ODM STATEMENT: UHURU AND RUTO MUST MIND THEIR LANGUAGE OR BURN THE COUNTRY:
On this first day of the last month of the year, I wish to draw the attention of Kenyans and the international community at large to a pattern building up in the country and whose consequences will be grim if not stop now. We sound this warning for the record.
The public utterances, the body language and the display of raw anger by President Uhuru Kenyatta over the past few weeks have left many Kenyans baffled and disgusted at the new low the President has hit and the dangerous direction he seems to be taking the country.
In this, the President finally joined his deputy Mr. William Ruto, who for four years has been behaving like a jilted lover, throwing insults and spewing venom at everyone who holds a different opinion from his.
Their prime target is particularly the Opposition leader Hon Raila Odinga and all the other ODM leaders seen to be strongly supportive of the former Prime Minister.
It does not matter that much of the insults Mr. Ruto has been throwing around are plain lies, cheap propaganda and uneducated and ill-founded misinformation.
The language President Uhuru and Deputy Ruto are resorting to is darker, violent, threatening, demeaning to themselves and opponents and more prone to insults and grandstanding.
Uhuru and Ruto have called Mr. Odinga all sorts of names that should ordinarily be unprintable, words that should never emerge from a president or deputy president or any leader for that matter.
Words like stupid, wicked, witch, small man, mad man, insane cannot be the language of conducting the business of the presidency. These cannot be the language of civilized politics and transformation that Uhuru and Ruto purport to represent.
Yet such language has become the stock-in-trade of the President and his deputy. The language of Me, Myself and I, which President Uhuru and Deputy Ruto are resorting to and the accompanying chest-thumping is sending the dark message of “we are in power, what will you?” It is the language of impunity that is sure to lead to doom for the country.
Like other citizens of civilized nations, Kenyans have long expected a President and a Deputy President to be dignified, measured and solemn in language, demeanour and action. Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto have defied all these expectations.
The choice of words by the President and his deputy Ruto, coupled with their very clear attempts to weep up ethnic emotions and hate targeting Mr. Raila Odinga defies everything we have come to expect of leaders and sets a worrying tone and trend ahead of the elections next August. The last time we saw that kind of language and directing of hate against one man was in the run up to 2007 elections. The rest, as they say, is history that lives with us to date.
We are once again seeing the President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto turning to this language and political mobilsation laced with hate, vendetta and desperation.
Unfortunately, this trend seems either invisible to or sanctioned by State agencies. None of the agencies that have been quick to issue warnings to Opposition leaders have lifted a finger against Uhuru and Ruto.
A message is being sent that it is fine to throw insults and engage in hate speech as long as the target is Mr. Odinga and the Opposition.
A message being sent to Kenyans that the Presidency gives one the right to lord it over competitors and the right to act with impunity and rally support by whipping up ethnic emotions and hate.
The message Kenyans are getting is that in the lead up to 2017, those who are opposed to Uhuru and Ruto are on their own. It is a very dangerous message because the Opposition leaders being insulted and their supporters will somehow look for ways to defend their beliefs, their political choices, their dignity and their candidates.
It is up to Uhuru and Ruto whether they continue on that path and force the opposition to respond in kind with attendant consequences or they stop it, get civil and retrieve the country from the very dangerous abyss they are driving us into. As things stand now, the President and his deputy are lighting a fire that they will not be able to extinguish. Unless they stop, Uhuru and Ruto will burn Kenya. If it comes to that, they will have no one but themselves to blame and they must be prepared to shoulder responsibility.
May God help Kenya.
HON JOHN MBADI, MP
ODM NATIONAL CHAIRMAN,
DECEMBER 1, 2016