Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Only the court can save William Ruto

It now appears that only the courts can save the political career of the flamboyant Kenyan politician, William Ruto, hours after being suspended from his ministerial position over a corruption case.

Ruto has told one of his closest friends that he is taking everything in stride, and that he is seeking to maintain huge media coverage even when his fraud cases gets underway. He is seeking to use his network with top journalists to get massive coverage of his activities when in suspension.

Meanwhile, an adviser has asked Prime Minister Raila Odinga to use Ruto's blow to consolidate his ODM party and ensure that he stamps his authority. You may remember the frustrations that Odinga has had with Ruto in recent months. Odinga tried to suspend Ruto earlier this year when he was the agriculture minister in connection with a subsidized maize scam, but President Kibaki blocked the suspension.

It is really difficult to tell how the trial of Ruto over the 2001 fraud cases arising from land sale will go. On one side, the judges have been under massive pressure from politicians to resign or be vetted before being reappointed since the passage of the new constitution, at the same time, it is not clear if indeed Ruto received the 96m shillings from the land sale. Of course, judges opposed the new constitution. Ruto too was against this new basic law.

In the past several months, judges have been quickly disposing of election petition of MPs, most of them (petitions) succeeding.

Judges do not take bribes now anymore and their salaries alone is what keep them going. This case may then largely depend on how the lawyers will articulate this case, and show how politics is linked to the Ngong Forest land purchase involving Ruto.
I have no idea if Ruto received the money, maybe he did, maybe not. Ruto is adding two lawyers to handle his case. Katwa Kigen will continue.

If he is found guilty, his career will probably end, but if he is cleared, then he will wake up to a massive popularity surge.

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