Hypocrisy and duplicity are synonymous with politics and politicians. So is deceit, machinations, and sometimes outright conmanship as we saw with the one-term, twice impeached and failed former US President Donald Trump.
It is thus always a matter of degree with most politicians taking these maneuvers all the way to the extreme. Only a small number operate at tolerable or understandable levels.
The worst of the former is the conniving ones who cleverly craft and pursue strategies to have them on both sides of the debate.
Republicans provide a good example to understand this phenomenon because, in the case of US Senate Republicans, many of them condemned Trump for his incitement of insurrection but refused to convict him on the same charge for which he was impeached.
In Kenya, Deputy President William Ruto has been on both sides of many issues and thus far getting away with it.
For example, when his minions were busy badmouthing and calling President Uhuru Kenyatta names, especially in Central since 2018 — certainly at his instigation — the DP was equally busy praising him, saying they were committed to working together to deliver for the people.
Nothing could have been further from the truth. The DP has been undermining and in many cases outrightly insubordinate even as he keeps saying all these positive things about the President — until recently when the gloves were undoubtedly off.
On BBI, Ruto has classically been trying to eat the cake and have it.
While he has been busy peddling the false narrative that BBI is about power-sharing between Raila and Uhuru’s preferred leaders, the DP has fully ignored to speak to what the initiative is truly about — fixing flaws in the 2010 Constitution.
At the same time, he has not outrightly come out and said he supports or opposes the initiative. By constantly trashing it as he does, he hopes to keep his blind followers animated in the opposition, while waiting to jump on the BBI train when it passes.
That strategy would have been brilliant had BBI failed the first hurdle at the counties.
Indeed, at the rate BBI is being passed at the counties, one wonders why we even need a referendum because by the time they all vote, BBI would have been approved by all save for those pro-Ruto, which are a handful.
But a referendum we shall have and the question is, will Ruto openly support or oppose it? While he has been successful in having it both ways, that will no longer be the case. He will have to take a position and live or die with it.
In 2005 and 2010, he opposed the referendums and was on the losing side in the latter. If he opposes it in 2021, he will be on the losing side for the second time. So look for him to not oppose, which will reshuffle the political deck.
Ruto’s refusal to resign, despite being humiliated and pressured to do so, speaks to his having made this calculation: He is better off staying with the humiliation and lives to fight a new war after BBI is passed.
The DP can do this because the President cannot fire him and impeaching him is no easy walk in the park. This begs the question; what lies ahead for Ruto?
There are only three options: Arrest and charge him with the alleged crimes against him; make his life as DP more humiliating and miserable and cripple his ability to hold the rallies he has been holding across the country