Kings and queens of loose talk run wild in campaigns
Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa at Malindi’s Mbuzi Wengi grounds in Kilifi. [Maarufu Mohamed,Standard]

Malindi Member of Parliament Aisha Jumwa and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna have, in recent days, made it sufficiently clear that there is no love lost between them.

The two are among a growing legion of politicians who long discovered that the masses love a foul mouth.

Their patrons include the top cream of Kenya’s politicians led by President , his handshake partner Raila Odinga, Deputy President William Ruto and former vice president Kalonzo Musyoka.

In the run-up to the 2017 election, President Kenyatta and Raila traded vulgarities on campaign podiums with reckless abandon. Ruto, on the other hand, made it his business to brand Raila in unlikely of terms.

While Jumwa and Sifuna’s recent outbursts may not have made it to the mainstream news owing to their vulgarity, they have found their way to online platforms.

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Foul language

Jumwa, in one of her campaigns for independent candidate Feisal Bader, without evidence and in the foulest of languages, claimed that her rivals planned to mete on her unprintable violations. She went on to brag that she wasn’t intimidated as she was no stranger in the business they were planning.

And Sifuna, while campaigning for ODM candidate Omar Boga, responded in kind and body-shamed the Malindi MP as undesirable to warrant the said act.

With the “16 days of activism against gender-based violence” just ended, the timing of sexual slurs was most unfortunate.

Both their remarks were received with cheer from audiences that have grown accustomed to the kind of politics that openly downplay societal evils such as rape and defilement, reducing them to jibes that can be used to score political points.

The pair are, however, walking on a well trodden path.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, who faces impeachment later this week, scaled the political heights courtesy of his acerbic tongue. In his early reign before ceding the city to Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) Director General Mohamed Badi, Sonko spared no kindness for those he deemed to be “disrespecting the president”.

Kings and queens of loose talk run wild in campaigns
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko.

In 2017, the Nairobi governor unleashed a barrage of insults against Embakasi East MP Babu Owino for allegedly verbally abusing the president. Several leaked conversations of himself going hammer and tongs at rivals have shocked many a modest people.

And for a while, it seemed that his running mouth was what won Sonko favour with the powers that be. Sadly for him, his lack of control over his tongue would be his undoing.

In recent months, he has attacked Maj-Gen Badi and has severally referred to him as “Sadam Hussein”, after the late Iraqi dictator who was hanged on Christmas Day by the Americans.

And just as the crowds had reacted to Jumwa and Sifuna’s salvos, they went wild with every utterance Sonko made.


Long before Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi earned infamy for his loose tongue, former Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama was stamping his authority as mudslinger-in-chief.

In his heyday, there was no stopping the now fierce Ruto supporter for revealing his feelings for the president and his deputy.

At the height of his power, Aden Duale learned fast that the right, or rather, wrong words, would get him noticed.

And true to this fact, he quickly earned the trust of his bosses to become the first majority leader, which mirrors the prime minister’s position in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) proposal.

For a while, Raila was his most preferred target. But it was former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto who got the most memorable of his barbs – “hii pesa si ya mama yako bwana”.

And Sudi is among politicians causing National Cohesion and Integration Commission Chairman Samuel Kobia sleepless nights.

Closely following in his bold footsteps is Emurua Dikir MP Johanna Ng’eno, who has also spent many a night in police custody.

Then there is Babu from Embakasi East, whose prospects to unseat Muthama and Sudi were somewhat dented with the handshake between Kenyatta and Raila.

But Babu knows more than just trading words. In 2017, he exchanged blows with his Starehe counterpart Charles Njagua aka Jaguar because of his utterances. 

Kings and queens of loose talk run wild in campaigns
Laikipia Woman Representative Cate Waruguru.

Laikipia Woman Representative Cate Waruguru fits the profile of a gun for hire. Before she ditched the DP, Waruguru thought the handshake to be the greatest evil that visited Kenya.

On various platforms, she spoke fiercely against the Kenyatta-Raila partnership and the BBI process it had spawned, and wasted no chance to admonish the pair’s allies. Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru was among those who found themselves on the receiving end of Waruguru’s criticism.

Waruguru has since switched sides and transferred her contempt for the handshake side to the Ruto-led brigade.?

Her Suba North counterpart Millie Odhiambo is no stranger to loose talk.

During the Kibra by-election, she declared that the ODM side had cleared with Ruto’s side, not at the bedroom, but at the sitting room.

Sexual connotations

Just like Jumwa’s, Millie’s remark bore the heaviest of sexual connotations. She also dismissed a fellow woman MP from North Eastern as loose, and urged her to cease moving around with old men.

Also known for their acerbic tongues include Garissa woman representative Anab Subow and Wajir’s Fatuma Gedi.

Before the present generation of loose-mouths were forefathers of ill talk. These included former MPs Kihika Kimani who dismissed the alliance between former President Mwai Kibaki, late Vice President Wamalwa Kijana and Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu in sexually explicit terms.

Before him, former nominated MP Mulu Mutisya had dismissed journalists as “illegitimate children” sired on riverbeds. Others generous with insults were Kanu hawks Shariff Nassir and Kariuki Chotara.

Founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was equally not too stingy with his mouth whenever irked to the core.

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