Plus voters carefully note such things. They don’t want to put a hot-tempered person in State House.
“Mr President, be a decent human being…Show gratitude…We are the ones who supported you…”
He then went on to ask the President not to threaten him. Then there was the weird “plea” asking the President to do anything else “…as long as you don’t kill my children.
“But are they under threat? Sure, Uhuru has his shortcomings, but everybody knows from their gut feeling that he’s no killer.
Indeed, the attempts to paint him as one didn’t wash with the public.
Already, there had been ongoing political conversations about the Deputy President’s temperament.
The Kapsabet rant confirmed those concerns were not entirely idle. Even to people who are politically neutral, Ruto this time had gone too far.
It was a picture of pure hubris as he stood on the rooftop of his car, his head and body leaning back in a pose of defiance, with one arm outstretched pointing at the rolling TV cameras.
He knew very well his intended audience in Nairobi would closely watch the scene.
Tough political warrior
Of course, the theatre staged at Kapsabet was first and foremost meant to display Ruto to his community’s fan base as a tough political warrior who can’t be intimidated.
However, there were some unsettling issues. Were these the right vibes to disseminate during a volatile election season?
After all, isn’t this a region with a bad history of politically instigated ethnic violence, from 1992 to 1997 to the worst ever episode in 2007?
Was this meant to be a coded warning to the government, or to who?
With plenty of voters reacting negatively to Ruto’s meltdown, it was time to change the subject.
What better way than to bring up the issue of government harassment? Whenever a Kenyan politician is under pressure, you can bet this is one topic he’ll bring up.
Sure enough, Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro was soon insinuating that Uhuru was plotting to harm him together with his Kikuyu counterpart Kimani Ichung’wa.
The two are very close allies of the DP. Another Ruto ally, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, took to social media to claim that his life, too, was being threatened by Uhuru.
Could there be anything to this coordinated whining other than the usual attention-seeking?
Remember the affliction Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i once described as “sympathy addiction”?
However, it was Ruto’s unruly running mate, Rigathi Gachagua, who clearly went beyond the pale.
Launching a raw attack against Uhuru in Nyeri, he crossed the line of what is permissible and what is not.
“I picked him from the bar, then moulded him into presidential material,” he remarked, referring to the period between 2002 and 2006 he says he worked as Uhuru’s personal assistant.
Whether Gachagua was instrumental in advancing Uhuru’s political career is open to question.
Nonetheless, many Mt Kenyans took his remarks to be grossly unseemly.
At the same time, he told Uhuru “not to kill us the way your father killed J.M. Kariuki”. Is this the same Uhuru who Gachagua claims he willingly worked for as PA?
What could be nagging Ruto and his camp? It could be a number of things.
The belated stepping out of Uhuru to overtly campaign for Raila in the final days to the election has evidently knocked them sideways.
And despite the DP’s non-stop four-year campaigning across the country, he is witnessing a surging Raila whose campaign started late but who has already overtaken him in opinion poll ratings.
The trigger for the latest attacks against Uhuru that started last week seems to have been two meetings the President hosted separately: one in Nakuru State House for a group of anti-Ruto luminaries from Rift Valley – led by former Cabinet minister Franklin Bett – and another with a delegation from Central Kenya held at the President’s private Gicheha farm.
I’m not sure from which meeting Ruto’s team allegedly got to hear that the President had vowed that Ichung’wa, Nyoro and Kuria “will know I am President” prior to voting day.
It’s quite possible Ruto’s people had persons inside the meetings who gave them a blow-by-blow account of what transpired.
Where I have my doubts is with their interpretation. The part they have been hyping most is where Uhuru supposedly remarked that Ruto and his supporters “will know I am President.”
However, any commonsensical interpretation is not that Uhuru is going to unleash assassination squads.
It must obviously be in reference to the last gasp get-out-the-vote-for-Raila campaign the President has led across the country. That, of course, annoys the Ruto brigade nearly as much.
Switch off Kenya Power
Lately, Ruto has upped his attacks against the government on several fronts.
First, he alleges that chiefs are being used to suppress voter turnout in his strongholds.
Then he claims the authorities want to influence the Communications Authority of Kenya and also to switch off Kenya Power on election day.
On Thursday, the DP sensationally claimed that the President was orchestrating “night meetings” after which leaflets and pamphlets were being distributed to sow conflict among communities ahead of the elections.
He provided no evidence. “These people are inoculated against speaking the truth,” was all Matiang’i could say of Ruto and his running mate Gachagua when the media sought clarifications.
Pray, doesn’t Uhuru have the right to campaign for whomever he wants?
Despite the ill-tempered campaigns which were heavily overlaid with ‘kitendawili’-‘mganga’-‘mwizi’ insults, it has all now officially ended.
Vote peacefully on Tuesday, wait for the results, and continue keeping the peace.