Why fake anger against Ruto is a risky strategy

Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi speaks to journalists on September 9, 2020.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • What Mr Sudi, the clownish Member of Parliament for Kapseret, did the other day was try to bait the President into a fight over their personal grievances within the ruling Jubilee Party.
  • My fellow village boy Sudi appears to believe that it is high time Mr Kenyatta and Dr Ruto settled this mano-a-mano.

For all his uncouth behaviour in front of media cameras, Oscar Sudi neither insulted President Uhuru Kenyatta’s mother nor his ethnic community.

In nearly all communities, the target of the common reference to one’s mother in verbal exchanges is the son or the daughter.

And, it is one of the nastiest things you can ever tell a person, especially a man or a boy.

In our boyhood in the village, it struck right at the ego and almost always triggered a physical fight.

But you were expected to settle your personal grievance with the bully – boy-to-boy or man-to-man – not drag the whole clan into it.

What Mr Sudi, the clownish Member of Parliament for Kapseret, did the other day was try to bait the President into a fight over their personal grievances within the ruling Jubilee Party.

Two factions

The party, as you well know, has split into two factions – one loyal to the President and the other to Deputy President William Ruto.

My fellow village boy Sudi appears to believe that it is high time Mr Kenyatta and Dr Ruto settled this mano-a-mano. And, what better way to wind the President up than say that ‘your mother’ thing!

Mr Kenyatta, a special pedigree who grew up both in State House and Gatundu, has since called Mr Sudi’s bluff and dished it out, too.

This robust tackle from the President, of course, should have evened the score.

Even if the President’s mother, a former First Lady, were to take a hit, it would still not warrant public outrage. She is a public figure on generous taxpayer-funded pension. And Kenya isn’t a monarchy.

But the wimps and opportunists that now rule our society believe that this tiff between two foul-mouthed men is some just war that whole ethnic communities should be dragged into.

Public warnings

Given how gullible the two sets of supporters are, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission and the police are right to issue public warnings against hate speech and incitement.

They should be more worried about the opportunistic politicians and campaign strategists creating fake public outrage over the Uhuru-Sudi slugfest in parts of the country, though.

The Handshake camp, which is loyal to the President and ODM party leader Raila Odinga, clearly see an opportunity to check Dr Ruto’s popularity in the Mt Kenya region and are keen to milk it for all it is worth.

Stage-managed demonstrations this past week were apparently meant to feed local cultural sentiment against insulting community matriarchs like Mama Ngina and advance a narrative that Mr Sudi is the Deputy President’s attack dog.

The danger is that if someone in the Ruto camp acts stupid and organises counter-protests in Rift Valley, this could take a life of its own.

  [email protected] @otienootieno

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.