Mt Kenya elders to President Ruto: Breathe new life into your government

Kikuyu Council of Elders chairman Wachira Kiago addresses a press conference on December 18, 2020. The council chairman urged President Ruto to take note that Mt Kenya detests vile politicians and has rejected them in general elections.

The Kikuyu Council of Elders on Saturday condemned the emergence of lewd leaders in Mt Kenya region whose spoken word is not conducive to positive generational growth.

The council chairman, Mr Wachira Kiago, urged President William Ruto to take note that the society, especially in Mt Kenya, detests vile politicians and has rejected them in general elections.

He said even when leaders disagree with some issues in the society and have to invoke the power of reprimand, "they must do so with all due respect and in a way that wins inspiration for reform".

He said leaders must never resort to hooliganism because their actions and utterances define the kind of community they lead "and the last thing we, the Agikuyu, can afford is to be identified as supporters of explicit hooliganism".

"Some of these leaders, who are notorious for speaking with utter disregard for civility and without regard for the ringer of the audience, have been recycled by the President after being rejected in their bid for public office," he said, adding that "the same resentment risks being extended to the President as an individual and by extension his government".

Mr Kiago said "the Agikuyu community loves cultured talk and that is why they have a rich collection of wise sayings that can be used to convey messages that cannot normally be conveyed through straight words".

Mr Kiago said, "Politicians may be in the business of talking but integrity and sanity demand wisdom in public utterances".

Long-serving administrator Joseph Kaguthi said the image of government is perceived by the way it communicates.

"I don't want to be subjective but leadership comes with responsibility...there are things a civilian government cannot be associated with...there are things a government cannot say...for example, a government cannot tell you to go to hell.

Governments do not swear," he said.

He said his career, which has seen him serve in the colonial government and the fourth presidency, has taught him that the mouth of government must always exude fresh breath.

"Even if the government's teeth are suffering from acute decay, it must always strive to smell good to all... The president is the team leader and must freshen the breath of his government's mouth as it is smelled by his appointees," he said.

Kiama Kia Ma chairman in Murang'a, Mr Kiarie Ciombou, said "we cannot say all is well when parents have their remotes at the ready on the mute button when some leaders start talking on radio or television".

He said elders should now start keeping an eye on those in the elders' age group who cannot speak in an appropriate manner.

"Elders are supposed to ooze raw wisdom. Only those with confirmed mental disabilities are exempt. Elders are the custodians of a community's values as shaped by culture and tradition. Elders have a culture of speech. They have cultured conversations," he said.

Mr Ciombou said: "It is distressing to wake up to a lot of vitriol from presidential appointees who are mandated to strictly serve sovereignty in a way that can influence growing children as role models.