If this is true, then Kenyan politician William Samoei arap Ruto is a deficient man. I say this with a grave countenance. I also say it with respectful conviction, to mean it. Nothing I do can affect Mr Ruto’s lifestyle in any way, because, never having met him, our worlds have little in common, except citizenship of Kenya. For that reason, I have nothing for or against him.
Which, in effect, allows me the right to claim the semblance of neutrality that avails itself to a distant observer.
I understand that Mr Ruto’s name has the tendency of springing up in the least decorous of places. I do not possess any evidence of corruption about Mr Ruto, yet am getting reflexive to the association, due to relentless and obviously extra-coincidental proclivity for scandal to tail Samoei.
It might all be a fabrication, but this Ruto seems magnetic to huge swindles. He was at the heart of the Youth for Kanu ’92 gravy-train that nearly bankrupted Kenya. No one denies the stultifying pace at which these Kanu worker ants gained wealth and prominence. It was as if the national tax kettle was tilted to fill their cups and run over.
Ruto, thus, started at the feet of senior former Kenyan plutocrat, sorry, I mean politician, the Retired President Daniel Kapkoros Toroitich arap Moi. In little over a decade, Ruto was succeeding Moi as Rift Valley kingpin. The elder politician has his views of Mr Ruto that are not publicly shared or celebrated.
But Mr Ruro is not one to sit and watch the sulking. He believes in saying and doing things – their justice notwithstanding. He is a goal-oriented man, and does not mind littering his wake with skeletons and stench as long as he advances to his desired destinations.
One such trail is the bloody 2007-8 elections cycle that got him into the clutches of the International Criminal Court. No, he is not a lawyer representing some victims, but the main suspect in a case of ethnic subjugation – murder, persecution, forcible eviction and other grievous crimes against humanity.
Yet, he deftly builds on the ashes of his former fires. Just that infamous elections pogrom and its outcomes have parachuted him and his co-accused to the apex of power. For Mr Ruto, every cloud has a silver lining, indeed. He is a principal in a union of extra-legal convenience.
Along the way, we have heard of private citizens dispossessed of their land and schools denied access to their playgrounds. All that sounds like mosquito whines to an elephant.
But THIS! That Mr Ruto has miraculously raised One Billion, Two Hundred Million shillings to build a palace in his Rift Valley home turf, is no longer funny.
For a moment, assume that Mr Ruto legally and privately earned this amount. He must be a shrewd businessman indeed. Yet, shrewd business people across this beautiful, throbbing nation know that one would not spend the equivalent of $11 million, to build a home in a place where the house is unlikely to create much long-term cash inflows.
It is not a real-estate investment for sale or lease, but a home with bills and maintenance costs. That is not a shrewd business decision, unless your net-worth is in at least five times larger than this cost.
For Mr Ruto, we know it clearly is not, based on the classified information he offered in good faith to the public authorities when seeking public office.
On the other extreme, assume that Mr Ruto has not earned this money. Publically, we all know his salary, and his filings based on the Public Officer Ethics Act do not suggest an exponential change in fortune over the past decade.
So, consider for argument’s sake, that Mr Ruto has dipped his hand into the national cookie jar and helped himself to choice takings. Then, this is ill-gotten wealth, which is illegal. I would somehow imagine that he stole in the heat of the moment – because he found himself with unguarded money.
Yet, if he used that loot to build a palace instead of investing it in such a manner as to secure his future, and save his children from having to steal again if they get the opportunity that their father met, then he is doubly deficient.
Either way, it is a reasonable conclusion that Mr Ruto has a fatal flaw. He makes money but does not meaningfully re-invest it in his businesses, or is reckless in not securing his household from want, even upon income from mischief, exposing all Kenyans to the likelihood that his progeny will have to use the same means just to maintain itself in a very expensive doodad.
Pursuing both positions to their logical conclusion, Mr Ruto is not a very clever man. He is merely an atavistic ‘dung-beetle’ inspired accumulator.