William Ruto: A Perceived Tyrant Emerges in Kenya’s Political Landscape
In recent years, Kenya has witnessed the rise of William Ruto, a charismatic and controversial figure in the country’s political scene. Presented as a devout and God-fearing leader during his 2018 presidential campaign, Ruto sought to embody the aspirations of the people. However, as events unfolded, a darker side of his character emerged, leading many to draw parallels between his actions and the characteristics of a deadly tyrant. This article examines some concerning aspects of Ruto’s leadership, the alleged use of violence and oppression against dissenters, and the impact of his policies on Kenyan society.
The “God-Fearing” Facade
During his campaign, William Ruto portrayed himself as a God-fearing leader, seeking the support and endorsements of church leaders across the country. Each Sunday, he appeared in different churches, positioning himself as the anointed one destined to lead Kenya to prosperity. However, as events have shown, the true nature of his leadership appears to deviate significantly from the pious image he initially projected.
Allegations of Violence and Suppression
Ruto’s campaign rallies were not without controversy, as reports of threats and violence against those who dared to voice dissent emerged. One tragic incident in Vihiga County highlights the disturbing consequences of expressing opposition to the then Deputy President. A young man allegedly lost his life after shouting criticisms at Ruto during a rally, raising serious concerns about the safety of those who question his authority.
Central to Ruto’s campaign platform were promises to address pressing issues, such as ending extrajudicial killings and refraining from using the police for political purposes. However, the reality has been a stark contrast to these pledges. The recent Azimio protests, sparked by public dissatisfaction with the high cost of living and heavy taxes, have resulted in a disproportionate and violent response from the authorities.
Amnesty International has documented alarming reports of police killings and injuries, attributing nearly 30 deaths to the actions of law enforcement during the protests. In addition, a newly established outfit known as the “Operation Support Unit” seems designed to silence any opposition to the ruling regime, raising concerns about the erosion of democratic freedoms and human rights in the country.
Proposed Tax Increases and Economic Burden
As Kenya grapples with economic challenges, Ruto’s response to the ongoing protests has been equally concerning. Rather than addressing the legitimate concerns of Kenyans, he has hinted at increasing taxes further if the courts obstruct the implementation of the Finance Act. This stance echoes a troubling sentiment found in 1 Kings 12:11, where a leader promises to intensify the burdens on the people, rather than alleviating their struggles.
The emergence of William Ruto as a prominent political figure in Kenya has been marked by controversy and concern. His ability to present a facade of piety and devotion to gain popular support, only to exhibit signs of autocratic tendencies, raises red flags for the future of Kenyan democracy and human rights.
The reported incidents of violence and suppression against dissenters, broken promises regarding police conduct and extrajudicial killings, and the proposal to increase taxes amid economic hardships underscore the need for a vigilant and engaged citizenry. It is essential for Kenyans to critically evaluate the actions and policies of their leaders and hold them accountable to the principles of democracy and social justice upon which their nation was built. Only through a collective commitment to transparency, accountability, and respect for human rights can Kenya ensure a brighter and more equitable future for all its citizens.