Decibels rise as political ‘attack dogs’ bark loud
A number of leaders are on the spot for behaving like attack dogs for their political god fathers, raising concerns that their toxic rhetoric could plunge the country into chaos.
They include mostly youthful politicians from both sides of the political divide, those supporting the Handshake and the group associated with Deputy President William Ruto, who has been forced to caution his surrogates to tone down their vitriol.
Already some of the comments have attracted attention of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) which has warned of possible arrests.
Yesterday, Emurua Dikirr MP Johana Ng’eno was charged in a Kilgoris court with alleged hateful remarks he made on Sunday at Murkan while his Kapseret counterpart Oscar Sudi, a vicious Ruto supporter, faces imminent arrest after he released a video in which he hurled unprintables against President Uhuru Kenyatta and his family over the Head of State’s relationship with the DP.
The two were reacting to comments by Environment CS Keriako Tobiko who had described Ruto as a “clerk” in Uhuru’s government while Jubilee Party vice chairman David Murathe claimed the DP was a man of questionable integrity unsuitable for State House.
The remarks by Ng’eno have elicited outrage from Uhuru’s allies as well as those of opposition chief Raila Odinga who organised separate press conferences and media interviews to condemn the two MPs and accused the DP of sanctioning their outbursts.
There was public fury over the Ngeno-Sudi comments even as NCIC chairman Prof Samuel Kobia warned of more arrests as they seek to establish whether the bigger leaders sanction the highly personalised attacks.
“After Ng’eno we are going after Sudi because we also want to know what they are up to.
We want to establish also whether this is something they are waking up in the morning to talk about or it is something that is being done or said on behalf of their leaders.
And that is why it becomes worrying because if they are doing it on behalf of their leaders, we then are beginning to take the nation into unnecessary political tension,” the Rev Kobia said.
Others who have emerged as lethal attack dogs for their camps include Senators Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), Samson Cherargei (Nandi), Ledama ole Kina (Narok) and MPs Nelson Koech (Belgut) and Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati).
Controversial Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, former Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama, MPs Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu), Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu) Junet Mohammed (Suna East), Babu Owino (Embakasi East) and Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay) have also emerged as acerbic warhorses of their parties.
Murkomen at the weekend accused a section of CSs, including Tobiko, of disrespecting Ruto who is their boss.
Murkomen had labelled Tobiko a “clerk” after the CS castigated Ruto for hosting a delegation of leaders from Kajiado for a political meeting at his Karen residence.
And in response Tobiko also chided the senator.
“In fact, the DP is a clerk to the President and the way I respect the President even the DP must respect him.”
But Murkomen challenged the President to come out openly on what he described as a tendency by his ministers to belittle Ruto.
“Without the blessings of the President, these idiotic CSs would never have insulted the DP. Ruto is not anyone’s clerk.”
Yesterday, Ng’eno was charged with uttering threatening, abusive and insulting words intended or likely to stir up ethnic animosity amongst communities living within the Trans Mara area.
Following public outrage over Sudi’s attack on the President and his family, Ruto tweeted a statement urging discipline among his troops.
“Leaders should exercise restraint and avoid insults and bad language against other Kenyans.
Unsavoury words against mothers and Head of State is a NO, NO. No amount of anger justifies use of offensive insulting language. There exist decent ways to communicate however one feels,” said the DP.
And addressing a press conference yesterday, Raila cautioned that the emerging trend could create disharmony among communities.
“Cries and beating drums of war will not work. This country has known bad times before because of politics.
We have gone to war in 1992, 97 and 2007. Nobody should try to take this county back to war again because of politics.”
After addressing the press where he preached cohesion, he spared a few minutes for Junet, who accused the DP of “supervising” attacks against the First Family.
“I want to ask the Deputy President to spare this country politics of war, threats and violence which is old school . . . It’s dishonest of Ruto to send his people to insult other leaders including the President then pretend to be telling them to stop,” Junet said.
According to Kobia, the commission was handling a total of 34 cases involving politicians, some of which he said are in court while others are at various stages of investigation.
“This is of concern to us more because we know that the whole idea of 2022 is in the lips of many people now and concerns are that if the political process leading to 2022 as it stands now, these kind of utterances being made now are likely to take the country into a bad situation,” he added.
While Ole Kina has been charged with ethnic incitement, Cherargei is also facing similar charges after he warned unspecified actions on certain people who are opposed to the DP.
Equally, Kuria has an unresolved hate speech case in court while Murathe has angered Ruto’s allies for his stinging attacks against the DP.
Muthama, Ichung’wa, Jumwa, Nyoro and Koech are fierce defenders of the DP while Ngunjiri who always addresses controversial media conferences in support of the DP, was three months ago forced to surrender his guns over claims he was a threat to peace.
Muthama, who recently denounced his support for Raila is lately an arsenal in Ruto’s camp.
On their part, Junet, Babu, and Wanga have distinguished themselves as fierce attack dogs in defence of Raila and his relationship with Uhuru.
Dr Richard Bosire, a political science lecturer at the University of Nairobi yesterday said utterances by the factions have been packaged in a manner suggesting that the politicians are holding brief for the top leaders.