Old habits die hard, goes a popular saying, and Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi certainly lives up to it.
Mr Sudi has always spoken proudly of his past as a tout, reminding anyone who cares to listen how he rose from a humble background, calling people into his employers’ vehicles in Eldoret town to the swanky lifestyle he now enjoys.
His brand of politics is markedly different. His broadsides, often laced with raw insults, are typically delivered outside Parliament. But, he maintains a deafening silence in the August House.
So, who is Oscar Kipchumba Sudi, the 39-year-old second-term MP?
For the better part of the last decade, his popularity was confined to the southern part of Eldoret town, where he worked as a tout on a neighbour’s matatus before venturing into car sales, before he became a land dealer.
He is said to have worked closely with some of the prominent figures in the town to set up various businesses.
Although his path to being a millionaire is not clear, his wealth has been the subject of gossip on various platforms.
But few dare publicly question how the once-ordinary man suddenly became a millionaire who now calls the shots in Uasin Gishu. His educational background also remains a bit murky.
What is not in doubt is his generosity, which has made him popular, as he often buys drinks for revellers in popular restaurants in Eldoret town.
When he became an MP in 2013, he remained a peripheral figure for a long time, until he joined a group of rebels opposed to Deputy President William Ruto.
The rebels joined forces to campaign against the DP’s choice, Mr Aaron Cheruiyot, for the Kericho senatorial seat that had fallen vacant after Mr Charles Keter resigned to take up the position of Energy Cabinet secretary.
But, Mr Sudi mended fences with Mr Ruto in time to defend his seat. He faced Mr Steve Kewa, who presented a tough challenge.
At some point it appeared he would lose the Jubilee Party nomination. Though he eventually won, his victory was disputed.
The MP has always enjoyed support in the populous and cosmopolitan Langas Estate, where he garnered most of the votes.
Since early 2018, Mr Sudi has taken advantage of the silence of some of the other prominent leaders from the region on the 2022 politics to raise his stature in Mr Ruto’s camp by speaking boldly in his defence.
His recent tirades against President Uhuru Kenyatta seem to have boosted his popularity, as was seen when the Head of State visited his constituency last month to open the refurbished Rivatex factory.
Reports had indicated that some top State House operatives did not want him to speak during the event following his earlier diatribes at the President.
But when he rose to welcome the entourage, he received a thunderous applause. It was said that Mr Ruto’s allies demanded that Mr Sudi, as the host, be allowed to speak.
He seems to be capitalising on his rising popularity in the DP’s backyard and, as unguarded as his tirade last Wednesday following the arrest of Treasury CS Henry Rotich in relation to the Arror and Kimwarer dams scandal was, it confirmed just how bold he has become and exposed his anger as the ruling party disintegrates.
The President has become the main target of his attacks since the March 2018 handshake between him and ODM leader Raila Odinga.
“I think you are no longer able to perform your duties as the President. I would like to humbly ask you to hand me the seat for three months. You are incompetent. President Kibaki and Moi were better than you,” he said at his home in Kapseret.
His went on to express dissatisfaction with the President, saying his relationship with his deputy was no longer smooth.
“Our people voted for the President 100 percent because of the developments initiated by the Jubilee government.
"The relationship between the President and his deputy is now like that of a man and his wife who no longer live together and lie in public that things are okay. Let them not lie to us any longer. If our people have hurt the President, please forgive us,” he said.
He said Mr Rotich and his Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge had been unfairly kicked out of office, claiming it was part of the use-and-dump script by the President.
“Rotich and Thugge have been used like tissue paper and have now been dumped. Sorry for what has befallen them. Now it is the turn for another group to be used,” he railed against the President.
Since last year, the President has repeatedly said that those accused of corruption will face the law, whether they are his relatives or political allies.