Khalwale, Kuria Loose Tongues Should Be Tamed [opinion]

The loose tongues of Kakamega Senator Bonny Khalwale and Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria must be tamed. They claim to be championing the causes of their followers, yet the long-term effect of their utterances is pitting their followers against each other.

While Khalwale specialises in defaming individuals he may hate, Kuria thrives on incitement, warmongering and slandering entire communities.

While it may be interpreted that Kuria does all this with impunity, believing that the powers that be are on his side, I believe, in the long run, this may be detrimental to his perceived protectors. It is definitely not in the interest of his community that he pits them against others, neither will it earn the Jubilee coalition any votes in 2017.

It is not in the long-term interest of anyone that their grandchildren will be slaughtering each other Rwanda-style, courtesy of the seeds planted by Moses Kuria as they watch and laugh in support. Kuria should serve as a good example of how the law can deal with the high and mighty just as it can deal with the low and feeble.

Kuria has, in recent times, left Kenyans with their hands in their open mouths from his public utterances. Even some of his ardent supporters have abandoned him. He had to go to a press conference alone to defend his ‘bad manners’. There is nothing wrong with hating whole communities privately, for that is liberty. But there is everything wrong with doing it publicly and inciting your followers to do the same and violently. When my mother was teaching me manners, she told me the violent are losers, irrespective of who wins the violence sessions.

A front page photo of Kuria in handcuffs in the dock will win several hundreds of thousands of votes for Jubilee from citizens in a country that is so battle weary. A people under siege from some of their own leaders turned supporters of terrorism, cattle rustling, tribal hatred and combat in debating chambers. Gatundu South has many capable men and women who can save us from this shame.

While Kuria slanders whole communities, Khalwale has been assassinating individuals’ characters with great abandon. The self-proclaimed Bullfighter has gone scot-free on several occasions. This time round I believe he has met his match in the Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero – a man who silenced the eloquent Margaret Wanjiru, the fearless Rachel Shebesh, the flamboyant Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko and sent enduring Ferdinand Waititu packing to Kiambu county.

While speaking in Mumias in the presence of President Uhuru Kenyatta, Khalwale demanded that Kidero be arrested and prosecuted for the woes facing Mumias Sugar Company. It is in the public domain that Dr Kidero joined Mumias Sugar in 2003 after the company had just made a loss of Sh244 million the previous year.

The company then made profits exactly every year until Kidero left in 2012. It is surprising that only Kidero is being mentioned in the Mumias Sugar debacle and not his predecessor nor his successor. Is it a policy in Kenya that a CEO takes responsibility for what takes place in an organisation, even when he has left? So can we continue blaming President Kibaki for Kenya’s woes today?

In May, Khalwale claimed that the management of Shibwe Subcounty Hospital in Ikolomani had leased the facility’s land for private use as he led the residents in destroying crops. He got away with it easily. We have not forgotten that Khalwale called Amos Kimunya all sorts of names, fortunately this was in the safety of Parliament.

Deputy President William Ruto, Embu Governor Wambora, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru and Uhuru have not escaped a clash with Khalwale either. In 2012, Khalwale kept on referring to Cord co-principal Raila Odinga as ‘nusu mkate’, ‘kigeugeu’ or ‘Bwana Mkeka’. Luhya leaders Jirongo, Kombo and Mudavadi have also got their fair share of the Bullfighter’s sharp tongue.

However, when he touched Kidero he was asked to apologise or else… In the beginning Khalwale believed Kidero’s warning was just a threat like the others in the past and he dismissed him with utmost contempt. When it was clear that Kidero meant business he went silent, probably seeking to make a private apology. It is time the Bullfighter was tamed.

The author is chairman of the Luoland Dialogue Initiative.