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Impeachment scare for Ruto in Kindiki ouster

Saturday May 23 2020

Deputy President William Ruto.

Deputy President William Ruto. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

OTIENO OTIENO
By OTIENO OTIENO
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The impeachment of Tharaka-Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki as deputy speaker on Friday didn’t come as a surprise to him.

Prof Kindiki couldn’t have put it better himself, stating in his solemn speech before the guillotine that “the die is cast”.

The majority of the hangmen-cum-priests, while generously flattering in the performance of their last rites, had made it clear that they would not show him any mercy.

Only last week, he had watched Kipchumba Murkomen and Susan Kihika, the other high-ranking members of their rebel camp, put to the sword.

In January, Ferdinand Waititu, then-Kiambu governor, was also brought in and finished, just like that.

The big question many people watching the ongoing purge targeting Deputy President William Ruto’s loyalists in the ruling Jubilee Party will be asking is: who’s next?

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Prof Kindiki, Mr Murkomen, Ms Kihika and Mr Waititu are widely believed to have taken the bullet for the deputy president.

An MP affiliated to the ruling party claimed this week that a colleague was already preparing an impeachment motion against Dr Ruto.

The deputy president and some of his allies have in the past alluded to an impeachment plot, but dismissed any chances of it succeeding.

NO NUMBERS

But after watching Prof Kindiki go down so easily on Friday, they are unlikely to be so confident about Dr Ruto’s job security any more.

They are suddenly discovering that they just don’t have the numbers in the Senate to save anyone.

Back in January, they at least put up some fight in efforts to save Mr Waititu, forcing a second round of voting.

But in the hour of reckoning, the Ruto camp could only deliver 11 votes out of the available 67 for the former governor.

The number had fallen to just seven senators voting to save Prof Kindiki on Friday.

Of course, Dr Ruto’s impeachment wouldn’t be as easy as the former Senate deputy speaker’s given that the motion would have to be introduced and debated in the National Assembly first.

But his numbers in the National Assembly are beginning to look dodgy as well.

With MPs who formerly swore by the deputy president’s name in public willing to renegotiate their loyalties at the first sight of danger, that other House isn’t fortress Ruto either.

REVELATION

Threatened with de-whipping from House committees or withdrawal of nominations by the party, the legislators are sending out a message to Dr Ruto: “Bwana Deputy President, we love you, but we love our jobs more.”

The rate at which loyalty for Number Two is melting away is simply astounding.

In April, when the latest round of Jubilee fights broke out, 146 members of both Houses signed a Ruto-backed petition challenging controversial changes to the party’s national management committee.

A month later, he could only count on seven senators to try to save a man touted as his running mate in the 2022 elections.

That has to be very scary for the deputy president.

[email protected] @otienootieno

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