peasant family with nothing much in terms of wealth I have little credibility talking about super-rich people. I have no clue how they live their lives. I am sure it is wonderful all the time but that is another story.

Yesterday Ruto was in Vihiga dancing with Ababu Namwamba who now behaves like a teenage African American boy in Chicago and the topic of discussion wasn’t so much what they are going to do to help development in Kenya or even in Vihiga where they were but about the rich Kikuyus.

Ruto once again was furious with them:

This is the story in the Star.

Deputy President William Ruto said plans were being hatched by some individuals ‘who think they can control Kenyans’ to reintroduce the imperial presidency.

“Some few rich people, out of arrogance think that they can sit in a certain hotel in Nairobi and appoint their puppet president to run the affairs of our nation and protect their interests and wealth,” Ruto said.

“The reality is that voters want a servant president who will listen to them and solve their problems, unlike a puppet one who will worship and bow down to his masters.”

The war on rich Kikuyu tycoons could have been a fair response from Ruto when Raila Odinga received their support for the presidency but he should have said a few things and left it there.

Those people are not enemies of Kenya and most Kenyans have no problems with them.

But Ruto harping on this every day and telling Kenyans that some terrible rich Kikuyus want to buy a puppet to protect their wealth is in bad taste and he is going to feel the heat from that attitude even if it is out of his desperation and lack of any meaningful agenda for the country.

Read: Ruto and UDA always win before they lose everything. That is a bad DNA

Let’s just look at James Mwangi who runs the Equity Bank which is part of that pro-Raila team. What harm has James Mwangi and Equity Bank done to Kenyans?

Dr. James Mwangi - Concordia

James Mwangi’s father was killed during the Mau Mau war for national liberation. He was brought up by his mother. Today James Mwangi and his Equity Bank team has built one of the biggest and most powerful financial institutions anywhere in the world.

Equity Bank employs several thousand people and the Equity Bank Branches are everywhere in Kenya and now expanding in the East African region.

Equity Bank was the first financial institution to build their branches everywhere in every community in Kenya and they don’t just build little kiosks like bank branches. They have built real banks everywhere.

When Kenya set up a special loan for women sometime back it was Equity Bank and I believe the Cooperative Bank that agreed to offer loans to women. I know that because one of my sisters was one of the beneficiaries of that plan and she built herself two restaurants to support her family.

So what sin has Equity Bank or its leaders committed against Kenyans? None. Kenyans love them.

But Ruto is saying these are rich Kikuyus supporting Raila and therefore they are bad people.

This is the same Ruto who surrounds himself with every thief and crook in Kenya many of whom have cases pending in court. Ruto himself has two cases of land theft pending in court one in Nairobi and the other one in Eldoret.

But Ruto’s frightening philosophy seems to be that if you rob Kenyans, grab their land and their money and become super-rich you are a model for progress and development in Kenya.

But if you work hard like James Mwangi and build a valuable industry and service to Kenyans and then support Raila’s presidential bid then you are evil. In other words, the only good rich Kikuyus are the ones who support Ruto, the others are very bad. That kind of reasoning can backfire bigly.

If Ruto wants the support of Kikuyu voters which all the candidates do then stop insulting their business leaders. You are insulting them when you do that.

At some point, that line argument and attack is going to piss off a lot of Kikuyus because you are endlessly attacking people whom they respect and have no fights with.

The other reality which could make this bad news for Ruto is that we live in a world today where a bunch of cowards sit in the dirty toilets and release a torrent of Twitter insults which is their full-time work and to them, Ruto is being fought by the Kikuyu Mafia.

Who the heck are the Kikuyu Mafia? The Twitter warriors would not explain that because they specialize in insults and that is all they are engaged in.

That kind of stuff filters through to the public and people resent that kind of collective abuse of any community.

And then of course Ruto has the nightmare of trying to find something to say in his ten rallies a day and there is very little for him. So he needs to find some juicy whining points and that is going to exhaust people much sooner than later and we still have eight months to the election.

There is one more thing we have to deal with in our politics today as we approach the 2022 General Elections.

The Kenyan public is very calm. There are zero tribal tensions in the country. In Nairobi for example nobody cares if you are a Luo, a Kikuyu, a Luhya, or a Kalenjin.

The communities are settled and very peaceful. We have to keep it that way during the elections.

Contrary to the calm and peacefulness of the Kenyan public, our politicians are absolutely angry with each other. UDA campaigns are all about whining and insults are thrown at everybody. The country can live with that.

The dangerous thing is the politicians attacking each other physically.

We saw on the first day of the debate on the Political Parties Act 2021. One M.P tried to eat the whole hand of his colleague from the other side. He didn’t get the whole hand but he escaped with one finger.

Then the fingerless M.P tried to take out the whole eyesight of his attacker. He got one eye badly injured.

That is the kind of behavior that will cause problems in the country.

Then yesterday an M.P was videotaped attacking a female worker in parliament after that M.P’s side lost the vote on the floor of the parliament.

Why are these people so angry?

Read: Purity Ngirici dumps UDA, says it is okay to vote Raila

We don’t know but one thing is for sure.

The next election is a huge gamble for the politicians. For one thing, there are many of them facing criminal and theft charges and they are scared that if their side loses they are in jail or heading to Uganda as exiles.

I was an exile in Tanzania from 1987 to 1989 before being taken to Canada by the UNHCR.

I know what life in exile means. But for me, it was a different story because I did not leave Kshs 100 billion worth of stolen property in Kenya. I was fine.

I just wanted to keep living and when the Canadians asked me if I have any diseases before they could let me go there I told them I have ulcers which I got in Kenyan prisons but it was not going to kill me soon.

I told them maybe I have 20 or so years to live. Then they said no, they were going to check everything before we let me go to Canada.

So going into exile for students like me was nothing. For the super-rich, it could be very tough.

So these politicians need to talk and agree that they will work things out and there is no need for panic.

If they start throwing blows at each other in the counting halls in August 2022, the public will join that war against their better judgment.

Once that starts nobody can control it. You make sure it never starts. That is the formula.

Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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