KENYA AND THE POLITICS OF INSULTS AND HYPOCRISY

September 18, 2014 OPINION/NEWS

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By

Joe Khamisi

Kenyans are an extremely strange lot. They are not just magnanimous in their praises but are also endowed abundantly with hate.

Though facetious and comical at times – as we saw in the Baba-While-You-Were-Away histrionics and the ongoing Dead-Beat-Kenya euphoria, they are also extremely foul and downright hypocritical.

Only a week after Uhuru Kenyatta was humiliated by a gang of opposition thugs during a public meeting in Migori, a 600-strong delegation of weary looking, shamefaced Migorians, were knocking at the doorstep of State House attempting to apologise to the Head of State. It is not that they did not have other ways – including the social media – of reaching out to Uhuru, but they travelled hundreds of miles by road and endured the cold temperatures of Nairobi only to become indigent in the big city.  

The occupant of the House on the Hill was hundreds of miles away at the Coast on official business. The group of shivering Migorians had to be rescued from their misery by some magnanimous Kenyans who were philanthropic enough to give them money as a bail-out gesture.

During President Moi’s time. the delegation would most likely have been accommodated in a hotel, met their leader the following morning, and left with their pockets bulging; but Uhuru is not known to be that magnanimous. To me, that unsolicited visit by the Migorians was insipid and hypocritical.

This past week Kenyans also witnessed the politics of a foul mouth in action. Kenyans were more amused than flabbergasted by what happened at a meeting in the Rift Valley when an honourable legislator spewed some dishonourable insults against a fellow honourable Member of Parliament, despite the fact that both are members of the same party, the United Republican Party (URP) whose leader, the Deputy President, William Ruto, was present.

What I particularly noted while watching the video clip of that encounter was how magnanimous the crowd was to both Adan Duale, who uttered the nasty words, and Isaac Ruto, the target of those words. The crowd seemed to enjoy the odious episode and cheered and clapped for both. That left me confused as to who among the two, people were actually lauding.

Unfortunately, the politics of insults is becoming a regular item on our political menu. Only a few months ago, some leaders at the Coast threw some unsavoury remarks at the President in an unprovoked bravado of chest-thumping. Politicians of all levels are doing exactly the same to each other everyday throughout the country.

That is why I am not surprised that there are more defamation suits on paper today than at anytime in our history, as dogmatic semantics take over from sensible reasoning, and as leaders continue to make a fool of themselves with hate speech.

It is obvious that if political insults were food, every Kenyan would have enough to eat for eternity. Unfortunately, they are just that: insults.

 

 

 

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Joe Khamisi

Joe Khamisi is a former journalist, diplomat and Member of Parliament. He is also the Author of the Politics of Betrayal:Diary of a Kenyan Legislator, a political memoir about the situation in Kenya between 2001, when the ruling party of President Daniel Arap Moi, the Kenya African National Union (KANU), merged with Raila Odinga’s National Development Party.

The book also narrates cases of corruption in Parliament and in the Media and records Senator Obama’s visit to Kenya in 2006. As a friend of Barack Obama Senior, the author also remembers the times and tragedies of the American-educated economist.

Joe Khamisi’s second book, a biography, ‘Dash Before Dusk’, is currently awaiting publication.

In addition to the above books, Joe Khamisi blogs at http://joekhamisi.wordpress.com/ , http://joekhamisi.blogspot.ca/ and for media enquiries can be reached at joekhamisi@yahoo.com

(This article is courtesy of Joe Khamisi and was originally published at the above blog on 18th September 2014)

 

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