Yesterday, social media was awash with messages from a WhattsApp group page used by NFD politicians and other pastrolist MPS that shocked locals. The exchanges were as debased as any from a deranged teenager high on drugs. The messages of accusations and counter-accusations were full of insults, innuedos and outright foolish tantrumns that has exposed the hearts and brains behind those who represent us in the August house. Not that they are any different from most politicians from the rest of the country, only that theirs was played out in the open. The dearth of leadership and off-the-hook mannerism of the politicians who were sadly not even discussing anything remotely related to policies, politics or people from NFD was exposed. Not that much of it is secret but their incompetence continues to shock. In the end it is an indictment of the electorate.
One of the most shocking messages was from the Majority Leader Aden Duale who in the midst of the lowly female exchanges in the forum could neither restrain himself nor contribute anything sensible but join in the throwing of the vitriolic insults the legislators were indulging. He was ageist calling a former respected legislator who is now an EALA representative, an old woman (he wrote old women!) and some other unprintables. It was disconcerting to see the Majority Leader, of all people, exchanging insults with what were supposed to be his members most of them female and younger. Duale did not stop at that. He as is usual with him did not even try to restrain himself from insulting the respected former Wajir County women Rep Fatuma Ibrahim. In a poorly written message, he called Hon Fatuma Ibrahim, a woman who has had a difficult childhood,with poor upbringing and something else too, a man cannot say to a woman. He calls her a poverty stricken woman as if poverty is an insult.
Before we analyse whether Duale is a moron or mad and sidestep his shameful verbal altercation with a fellow female legislature let us glance at Fatuma Ibrahim’s life. Like many of us including Duale who had only one tattered trouser, she grew in poverty. In fact she grew in an orphanage like many brilliant but poverty stricken people and then went on to shine. Despite her tough upbringing occasioned by nature, she excelled in her O levels and proceeded to Egerton for her diplomas. A rare feat for a girl from NFD. She was working for the Internnational aid organization GIZ before she moved to the UK with her educationist husband who was then an education attachee. Her husband, Ali, a career civil servant who rose through the ranks before he retired last year is a decent, amiable and down to earth man loved by many. Mama Fatuma was an activitist and a commissioner with KNHRC before she was elected the Wajir County Women Rep in 2013. As a women Rep, just like Fatuma Gedi is doing after her, she did many things including the very beneficial medical camps I witnessed in Wajir. She is a fearless straight talker respected even by the President. That, in a nutshell, is Fatuma Ibrahim the EALA MP Duale insulted.
Is the Majority Leader a mad man or a moron? He is a gaffe-prone politician whose words are neither measured nor meaningful most of the time. For a man of a Majority Leader stature, he should have been a unifying force and a genteel amiable leader of his flock. He failed in both. Opprobrium seems to be the Majority Leader’s second name. Exchanging insults on social media with his members is just not abnormal it is degrading, tasteless and telling. But Duale seems not to either understand that or give a hoot about his hawkish, embarassing and abnormal verbal altercation with women. It is unbecoming of a man let alone one who carries the Majority Leader title. They say, Those whom God wishes to destroy He first makes mad.
The page is used by members from the pastrolist communities but only the NFD legislators were involved in the shameful text messages exchange. They did not even pause to realise that other members from other parts of the country were following their exchanges probably bemused by their stupidity. Small but significant observation was their poor grasp of the language they were using to communicate. This betrays their grasp of policy and as I said earlier they were discussing a footballer contesting for a seat in a Nairobi constituency! Besides this, it exposed our political leaders’ behind the scenes policy-empty-rhetoric-rich thinking that goes much deeper and explains why the region is lagging behind in development.