The Star (Kenya) - - Politics -

HE un­for­tu­nate ac­ci­dent that hap­pened to Isaac Rutto at Silib­wet Sta­dium ear­lier this month has led to cer­tain un­in­tended out­comes.

On the fate­ful day, Rutto was in­formed that a foot­ball match be­tween Bunge FC and Silib­wet FC had de­scended into chaos.

Fans of Bunge FC that had been brought in by Deputy Speaker Joyce La­boso and fans of ri­val Silib­wet FC, sup­ported by Gov­er­nor Rutto’s fans, be­gan to fight.

Not one to skip a brawl, Rutto ar­rived to find run­ning bat­tles and ut­ter chaos on the ground.

The po­lice then in­ter­vened the only way they know – with tear­gas. A can­is­ter hit Rutto on the nose, caus­ing much in­jury on his face and ne­ces­si­tat­ing hos­pi­tal­iza­tion.

Rutto’s en­e­mies (who are legion), in­stantly cel­e­brated the un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent, posit­ing that it was a woman (Joyce La­boso) who had thrown a ‘punch’ at him.

Of course La­boso did not fire the can­is­ter but word went round that she had given him a proper up­per­cut jab to his face.

To be beaten by a woman is ut­ter hu­mil­i­a­tion for a man – and, for a politi­cian, it is to­tally dam­ag­ing.

His en­e­mies rubbed it in when he was air­lifted to Nairobi and fur­ther on to South Africa.

Ex­ag­ger­ated im­ages of his in­jury were cir­cu­lated on so­cial me­dia, with many ridi­cul­ing him for seek­ing treat­ment in South Africa, which is far be­yond the means of the man at the mashinani (grass­roots).

It re­mains to be seen whether he can shake off the dam­age in per­cep­tion that he scuf­fled with a woman and got beat up good. Rutto’s fans, de­fend­ing him, have said that La­boso has learnt ‘to throw stones in foot­ball matches’ – like peo­ple of a cer­tain com­mu­nity known for that.

Go­ing to that coun­try (most likely at the proper ad­vice of his doc­tors) has now proved to be quite dam­ag­ing po­lit­i­cally.

This has ne­ces­si­tated a pub­lic ‘home­com­ing’ so as to be re­ceived as a re­turn­ing hero.

Rutto has now called to­gether all his fel­low lieu­tenants and anti-gov­ern­ment politi­cians in a mas­sive face-sav­ing strat­egy.

Rutto has been a strong ad­vo­cate of ‘mashinani’, say­ing that the com­mon man has been ne­glected and he may then say that if gov­ern­ment had done its job, he would have gladly sought treat­ment lo­cally.

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