Enter Babayao as monikers become vote hunting tools

Monday March 13 2017

He has now formally adopted the nickname Babayao.

Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu addresses mourners at the funeral ceremony of John Baptista Mugecha at Gichira stadium in Nyeri on January 18, 2017. He has now formally adopted the nickname Babayao. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Kabete Member of Parliament Ferdinand Waititu has formally adopted his nickname Babayao, joining a league of politicians known by monikers rather than their real names.

In a notice published in the Kenya Gazette on Friday, Mr Waititu declared that his full name would henceforth include Babayao as surname — an inclusion made after nearly six years as a nickname he earned throwing stones at alleged land grabbers while the Embakasi MP.

“Ferdinard Ndung’u Waititu Babayao, of PO Box 395, Buru Buru in the Republic of Kenya, formerly known as Ferdinard Ndung’u Waititu...assumed and adopted the name Ferdinard Ndung’u Waititu Babayao,” the announcement said.

The announcement by Waititu’s lawyers, JW Wanjohi and Company Advocates, says he changed his name on January 13 and formalised it through a deed poll registered with the Registry of Documents in Nairobi as Presentation Number 1451 in Volume DI, Folio 50/748, File Number MMXVII, last Monday.

A deed poll is a legal document of personal declaration and often indicates an intention by the person in, say, changing names.

Mr Waititu joins several other politicians who have recently adopted nicknames to endear themselves to the voters.

After enticing the populace with flamboyant campaigns when he vied for Makadara Constituency seat in a by-election in 2010, Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko was nicknamed “Sonko”, street lingua for “rich”.

In February 2012, he officially changed his name from Mbuvi Gideon Kioko to Mbuvi Gideon Kioko Mike Sonko.

Former Kipkelion MP Magerer Lang’at, once an ODM executive director, changed to Magerer Lang’at Jonathan Kiprono from Lang’at Jonathan Kiprono.

Uasin Gishu gubernatorial aspirant Zedekiah Kiprop Bundotich has adopted “Buzeki”, his business name formed from an acronym of his full name, as he seeks to oust Mr Jackson Mandago.

Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi, initially Paul Njoroge Kimani, adopted “Wamatangi” in 2007 as he unsuccessfully vied for Kikuyu MP.

He used to run an NGO that often donated water harvesting tanks to schools and women groups.

Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria (initially Francis Mwangi) adopted “Wa Iria” (Kikuyu for milkman) while working at New KCC while Kabete MP aspirant Githua wa Mashukuru recently ditched John Githua for “Mashukuru” to reflect his work of donating to schools.