Inside Museveni-Ruto friendship

Saturday August 07 2021
Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto

Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto. PHOTO | FILE | NMG


Ugandans have not forgotten the 2007-08 post-election violence in Kenya. Ugandan truck drivers have told and retold many harrowing tales of what they went through during that trying period.

To Ugandans, Raila Odinga’s followers declared war against them by blocking essential goods.

Mr Odinga has been in Uganda a number of times and courted some politicians but he has not been welcomed by the National Resistance Movement establishment as it has done to Deputy President William Ruto. To President Museveni circle, Mr Odinga is bad for business. But they consider Dr Ruto an astute businessman they can deal with. Some commentators say that aside from seeking investment opportunities in Uganda, Dr Ruto is courting President Museveni for support in the post-election period in 2022 and beyond.

While Dr Ruto’s allies have said they are seeking to learn the political game plan from President Museveni’s NRM, political commentators say Dr Ruto needs the NRM political machinery as he prepares for a showdown with Mr Odinga who, with the support of President Uhuru Kenyatta, is crafting a political juggernaut to rout him out.

But that has not helped Dr Ruto’s image, as the NRM machinery has been accused of vote rigging by opposition politicians, a claim the party denies.

With this backlash, NRM director of communications Emmanuel Dombo told The EastAfrican that NRM kingpins would play no role in Dr Ruto’s quest for power. But he said it would not be a surprise that DP Ruto would occasionally visit Uganda and meet with Museveni because they have cultivated a tight friendship. “Ruto is a very good friend of President Museveni, Uganda and the NRM as a party. That is why he came and campaigned for our presidential candidate one time. This is the brotherhood of the African people,” Mr Dombo said. “The two have built a reputation and given the role that Museveni has played in Uganda and the East African region, he is someone regional political leaders always consult.”