Tame your officials' tongues, Mt Kenya elders tell President Ruto

Wachira Kiago

Kikuyu Council of Elders chairman Wachira Kiago addresses journalists at Lusoi Resort in Nyeri in December 2020.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The Kikuyu Council of Elders on Saturday condemned the emergence of leaders in Mt Kenya region whose words soil the image of the community.

Council chairman Wachira Kiago told President William Ruto that the society, especially in Mt Kenya, detests vile politicians and has rejected them in polls. He said that even when leaders disagree with some issues and have to issue a 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 audience, have been recycled by the President after being rejected in their bids 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.

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

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 long career in civil service 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 through his appointees,” he said.

Kiama Kia Ma Murang’a chairman Kiarie Ciombou said: “We cannot say all is well when parents have their (TV) remotes at the ready on the mute button when some leaders start talking on radio or television.”

He added: “Elders are supposed to ooze raw wisdom. Only those with confirmed mental disabilities are exempt ... Elders have a culture of speech. They have cultured conversations.”

The elders’ remarks come on the back of a vitriolic attack against Nation Media Group journalists by Investment and Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria.