Political observers and analysts have over the past decade noted that the rivalry between Odinga and Ruto bears signs of personal differences.
To understand the genesis of the hostile relationship between Ruto and Raila, we must go back to a book authored by Odinga’s former advisor Miguna Miguna.
In his memoir, Peeling Back the Mask, Miguna recounts an incident where Odinga revealed his personal dislike for Ruto.
The event happened in 2008 at a time when the relationship between Ruto and Odinga was deteriorating even though the two remained political allies.
Miguna, then Lands Minister, James Orengo, and the current ODM Executive Director Oduor Ong’wen made a passionate plea for Odinga to reach out to Ruto and reconcile for purposes of avoiding a political fall-out.
Miguna narrates that the then Prime Minister flatly rejected the proposal, adding that he could not work with Ruto because that would amount to pampering a naughty child.
“Regrettably, Raila insisted that he didn’t want to mend their cracking relationship; that “Ruto was insolent and disrespectful; that reaching out to Ruto amounted to coddling a wayward child”. Those were his exact words,” the author quotes Odinga as saying.
In the same book, Miguna recalls his attempt to convince Ruto to be respectful towards Odinga and save their political relationship. Attempts which proved futile.
“I subsequently held three meetings with Ruto at his Kilimo House offices, in which I tried to persuade him to show respect to our party leader and to remain in ODM. “I know you have political ambitions. But you are still relatively young. I believe that whatever ambitions you have – even for the presidency of this country – you would achieve more easily within ODM than outside it…” He listened intently…,” he narrates noting that the two leaders only grew further apart.