Why the selective outrage at bad behaviour? 

Wednesday October 11 2017

Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko’s retort was

Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko’s retort was in equally bad taste. Embakasi East MP alias Babu Owino, who made crass remarks about the President. PHOTOS| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By LARRY MADOWO
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Mike Sonko and Babu Owino both need to wash their mouths.

Do they speak to their children with those same lips that bring forth such nastiness? I happen to know both men personally and I was just as horrified as most reasonable people were when I heard them speak recently about the political moment we find ourselves in.

The Embakasi East MP’s comments about President Kenyatta were crass, tasteless and beneath his new office as an elected representative.

The Nairobi governor’s despicable response to him not only endorsed rape, but disrespected everyone who voted him in against their better judgement.

Even though billed within his Gikuyu community as njamba ya ruriri  (warrior of the people), Moses Kuria is dangerous for this country’s continued ethnic harmony.

Just look at his Facebook page — one of the most vile destinations on the Internet — and you see why it always seems like we’re on the verge of tribal warfare.

Whenever former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama gets up to speak at an event we’re covering live, we start to panic a little.

SPLIT-SECOND DECISION

A split-second decision has to be made whether to air his remarks or cut to break until he is done because we’re never certain that he will keep it decent and dignified.

Politicians behaving dishonourably like this are shameful, especially in these deeply divisive times when they should be working harder to reach out to each other across the aisle.

Regardless of which party you support or who you voted for, you should condemn such dirty language.

This shouldn’t be a Nasa or Jubilee thing but it is, because we’ve become so blinded by our political bias that even common sense is debatable.

Imagine living in a world where people can’t agree on what is true and what is not, when it should be self-evident.

You can’t denounce Babu Owino but stay silent on Sonko doing exactly the same thing.

If you criticise Kuria, you must also call out Muthama when he overreaches or you’re only against those who don’t belong to your side.

SELECTIVE OUTRAGE

The selective outrage in the current degraded political discourse is hypocritical because it completely ignores the facts.

If you think it is problematic for the president and his Jubilee army to threaten and intimidate the Judiciary, you should also take a similar view to Nasa’s bullying of the IEBC.

Why should you accept that independent institutions should remain independent but only if they favour your preferred politician?

So you have to decide whether there is  a problem there that needs fixing and “we shall revisit” or the Supreme Court is a fine specimen of what our Constitution envisaged.

Then you’ve got to make up your mind whether  you’re happy to go into the new presidential election without conditions, or there are “irreducible minimums” that must be met before the fresh poll.

These are extraordinary times and carefully cherry-picking what to be angry about depending on your political allegiance isn’t helping the situation.

There are disruptive protests three times a week to reform the electoral body and there is an onslaught to change the laws governing the same IEBC.

RESPECTIVE PARTY LEADERSHIPS

There are not enough Jubilee and Nasa followers feeding back to their respective party leaderships with their real thoughts on these moves.

All we’re seeing are tone-deaf, out-of-touch statements from rallies or press conferences because they know the masses will fall neatly in line. President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto and their surrogates declare to their base what they should be enraged about and they follow suit without questioning.

Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and the Nasaformation decree to their own half of the country what to rail against and they fall in line.

What results is a filter bubble where you’re only seeking out information that agrees with your point of view and rejecting everything else.

Kenyans are subservient to their political masters to the point of weakness.

We turn a blind eye to their excesses, their bad behaviour and their careless talk because we wrongly assume that condemning them amounts to supporting their opponents. So we keep quiet when crimes are committed in our name, when entire communities are abused and when drums of war are beaten in defence of our “cause”, whatever it might be.

When leaders from “the other side” mirror what ours do, we’re quick to attack them without seeing the log in our own eyes.

There are far too many examples in this post-election campaign season to enumerate when supposedly well-meaning citizens see only selfishness or error in those they disagree with, but find no fault in their corner.

Poor leaders, hate speech or threatening actions have no tribe and political affiliation yet they affect us all.

That is why we must protest when they abuse our values, insult our intelligence and shame us whether we like them or not.

This customised outrage isn’t helping anyone; stop it.

 

Is he right? Send your comments to Larry Madowo at [email protected]

 

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Defection season just got crazier

Hassan Omar’s joining Jubilee last weekend capped a certifiably crazy defection season since the General Election.

Some major losers who were in the National Super Alliance have systematically joined the ruling party in evidently choreographed welcome parties around the country.

From Kisii to Kitui and everywhere in between, President Kenyatta’s team has made a big show of reaching out to Raila Odinga’s acolytes but whether it will pay off remains to be seen.

The election is just a fortnight away  and nobody knows whether it will really take place if you listen to what the Opposition has been saying. The former Mombasa Senator famously exchanged words with Deputy President William Ruto over the ICC cases based on his work as an activist.

As a Wiper secretary-general, Omar was even more vocal in his rejection of the Jubilee-Uhuruto administration. But “there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics” is the cliché and he calls his about-turn a change of tack in his politics.

He even goes as far as saying we shouldn’t have a country where Raila is president and Joho is governor.

I can’t wait to interview Omar so I can get a window into his thinking and how he arrived at this decision.

 

 

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Will Catalonia really split from Spain?

When National Super Alliance  strategist Dr David Ndii floated the idea of breaking up Kenya because the “abusive marriage” was not working, there are many who couldn’t even stand the thought of that idea. So it has been fascinating to watch Catalonia struggle to separate from the kingdom of Spain.

“Catalan nationalists argue the region is a separate nation with its own history, culture and language, and that it should have increased fiscal independence,” CNN.com reported. Not that everyone agrees, because 350,000 people gathered in the Catalan capital of Barcelona on Sunday in a rally against independence from Spain.

“The final results from the referendum in the wealthy north-eastern region suggested 90 per cent of the 2.3 million people who voted backed independence,” the BBC said, but the turnout was only 43 per cent.

Whether or not they will get their way is still unclear, but it is instructive to watch such a robust debate about autonomy.

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FEEDBACK: On dealing with social media hat

Larry, your article on how you deal with haters struck a chord.  It was a profound piece about living life on your own terms with fear and respect of God. I am a writer, actor and performer. I had a Wordpress blog but some unwelcome comments shook my confidence and I took down the site. Your article is life saving for those who want to be saved.

Bill Omondi

 

 Larry, your article last week is something I have been waiting for. I have been telling my friends that you inspire me because you are focused and live up to your dreams.  Keep rising to higher heights. Many don’t like you but you sure are a man to look up to in many respects. You are a hero in this generation we are living in.

Samson Manzi

 

Larry, in your article last week, for once you did not level with us, as the Americans say. Your disdain for the naysayers in your life was well articulated, as expected. But there was no need to belabour the point. If something doesn’t bother you, why spend so much time and energy discounting it? The first two paragraphs were sufficient to see off the trollers. The rest was an overkill. You should have used the space to talk about the positives in your job – or whatever. By ruminating on every slight and seeking to give your detractors as good as you got you only succeeded in lending credence to what you set out to deny.

Njeri Aseneka