"If anyone causes one of these little ones — those who believe in me — to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
Relax, readers, I have not suddenly transmogrified into one of those self-righteous holy-roller preachers forever condemning to hell and eternal damnation anyone who does not bow before me.
I’m simply trying to make sense of the fire and brimstone Deputy President William Ruto wishes rained down on the Kenyan media.
In the latest of his increasingly intemperate Twitter tirades, Mr Ruto took issue with media coverage of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s November 15 Sagana State Lodge meeting with Mt Kenya leaders.
He was particularly unhappy with a Sunday Nation piece on his camp mulling a push for control of the Jubilee Party.
In what has now become his typical ‘Trumpian’ response, the DP fired off an angry tweet, accusing the media of being used to undermine Jubilee.
The full tweet is worth repeating: “Detractors rattled by Jubilee emerging United/strong post-Sagana are, in collabo with usual brown envelope journalists, back to drawing board to continue their never ending scheme to stumble us. The words of Matt.18vs6 await you if you succeed in your ungodly mission. Tunawaombea.”
Most of it was now standard anti-media tirades, but the reference to the Book of Mathew chapter 18 verse six from the Bible-carrying Deputy President was what caught the eye.
Even for one not well-versed in the Holy Book, it needs no further interpretation; it’s really un-Christian wishing ill on perceived foes.
However, even if the DP has a genuine issue with the article, he is really flailing out wildly in the wrong direction.
Instead of shooting the innocent messenger, he should have been turning on his own faithful acolytes and regular mouthpieces.
They were interviewed and affirmed, on record, that the DP’s Tangatanga faction is seriously considering pushing for long-delayed Jubilee elections, confident that they have the numbers to capture the party and more effectively use it is as their vehicle for the 2022 elections.
To do that, they would, of necessity, have to oust President Kenyatta’s handpicked mandarins, who have run the party secretariat since Jubilee was launched ahead of the 2017 elections as a merger of his The National Alliance (TNA) and Mr Ruto’s United Republican Party (URP).
The party’s secretary-general, Raphael Tuju, a Uhuru loyalist, would obviously be one of their key targets.
Mr Ruto has, obviously, been trying to concoct a positive spin following the Sagana meeting, taking it as an affirmation of Jubilee unity and of President Kenyatta’s commitment to the power-sharing and succession deal.
They were also satisfied that the President did not make an unequivocal push in support of Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), merely stating that the recommendations would be subject to discussion and consensus.
Neither did he push for any alliance with Opposition leader Raila Odinga.
But then, everybody else is also trying to spin it their own way. The rival Kieleweke faction saw it as a victory that the President spoke uninterrupted and unchallenged, with the DP’s often garrulous Tangatanga grouping denied an opportunity at the podium.
Even Mr Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) weighed in on the outcome of what was essentially a Jubilee affair limited to President Kenyatta’s Mr Kenya backyard.
A statement released by the Odinga-led party’s chairman, John Mbadi, interpreted Sagana as President Kenyatta’s show of support for BBI and his ‘handshake’ with Mr Odinga.
The fact that different groupings can each spin their own versions and get away with it is, itself, telling.
The point is that there was no ‘Sagana Declaration’. President Kenyatta’s address meandered and beat about the bush with no conclusive diktat on the key contentious issues.
He neither pulled Mt Kenya to support BBI and his dalliance with Mr Odinga nor assuage fears that he is set to renege on the Jubilee presidential succession pact with Mr Ruto.
ACCEPT, MOVE ON
He did not still rebellion in his Mr Kenya backyard, and it remained clear that Mr Ruto’s Tangatanga troops were the most dissatisfied with Sagana.
That explains the anger, especially following closely on the Kibra by-election defeat where, despite a vain attempt at positive spin, the DP came out bitter and unwilling to accept and move on.
The Twitter tirades — seemingly hurried through and posted with typos and clumsy grammar unbecoming of the usually punctilious Deputy President — are indicative of a man feeling the heat.
The Deputy President needs a chill pill.
[email protected] @MachariaGaitho