The Star (Kenya)

Ruto al­lies must stop in­sult­ing the Pres­i­dent

- SAM OMWENGA @Th­es­tarkenya Us-based le­gal an­a­lyst and po­lit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor Society · Politics · Kenya · William Ruto · Uhuru Kenyatta

In the dis­tant past, peo­ple who the gov­ern­ment of the day found an­noy­ing were rounded up and beaten, tor­tured, or killed. Vic­tims suf­fered the con­se­quences of the gov­ern­ment, or more pre­cisely the wrath of those close to the Pres­i­dent for ag­i­tat­ing for change or gov­ern­ment ac­count­abil­ity. This ended with the pro­mul­ga­tion of the 2010 Con­sti­tu­tion.

How­ever, it can­not be that be­cause Kenya has brought her­self in line with other democ­ra­cies where a healthy op­po­si­tion is wel­come, that the pen­du­lum must swing to the other end of the ex­treme. That politi­cians can openly and pub­licly dis­re­spect the Pres­i­dent with­out any fear of any reper­cus­sion.

Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto al­lies con­tinue to pub­licly dis­re­spect Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta. Kapseret MP Os­car Sudi re­cently re­ferred to Uhuru’s mother in the most vul­gar man­ner to make a non-point he could have made a thou­sand dif­fer­ent ways with­out drag­ging moth­ers and breasts to his tirade.

Be­fore that, it was Emu­rua Dikirr MP Jo­hana Ngeno who spoke about Uhuru in a very dis­re­spect­ful man­ner, and pos­si­bly in vi­o­la­tion of anti-in­cite­ment laws.

The con­duct by th­ese men and oth­ers is to­tally un­ac­cept­able and a dan­ger­ous trend that must be nixed.

Not long ago, Kenyans were ou­traged when a po­lice­man was filmed grab­bing and squeez­ing a man’s gen­i­tals dur­ing ar­rest. No sur­veys have been done but most men would

have your gen­i­tals squeezed and worse if you say some­thing about their moth­ers they find of­fen­sive.

Ngeno dared to have Uhuru have him shot and Sudi echoed the same sen­ti­ments. This is fool­ish be­sides be­ing over the top in reck­less­ness.

Uhuru need not have any­one shot but his­tory is re­plete with ex­am­ples where peo­ple have drawn their last breaths be­cause one re­spon­si­ble has done so as a favour, not be­cause they have been asked to do so.

There is no one who is in­dis­pens­able in Kenya and wiser coun­sel for Ruto and his men is to ac­cept the re­al­ity they find them­selves and live to fight an­other day.

When I first heard Sudi’s com­ments, I shared the video clip to a friend who replied say­ing we can­not ex­pect any­thing less from a for­mer tout. My thought in re­sponse was, no, even touts must be re­quired to have and main­tain ba­sic norms of de­cency and ci­vil­ity.

In­de­cency and in­ci­vil­ity are of­ten as­so­ci­ated with bul­lies or peo­ple who have failed in life and thus re­sort to it as a means of cop­ing.

We can all iden­tify or re­call bul­lies grow­ing up. All of them were

never smart, al­ways the bot­tom of the class.

Th­ese are the same in­di­vid­u­als who are un­civil, in­sult­ing left, cen­tre and right in all man­ner of un­couth, bile in­sults, es­pe­cially in so­cial me­dia and com­ments on­line.

It is one thing th­ese un­couth char­ac­ters are in so­cial me­dia de­fam­ing and in­sult­ing with aban­don, of­ten in face­less and name­less. You can­not even sue them for defama­tion be­cause they are dead broke and not a dime to their name

One won­ders how they can af­ford bun­dles to have ac­cess to the in­ter­net but most of them are given hand­outs by politi­cians to come and in­sult and re­gur­gi­tate words and phrases they do not know the mean­ing.

It is quite an­other thing to have politi­cians, the ed­u­cated and pro­fes­sion­als en­gage in the same back­ward be­hav­iour, in­sult­ing, and dis­re­spect­ing oth­ers, in­clud­ing the Pres­i­dent at will and with­out aban­don.

While we must de­mand de­cency and deco­rum from all our lead­ers, the Pres­i­dent and his fam­ily must be out of bounds for any dis­re­spect or in­sults.

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