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Why Ruto is in dilemma over Mau evictions

Emmanuel Allieu

Sept. 07, 2019

The looming eviction of families living in the Mau Forest Complex is turning out to be a thorn in the flesh for Deputy President William Ruto.
The DP is torn between supporting the government’s conservation efforts and appeasing his supporters as he moves to firm up his 2022 presidential bid.
His main dilemma is whether to publicly throw his weight behind the conservation measures, undertaken by the government which he serves, or sacrifice it at the altar of political expediency.
The evictions are a litmus test for the DP, who has been on the record terming himself as President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ‘mtu wa mkono’ (principal assistant) and the coordinator of government projects and programmes.
The conservation of the country’s largest water catchment area has been thorny,  politically. It has condemned many politicians – both from and outside the expansive Rift Valley region – to oblivion and given others lifeline.
In fact, political observers believe that it was the Mau factor that handed Uhuru and Ruto victory in the 2013 General Elections.
The duo capitaliSed on the evictions, spearheaded by the then Office of the Prime Minister headed by Raila Odinga, to beat him in the polls.
UhuRuto launched massive campaigns, portraying Odinga as a cruel person who was insensitive to the plight of the squatters. Ruto, particularly attacked Raila for betraying the people of THE Rift Valley, who overwhelmingly voted for him in the  2007 General Election.
“Ruto is in a serious dilemma. The Mau evictions are emotive and will remain so. How he will handle the current situation will determine whether he becomes the country’s fifth president or not,” University don Herman Manyora said.
Ruto, who has already declared his interest in the country’s top seat, is thus treading on murky grounds. How he handles the evictions will impact heavily on his chances of succeeding President Kenyatta.
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