The Holy Bible says out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh.
The words that effortlessly ooze out of the mouth of Deputy President William Ruto are a shocking revelation of bitterness, hate and anger that brews in his heart.
Presidential timbre, decorum, good sense and decency expected of a person aspiring to occupy the office of the diplomat-in-chief of the republic demands better than the DP is painting with his own mouth.
One of the latest incidents in this worrying trend involved the DP publicly and on national TV denigrating the person and character of Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa in the most unsavoury way when he said that “in Kalenjin culture we don’t punch women”.
He was responding to an accusation by Mr Wamalwa that sometime in 2018, DP Ruto nearly punched him and his Interior ministry counterpart Fred Matiang’i.
Whatever the veracity of CS Wamalwa’s claims, DP Ruto’s vile response was most unbecoming of a deputy president of the republic.
The Deputy President and Mr Wamalwa are not to be weighed on the same morality scale. Their responsibility and accountability to the nation and the world as representatives of the best face of Kenya’s public servants are not on the same scale either. So is the impact of their utterances and actions.
Moral expectations on the DP are higher and more stringent, and if he does not appreciate and realise this then he is a let-down and a disappointment to his ultimate employer, the Kenyan voter.
The altercation between DP Ruto and CS Wamalwa revolves around an audio clip leaked from a recent meeting the DP had with a delegation from Central Kenya at his official Karen residence, during which he is quoted saying he at one time felt like punching President Uhuru Kenyatta when discussing the nullification of the 2017 presidential election results by the Supreme Court.
Although DP Ruto has stated that his reference to nearly punching the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) was in jest, it still does not wash.
It beggars belief that a deputy president of the republic, and an aspiring head of state, would be so callous as to even remotely hint at the possibility of punching a sitting president, let alone voicing it in public.
And rather than apologise for the goof, he simply and callously explained it away on a TV talk show as “a jocular comment”.
Had it been a jocular comment, one would wonder why the DP has unleashed such shocking and visceral revulsion at CS Wamalwa for commenting on the same.
But even before the dust could settle on the slur of his colleague in Cabinet in the victim’s rural backyard, the Deputy President was at it again.
This time his anger was directed at a hapless member of his campaign audience, in the same neighbourhood.
In the public campaign rally in Vihiga County barely 24 hours after the punch-a-woman gaffe, DP Ruto, apparently angered by shouting from a particular attendee, is recorded dressing him down in the most demeaning of ways.
The DP is heard telling the young man: “Wewe kijana wacha kunijibu. Unanijibu kama nani?.....” (Young man, don't answer me. Who are you to answer me?) in a manner to suggest that the said young man is too lowly to respond to him.
In a country where there is a sycophantic following of political leaders, it is scary to imagine what some overzealous fanatics of the powerful DP out to impress the masters in the camp can do to the young man during or after the rally!
The DP’s unruly mouth makes him a good candidate for anger management therapy, assuming he is not motivated by hatred but by a normal, short-fused temperament.
It would not have been such a concerning issue had this unbridled tongue belonged to the ordinary political hecklers seeking attention or to silence their rivals by throwing filthy verbal mud at them.
But when it comes to a candidate nominated by a major party to seek the highest office in the land and a potential commander-in-chief of the Kenya Defense Forces, a different standard applies and Kenyans should have reason to get concerned.
As head of state and commander-in-chief, one contends with much more pressure and tension arising from routine demands of the office of the CEO of the republic, in addition to responding to unforeseen local and external situations that arise, not to mention attending to legitimate expectations of 42-plus communities that comprise Kenya.
If one’s routine response is to punch his way through unflattering utterances from opponents, hard questions or unexpected situations that could pop up demanding his immediate attention in the dead of night, then it should concern both his inner circle of handlers and the public at large.
The visceral revulsion he seems to harbour inside seems to require little provocation to explode into the expletives rarely associated with or expected of presidential material.
The man does not hesitate to publicly unleash himself on perceived enemies with little concern that children are listening to him and watching him, let alone caring what effect the jarring language is likely to have on the ears of polite citizens.
At the very minimum, his aides should consider recommending anger management therapy. Otherwise voters may be well advised to take a second look before it is too late.
Mr Onsarigo is the Press Secretary, Raila Odinga Presidential Campaign; [email protected]