Away from the hate and condemnation, we as students of strategy can place William Samoei Ruto on a study table and dispassionately examine him as a competitor.
People who study strategy, like myself, know that victory does not come by chance. We also know that discerning men grow from losses and are not diminished by them.
Winners must be able to clinically examine every loss to secure future victories and stave off losses.
World-class boxers carefully study the footage of their bouts and those of their opponents, taking an inventory of their style, attitude, efficiencies, weaknesses, and how they match up before they square up against them. A winning strategy usually comprises smothering the abilities of an opponent, neutralizing their strengths, and inflicting damage.
Often, what you see as a victory today is backed by what James Clear called Atomic Habits that go way back.
I spoke about the lion last week and said that a good Lion tamer understands that Lions have predatory instincts, sharp teeth, and claws.
An incompetent lion tamer complains about being bitten by the lion on the job, while a competent one handles the lion with mastery and remains unharmed.
Did Azimio have a strategy for containing WSR’s strengths and neutralizing his ability to play dirty in his strongholds? Or did they think WSR would compete like a boy scout?
Is it acceptable to enter a contest before fully understanding your opponent’s tactics and having countermeasures for all of them?
More to the point, what can we learn from WSR?
YOU HAVE TO RULE THE DARKNESS IF YOU WANT TO RULE IN THE LIGHT
WSR was up early before sunrise, and by 6 AM he was at the polling station, standing in the line, looking as grave as a guest before his host, ready to vote.
This is a man who wakes up early when it is dark to plan how he will kick ass during the day while others are nursing hangovers and sucking away the last dregs of sleep from their systems.
WSR understands the importance of early morning habits when people are sleeping. By the time RAO was making his way to the polling center at 10 AM, WSR had dispatched choppers to oversee how things were on the ground.
If you want to sleep the whole night, achieving victory over someone who starts to toil while it is still dark will be a tall order.
I am telling you.
The first Muslim prayer called Fajr is done at 4 AM, way before sunrise. These are serious people, and the guys who developed that timetable understood why you have to start communing with your maker at that hour.
The lesson here is that if you want to operate at a higher frequency, you have to learn to open your portals when it is early. Only then are your faculties operating at full throttle.
HE DEPLOYED HIS FULL FORCE
He used his money to full effect. He released choppers for Moses Kuria to monitor the voting in Central Kenya and to confirm that whatever ploys they had planned were in force.
He also had a team handling Rift valley.
He understood that people prioritize their stomachs and he took care of their stomachs.
They had agents in almost all polling stations. Azimio lacked agents in dozens of polling stations and half-assed their way into this battle with deleterious effects. He made sure he took care of not only his agents and politicians but also the officials.
Even now, I hear the bald man has left the country.
WSR guy deployed his resources to control the horizontal and the vertical.
What about the Supreme Court Judges? Do you think he is sitting and leaving them to their own devices?
Does he look like a gambling man who leaves things to chance?
You have to hit your enemy with tremendous force if you want to win.
HE REMAINED ALERT THROUGHOUT
He didn’t relax or go to sleep. He knew he had no backing from the bogeyman called deep state or the executive president. He knew nobody was coming to save him.
He rolled his sleeves, communed with his soul, and walked into a battlefield filled with formidable enemies.
Azimio and their “friends” were complacent from the opinion polls and having the state machinery at their disposal. They even risked having polling stations in central without Azimio agents and ended up having ballot boxes stuffed and numbers inflated. Heck, we even have seen cases where RAOs votes were suppressed in his strongholds.
Unlike his opponents, he doesn’t drink or numb himself with foolishness. He is stone-cold sober 24/7, his eyes are always darting around, observing the state of play and reading the crowd while others are dozing off in rallies.
You give him older opponents surrounded by jesters who regularly imbibe alcohol and he fks them up proper.
The lesson here is if you want to win, you must be hungry.
You snooze, you lose.
HE WAS RUTHLESS AND LEFT NOTHING TO CHANCE
As much as people condemn him, he ensured he took the church to bed. Our churches are useless when it comes to moral rectitude and are no different from the thieving politicians.
But even if you put that aside, Ecclesiastes 7:16 says we shouldn’t be too righteous so the Church itself allows room for being cunning and venal.
The Churches will always come up with contrived scriptural interpretations to justify taking stolen money from politicians and I won’t get into them here.
At any rate, WSR knows Kenyans are namby-pamby when it comes to moral principles, and he knows that Kenyans respect their men of the cloth, corrupt as they are.
He gave generously to the Church, knelt piously like an altar boy, quoted dubious Bible verses, wept on altars, and painted himself as a victim being persecuted by the state.
Thurakus bought his narrative and turned up to vote for him thinking they were punishing their billionaire president and also setting themselves up for a bright future.
They were foolish as they were in 2017 and they will soon reap where they have sown. But does he care?
A win is a win. Where is Chebukati?
HE IS STRATEGIC AND WILLING TO DO ANYTHING TO WIN
He understood that Mt Kenya has a huge number of poor, frustrated, easily excitable, and marginalized populations.
He galvanized the Mount Kenya base with hustler narrative and villainized RAO and the Prezzo as a dynasty.
As they beat drums and danced in the swirling dust, he sold them a dream of the bottoms-up economy which the illiterate nduthi guys and roadside sellers in central swallowed hook, line, and sinker even though its mechanism remained obscure to them.
He distanced himself from his boss and even though he was enjoying state resources, still managed to paint himself as a victim of the state to the masses.
He didn’t have qualms about whether this was moral or not or the long-term consequences of his ideologies.
He also ensured that he capitalized on his strongholds to inflate numbers and voter turnouts to favor him.
Winning was everything and especially winning big in places where he was strong. In Nyanza, the governors were not bothered with the presidential results once they were sorted. IEBC staff did the rest for WSR.
He also had Rigathe whose experience from the Nyayo government was critical in mobilizing people at the grassroots level.
As the wise fathers said, a wolf at the top of the hill is not as hungry as a wolf climbing to the top.
Hate him or love him, the guy has a backbone.
He stormed through the gates, intent on taking what the “dynasties ” had reserved for themselves. They glared at him, scowled at his sheer nerve, and dismissed him as an unworthy upstart who lacked the requisite pedigree for such a role. But he was not to be denied.
He shrugged off their disdain and faced off against opponents with wider reach, pedigree, deeper roots in aristocracy, international networks, and state resources, including the bogey man “deep state.”
He was occupying a weaker position but didn’t falter or waver. Rather than supplicate to them and negotiate an easy compromise with the powerful overlords, he girded his loins and strengthened his resolve.
Where many would be pissing in their pants, he forged a strategy against them, used everything he had, including deploying hook and crook, and “won.”
He has nuts of granite. You got to give it to him.
To win, you must be brave and ready to fight to the death.
CONNECTION WITH THE MASSES
WSR will never have as much charisma ad RAO. But what he lacks in charisma, he makes up for with good oratory powers. Where RAO is a masterful storyteller, WSR packages its messages in punchlines and rhetorical questions that keep the audience engaged.
Ama namna gani my friends?
This false camaraderie with struggling populations and his fabricated rags to riches story has endeared him to the downtrodden.
I am an Azimio supporter, but I bow my head in shame as I admit that I didn’t know the Azimio party symbol.
WSR even climbed a wheelbarrow and rode in it laughing happily!
He speaks clearly and knows how to ridicule his opponents without appearing mean, and for this, he won hearts.
Every noise and condemnation directed at him is a transitory thing after which the grim silence of facts remains: he outplayed his opponents.
Don’t Lose, guys, learn.