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Of names that are much more than entries on IDs

By Patrick Wachira
Monday, June 15th, 2020
Jubilee secretary Raphael Tuju.
In summary

I have always said both here and while sitting at my favourite spot at my local haunt that if you should choose a name for your child it had better be one that you can either explain or rationalise.

You see, where I come from near the Abardare Ranges (that does not mean I am a Tarzan of sorts!) names have meaning.

Just to bring you up to speed, a child who survives after one or two deaths of his predecessors will be named Kariuki (for males) or Njoki (females).

By the same token, a girl born by the roadside was called Wanjira, while a bloke born to the local equivalent of a magistrate was called Wachira, such as Yours Truly.

That meant I was very good at handling and deciding cases and disputes, at least five or six generations ago.

For my brothers from the lakeside, a boy born during the rains became Okoth or Akoth for a fair gender case. And so on and so forth.

The point I am making is that names were not just random.

That is why I became disturbed when I learnt many years ago that a cabinet minister was called Francis Polisi Lotodo.

While it was not clear that he had a stint in the police force (it has since been clothed in a veneer of respectability and renamed police service, which has done little to change the hostile, if not violent nature of some of them) Polisi Lotodo was the very epitome of warlike activities.

Indeed, he was later arrested and hauled before a court on charges of engaging in warlike activities. But that is a story for another day.

I was telling you about names. Just last week, or the week before, a woman called Seneta, and who happens to be a nominated senator, was in trouble with Jubilee Party.

Having forgotten either what her name is or her job, she skipped a meeting summoned by my senior colleague at my workplace, one Uhuru Kenyatta. He also happens to be Jubilee Party Leader.

Now, this woman called Seneta fumbled, trying to explain that her skipping the meeting was not deliberate. Her head was on the chopping board, in a manner of speaking.

Know fate

The party has yet to decide whether to strip her of her name, sorry, title (one and the same!) but the point is that if a name is assigned to you by your mother, think hard and long about its meaning and live up to it.

As we speak (sorry, as I write this), she does not know her fate. I wish her well, this Senator Seneta. Ha!

While we are still on the subject of women in trouble, another one out there in Kirinyaga who goes by the moniker of Minji Minji aka Anne Waiguru, alias Mrs Waiganjo is in hot soup. At least for now.

You see, a group of fellows who are exhorted by wananchi by being referred to as MCAs want her out of her lofty seat.

Just in case you missed it, her name (Waiguru) means the one above. If she survives this onslaught, she will have lived up to her name.

If she is sent packing, her name will have become a misnomer.

But what is most dramatic is the chap who started it all. The guy who started this campaign to have her vacate her seat and leave it as a maganjo (remember she is Mrs Waiganjo?) has a more dramatic name than all the folks in his village.

He is called Murango (that means door). So, he is at the forefront in showing Waiguru the door.

His mother must be a genius. You name a child Murango and he becomes the one to orchestrate a move to show a whole governor the door? If that is a not a stroke of genius, tell me what is!

And finally, my good friend Moses Masika Wetang’ula is about to have his goose cooked.

I hear the lingo nowadays is to say that the goose is not only cooked but eaten as well. Now, that is rather final, eating geese...

Back to Weta, as we call him. He must have forgotten what his middle name stands for. Floods. That is what has almost swept him off the list of names of Ford Kenya officials. Jeez!

In short, he never saw the floods coming, never mind that floods is his middle name. He must have slept on the job. His sting as Party Leader is almost kaput. Wafula Wamunyinyi, are you with me?

Names: They are much more than entries on IDs. Have a safe-name week folks! – The writer is Special Projects Editor, People Daily