Kenya’s president William Ruto talks a good game about Pan-Africanism but in his short time in office he has become the reliable cover for U.S. imperialism.
Originally published in Africa Interest.
When Kwame Nkrumah wrote in his 1965 book that “THE neo-colonialism of today represents imperialism in its final and perhaps its most dangerous stage,” he clearly foresaw today’s Nigeria and Kenya – states which are in theory, independent and have all the outward trappings of international sovereignty, but in reality, their economic systems and political policies are directed from outside. But he may well have also foreseen the Tinubu and William Ruto’s of 2023, presidents with dubious pasts who are propped up by Europeans and held hostage in service of foreign interests.
But if there was any doubt about the extent of the ‘danger’ Nkrumah was referring to, it is the treachery of Kenya’s Ruto against Africa that is making it abundantly clear. This man is perhaps the biggest political swindle of Africa’s recent history, a neocolonial puppet masquerading as a pan-African to advance imperial interests across Africa. How is that so? One might have asked a year ago, but not today. It is now as clear as day, that Ruto is so deeply wired into the Imperial Western architecture, and is at the forefront of advancing Western interests in Africa.
Ruto, of course, is not the first, and he certainly won’t be the last. But what makes Ruto particularly dangerous, and all the more reason why we must expose the true face behind the various masks and camouflages of his traitorous imposture, is his adept ability to cater to the gallery of pan-African sentiment, causing many to fall for his swindle. If he is not flattering Uganda’s Museveni as the father of the region, he is holding hands with Rwanda’s Kagame and sheepishly smiling in a public show of pan-African camaraderie, or flattering Eritrea’s Isaias Afwerki for his pan-African credentials, or as of late, donning a Kaunda suit to complete his masquerade as a Pan African.
William Ruto Talks Right and walks left
Ruto in Kaunda suits reminds me of Congo’s Mobutu who tried to mask his puppetry behind Pan-Africanism by wearing animal prints and changing Congo’s name to Zaire to emphasize African identity when all the while he was in bed with the US/Belgium as his brain trusts and order-givers. It is the same with William Ruto without the mask – a Western Puppet.
Who else is a man who dons a Kaunda suit during trips to Djibouti or Uganda to project a Pan-African image, then switches to Western-style suits when in New York? What do you call a man who today urges African leaders to ditch the dollar, seemingly supporting a Pan-African single currency, and tomorrow is negotiating deals with IMF and World Bank, the primary enablers of dollar hegemony?
In July, he went to the Pan-African Parliament Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, and spoke passionately about Africa’s shared destiny and the imperative to break free from Western influence, drawing a standing ovation from the audience. But hardly a month later, he was calling for the reinstatement of a Western-backed puppet president in Niger.
On the same occasion, he called out the mistreatment of African leaders by Europeans, demanding that they be respected on the global stage. Then the other day, he went to the UN General Assembly, and cozied up to Zelensky who previously dismissed an African peace mission as a ‘waste of his time’. The same William Ruto is passionately standing with Ukraine against Russia, eloquently emphasizing a rules-based order, but not with Niger, an African country, against French occupation.
During the 5th Mid-Year AU Meeting in July, he eloquently asserted that “The Pan-African movement has always been about sovereignty and agency.” Yet, the other day at the UN General Assembly, he was in closed-door meetings with US leaders to complete plans to dispatch Kenyan soldiers to violate Haiti’s sovereignty and undermine its agency on behalf of the US. On the same AU occasion, he spoke of Pan-African transformation through self-reliance. But, the other day, only a little more than one month later, he offered to outsource Mombasa ports for grain imports from Ukraine instead of encouraging grain production in Kenya.
The same Ruto previously spoke so glowingly of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), only to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU days later, a direct contravention of the AfCFTA agreement, and one might add, a sabotage of it. It is in that same spirit of hypocrisy and sabotage, that he went to the recent UN General Assembly and shamelessly lied that there is a ‘food shortage in East Africa , when all the while, he is blocking excess milk, eggs, bananas, etc., from neighboring Uganda.
Meddling all over Africa
In his talking right and walking left, William Ruto is poking his nose to meddle everywhere in Africa on behalf of the West. But what is most annoying is that he goes speaking, and even appearing to act, on behalf of Africa. Remember in July this year, hardly one year as a president of Kenya, and indeed, with the least experience of any leader in the region, he went northward to Sudan posturing as a peace mediator. Fortunately, the Sudanese saw through his mask and rejected his nonsense.
Last month, he poked his nose into West African affairs, posturing to speak for the AU to undercut the struggle of Nigeriens seeking to break free from French imperialism by calling on the reinstatement of the deposed French puppet as president. “We in the AU,” he said. Who is this “we”? Who appointed him to speak for the rest? How come he was the only African leader from a non-Francophone African country to make such a call?
Yesterday, he poked his nose into the Horn of Africa, posting a picture of the US Secretary of State and himself, and saying “Kenya and the United States of America will work together to foster sustainable peace in the Horn of Africa”. What does he mean? Who invited him? Why would anybody? Is Kenya in the Horn of Africa? This is how ridiculous, how treacherous Ruto has become. What kind of leader postures to that extent?
Ruto is dangerous and if I were, for example, Eritrea’s Afwerki , Uganda’s Museveni, Rwanda’s Kagame, or indeed an African leader whom the West is critical of, I’d be careful when visiting Kenya or even shaking Ruto’s hands! With recent credible reports suggesting that the UK’s MI6 and the US’s CIA are plotting to eliminate African leaders seen as aligned with Russia, one cannot rule out their weaponizing puppets like Ruto to do their bidding. Africans must start calling out Ruto, if only to expose the neocolonial puppet behind the mask masquerading as a pan-African.
Larmbert Ebitu is a Pan-African agitator and activist for one Africa.