That is the question his foes and friends must be asking themselves every other day Deputy President William Ruto appears in public looking weary, helpless and outwitted.
The blatant rejection by President Kenyatta of his attempts to push Jubilee Party to field a candidate in the coming Msambweni by-election is just another humiliating moment for the second-in-command.
It was apparent on Wednesday the DP had been blindsided as the decision was made without his knowledge.
Since it became clear President Uhuru Kenyatta was done with him sometime in 2018, the government’s frustrating machinery has been placed right before his door.
Every move he makes is monitored, every word he utters is weighed for any hint of direspect, rudeness or even hatred for his boss, the President. Everyone he meets gets the rude welcome to the world of stalking by the powers that be.
His allies have suffered the brunt of simply being close to him. They have been hounded out of their offices, leaving a bitter taste in their mouths. It’s only recently when two of them were charged in court for speaking ill of the President and his family.
The height of the DP’s humiliation might actually have passed. Unless there’s something more grim in the future than when his office was made a crime scene by the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti in March.
When a police officer attached to the DP’s office was found dead at his home in an estate in Nairobi, the DCI went to the DP’s Harambee Annex office, pulled out video footage from CCTV cameras placed along its corridors and played back them on live TV in attempts to portray his office as a criminals den.
The DP and his allies came out fighting. They dismissed the DCI’s moves as mere theatrics meant to mislead the public.
Nothing much has come from that.
History is replete with deputy (vice) presidents being subjected to the sort of humiliation the DP is facing.
The nation’s first vice-president Jaramogi Oginga-Odinga has been reported to have faced similar treatment as Ruto although he only served for two years leaving in a huff in 1966 after falling out with President Jomo Kenyatta, Uhuru’s father. He resigned from the lucrative position saying he could no longer persevere the government’s humiliation.
Former President Moi actually faced worse tribulations than Ruto if books written about his baptism by fire are anything to go by.
In addition to the much published psychological torture, he was physically attacked by no less a police commandant who was reported to have slapped him on two ocassions in Nakuru when he went to see Jomo. Unlike Jaramogi, he stood firm and was rewarded with the Presidency after Jomo died suddenly in 1978. He went on to stay in power for 24 years until 2002. During his reign, his VPs were humiliated in different proportions.
Late George Saitoti was famously denied the chance to replace him in 2002, Moi once saying his close friendship with him did not mean he would support him for leadership. Mwai Kibaki had his fair share of troubles when he served under Moi although he made a successful comeback in 2002.
Ruto seems to have few choices. To be a Jaramogi and leave in a huff and risk being subjected to political oblivion forever or be a Moi and face the tribulations while hoping to reap the treasured seat when the right time comes. Or, even be a Kibaki who persevered for a while only leaving to rejuvenate before making a successful comeback.
Which one will he choose?
Time will tell.