Until March 9, 2018, Deputy President William Ruto was all set to ascend to the presidency. Then the Handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga happened. It scuttled all the plans. What occurred subsequently changed the game plan.
And now Dr Ruto has to fight not just to keep his presidential hopes alive but also to stay on as the DP. He has increasingly become belligerent and thrown caution to the wind. His statements and body language show a man with urgency. He brooks no nonsense and ready to payback in kind — brickbats and broadsides in equal measure.
Last weekend, he launched a blistering attack on top officials in government and what he called “the system”, accusing them of plotting to kill him to block his quest for the presidency. Over time, he has assembled and fashioned a team of loyalists with equally blithering tongues.
All indications are that things are not well for him. On Wednesday, a group of MPs from across the political divide tore into him at a press conference and categorically demanded his resignation for disobeying President Kenyatta.
Already plans are afoot to impeach him on the grounds that he has showed open rebellion to the President and therefore his loyalty is under question.
Impeaching him, however, is a tall order. Proponents of that vote will have to marshal two-thirds of the MPs in the National Assembly and an equal number in the Senate. Dr Ruto has a strong hold in Parliament.
Not only does he have a strong following among Jubilee MPs but he has also penetrated and raided other parties and took away a sizeable chunk of their MPs. This is demonstrated every other day when his supporters hold press conferences, where he mobilises tens of MPs across the political spectrum to demonstrate support for him.
Despite the obstacles and frustrations, Dr Ruto still has a wide chance to become the fifth President of Kenya. He has a clear head start and for good measure: he has built his support base through sheer hard work, shrewd maneuvering and brinkmanship.
To his credit, Dr Ruto is energetic, pragmatic, decisive and courageous. He fights his battles and ready to confront any challenger. He easily compares with former President Daniel arap Moi and Mr Odinga in terms of political scheming, courage of conviction and precision of execution of political designs.