Between Raila and Ruto, Who is On Purpose?

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October 1, 2021

Between Raila and Ruto, Who is On Purpose?

I have talked to people on the subject of purpose for years on end. There is one school of thought that purpose is not that a huge thing to bother about. In fact, I had a raging debate for hours on social media when one of my friends posted the following from a supposed “influencer”:

“Unpopular opinion: I don’t think your life has to have purpose, or you and a grand ambition; I think it’s Ok to just wander through life finding interesting things until you die”.

Is Purpose Important?

What’s your take on that statement if you are a Raila or Ruto supporter? Let me make it easy for you if you are a Raila supporter:

“Unpopular opinion: I don’t think Raila as our president must have purpose, nor should he have a grand ambition; I think it’s OK for him to just make do through his presidency finding interesting things to do for the country until his term expires”.

If you were a Ruto supporter, what would be your take on the above post? I am 2000% sure that you will use it as ammunition against Raila’s bid for presidency. You would say that Kenya needs a better leader than that, one with purpose, focus and an idea of what they are doing.

As a matter of fact, you might say the following about Ruto:

“Popular opinion: I do think that Ruto is a man of purpose as a president, and he has a great ambition for the country. I think he is best suited because he has an agenda and clear economic building pillars that he will use in his presidency and be gauged by them until he finishes his term”

We all Want Purposeful Leaders

As you can see, I have just used the template of the “no purpose” unpopular opinion aired up there and I have tweaked it to drive my point home. The question that we need to grapple with before we go further is this: Is purpose that important? We have to answer that question before we proceed to find out if either of these two leading candidates is purposeful.

Well, I am neither a Raila nor Ruto supporter but I will be persuaded by one thing—their purpose commensurate to the needs and potential of the country. I am not easily persuaded by such slogans as “BBI” or “Bottoms up” or “Azimio la umoja”. I want to see the purpose pursuit of a presidential candidate before I cast my vote.

People Still Care Less About Purpose

Well, unfortunately like in the responses that we had on the social media page while debating that quote, many people couldn’t care less about purpose. That’s why they will use other yardsticks to elect whoever they want to elect: ethnicity, revenge, tribalism, euphoria and so on. We end up having very many purposeless “leaders”, would you believe it?

So anyway, let me speak for myself. How would I know or at least have any idea of who has any semblance of purpose between the two leading candidates? I will use the following yardsticks to measure and come up with my own conclusion. Even if it might be off, I assure you, the yardstick of purpose is best placed to elect a leader than any other yardstick.

Granted, purpose on its own will not stand alone. It will need to be supported by other yardsticks.

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1. Track record

A leader in the public eye will always have a track record. In fact, if you were to gauge a leader for purpose, you will notice a pattern. You see, purpose is not something that comes like a hiccup. Purpose is like a lifetime pregnancy. The manifestation of purpose pursuit will vary from one season to another but you will see a common thread linking up one single pursuit.

In all those threads, you will see the track record of the leader. In our case, we are talking about a track record at the national level. The question is simple: Who among the two candidates has a proven track record that speaks of this work towards the good of the country? There you go.

After Thought:

A day after I penned this, I was invited to watch “Inside Politics” on KTN by a friend who was a panelist on the show. One member of the panel said this about the track record of the “promises” of these two folks: Before the Kibaki government, Raila promised free primary education. Kenyans did not believe him. It happened. In 2013, Ruto promised free laptops to every class one pupil in Kenya. It hasn’t happened.”

2. Passion

Most leaders are passionate about something, and some about themselves. My search if for a leader that is passionate about the country. When you look at the rhetoric from both camps, there is no shortage of passion, barbs and innuendos. Certainly, you cannot easily fault any of these two leaders when it comes to passion.

Ruto is indomitable and energetic in his push for presidency. It is admirable. I mean, I love the man’s consistency. In fact, one can easily say that Ruto learnt this from Raila. These two candidates are honestly passionate. The question that we need to address is this: Who is passionate enough about Kenya? How will we gauge that passion? The answer is in the first point above: Track record.

3. Clear Vision

“We will put a man on the moon in the next 10 years”, said John F Kennedy. “We will make America great again”, said Donald Trump. “We will be self-sufficient as Africans and develop our own economy devoid of neocolonialism”, said Thomas Sankara. These are just but a few examples.

All the above men (Many will of course debate about Trump but numbers don’t lie) shook the world itself with their resolve and clarity of purpose. When you hear Raila or Ruto speak, can you see any clarity of purpose? At least if you are ‘educated’ as we are today, we should be able to tell the vision of a presidential candidate.

Please don’t tell me to wait for the manifesto. If you cannot tell me your vision today in clear terms, then you have no purpose. Your bid for presidency needs to be paused as a matter of urgency so that you can gain clarity of purpose before you can hit the campaign trail again.

You can never speak of purpose without having clarity of vision. Is azimio la umoja or bottoms up economic model vision enough for the country or are they just soundbites? A vision is a best possible outcome and for this one, allow me to fault candidate Ruto.

Please, stop calling our country a Hustler Nation. I have posed this question on social media but have had no or just funny responses: Who wants to continue being a hustler in the next three years? If you are honest enough, nobody. So that can’t be a good vision for the country. Change it mate.

4. Documentation

I have asked over and over again for the documentation of the agenda of these two presidential candidates. For the most part, especially from the “Bottoms up” camp, I have been told to “wait for the manifesto”. Please.

You mean you want to lead a country and you have no blue print and even fine print for that massive bid? Purpose is always documented in clarity and broken down into the necessary steps, action points and so on that will inform the strategy of achieving the vision. You want to tell me that you are campaigning to be president but there is no documentation in the public domain of your agenda? And you want me to elect you just like that?

When I talk about documentation, I am not talking about campaign secrets. I am talking about the plans you have for the country in as many sectors that you want your purpose for leadership to impact as possible. What does “azimio” have to say about the health sector? Education? Infrastructure? What does the “Bottoms up” economic model say about the transport sector? Agriculture? Fishing? Tourism?

5. Competent team

Lastly, I will gauge your purpose for presidency by looking at a proven team that you are surrounding yourself with. Unfortunately, both candidates are surrounded by a mixture of competent and incompetent, upright and corrupt men and women. The other day Ruto claimed that leadership doesn’t need a degree and I might agree with him to an extent.

The question is simple: Will the purpose that you have be executed to the letter with the team that you are peddling openly? I am watching you and I will know what to do.

This is just me. The rest of you can decide what yardstick you will use to cast your vote on those two leading candidates. It’s an open secret that Reuben Kigame will not be elected president, neither will Raila’s friend, Jimmy Wanjigi. But pray tell me, have you looked at their purpose for presidency closely or you are using other yardsticks to gauge them?

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