By Eric Ng’eno
Kenya: Thursday must have been a grueling day for Kalonzo Musyoka.
He dug himself into a hole, and
didn’t stop digging until he was sure he was well and truly buried under a dirty heap of ignominy.
CORD leadership had assembled in force to deliver its long-awaited verdict on the performance of
Jubilee in government over the past year.
Going by innumerable pointed hints preceding the CORD news conference, this verdict was going to be unforgiving indeed.
They had noisily berated Jubilee
of discrimination, ethnic profiling and failing to unite the country.
Nobody will remember a thing about the news conference, thanks to Mr Musyoka.
He was asked a question by a journalist, and he sought to know the
journalist’s name before answering.
However, as soon as Mr Musyoka learnt the journalist’s name, it
was a wrap!
“Thank you, Kennedy Mureithi; that name betrays it all.
Absolutely. Thank you! I have nothing else to say.”
Let us visit salient points of this sinister disclosure.
Perhaps we start at the beginning.
The Opposition leader had zeroed in on a specific name.
At the sound of the name, Kennedy
Mureithi, the penny dropped for Musyoka.
His brain rang, “Bingo!”
So, what is wrong with that name? Mr Musyoka avers that it betrays it all.
The choice of ‘betray’ says quite a bit: Treachery. Danger. In short, for Kalonzo Musyoka, Kennedy Mureithi is not just an innocuous and fairly common name, but the enemy’s definitive calling card.
The battery of CORD leaders accompanying Musyoka tittered and smirked with evident satisfaction at their colleague’s performance.
The laughing Anyang’ Nyong’o in particular looked smug and thrilled all at once.
There was an ocean-like murmur of approbation,with a deep voice reiterating, “Absolutely!” The
enemy had been outed! Bravo Kalonzo! Kennedy Mureithi, in journalistic guise; wolf in sheep’s skin!
To his credit, Ababu Namwamba looked genuinely distraught at this turn of events, and rallied to ameliorate things.
Evidently, the rest of CORD was
still wallowing in an incredible feel-good moment.
Then the social media caught fire.
#SomeoneTellKalonzoMusyoka began to trend as the video clip of the infamous outburst went viral.
Kenyans were not amused.
Kenyans are not amused.
A minor functionary in Musyoka’s
entourage rushed to publish a clarification which made a terrible situation worse. Kalonzo observed
that owing to his name, Kennedy Mureithi’s ‘assumed political tilt’ was evident, and reflective of the polarised society Kenya has become.
A high-profile political leader, a lawyer, a long-serving government official, a famously born-again Christian, Musyoka ought to know better.
He was saying that we must all play along the schisms in our community, instead of providing leadership.
He was saying that Mr Mureithi’s name suffices to establish his political views, and mark him out as an enemy.
Then he iced his venomous treat with hemlock.
Indeed, says his statement, all this was with a light touch.
How much offence we perpetrate ‘in a light touch’ is horrifying.
Typical of the ‘mchongowano’ tradition, we trade the vilest insults in the name of jocular banter.
Perhaps Musyoka thought that
adopting this benighted habit will confer much needed street cred.
This scandal is going to be immensely problematic for Mr Musyoka.
Despite a much-touted Mr Clean image, people have had difficulty seeing sincerity in him, which has brought him much political grief.
His hard-luck story of trekking miles to school on bare, jigger-infested feet back in lowly Tseikuru, and
unlikely rise to the pinnacle of political power will be rounded off with a twilight blighted with ethnic
bigotry and hypocrisy.
He is the new champion of 41 versus 1.
All we ever needed to do was recall a famous nugget in Musyoka’s biography. In his political infancy, the man suckled at Mulu Mutistya’s tit.
It is Mulu Mutisya who fired off a gem of his own, describing journalists as louts conceived by the roadside.
When one considers the virulent tribal animosity that Mr Musyoka harbours beneath an urbane façade, Kenyans have a lot to be thankful for.
If CORD had had its way, Kalonzo Musyoka would be the deputy president today.
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