POLITICS

Linturi apologises, says ‘madoadoa’ expression was misunderstood

Meru Senator says remarks were not meant to incite or propagate hate speech

In Summary

Linturi's remarks angered Kenyans on Twitter including leaders

On Saturday, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Noordin Haji ordered investigations into Linturi's remarks.

Meru Senator Mithika Linturi.
Meru Senator Mithika Linturi.
Image: FILE

Meru Senator Mithika Linturi has apologized over his remarks in Eldoret during Deputy President William Ruto's rally.

Linturi said his ‘madoadoa” remarks on Saturday were not meant to incite or propagate hate speech.

“Today, while addressing the UDA rally at Eldoret, I expressed myself using words which in certain context, have acquired sinister political overtones and come to be associated with incitement and hate speech,” said the Senator.

“At that moment, I was vigorously urging our supporters to offer full support to UDA candidates in this year's election, and was oblivious of the possibility that my choice of words might assume negative meaning,” he added.

On Saturday, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Noordin Haji ordered investigations into Linturi's remarks.

In a letter to Inspector General of police, Hillary Mutyambai, Haji directed him to open investigations into the senator's remarks.

According to the DPP, Linturi's utterances could incite contempt, hatred, hostility, violence or discrimination.

"Pursuant to Article 157 (4) of the Constitution, I hereby direct that you immediately institute comprehensive investigations into the said allegation and submit the resultant investigations file on or before 14th January, 2022," Haji said.

In a video seen by the Star, Linturi is heard saying "Sisi tunataka kuwa kwa serikali inayokuja lakini nawaambia watu wa Uasin Gishu msicheze na Kenya na kile nawaomba ni kwamba madoadoa yale mliyonayo hapa muweze kuondoa. Hatuwezi kuwa tukisimama na William Ruto kule Mt Kenya na mko na wengine hapa hawasikii na hawawezi ungana naye..."

This loosely translates to, "We want to be in the coming government but I want to tell you people of Uasin Gishu not to play with Kenya and I am asking you to remove the spots you have here. We cannot stand with William Ruto from Mt Kenya yet you have people here who don't listen and cannot team up with him."

His remarks angered Kenyans on Twitter including leaders who came out and strongly condemned the sentiments. 

Linturi however said it never occurred to him that the use of the words  will be misunderstood as incitement.

“It is true that words like 'madoadoa', whilst otherwise innocent and legitimate expressions, have in certain contexts come to be understood as representing inflammatory intent. This context did not occur to me while I was speaking,” he observed.

He added that his use of these words was in specific reference to his parliamentary colleagues from Uasin Gishu county, who do not support UDA.

Linturi said he was asking voters to reject such MPs in favour of UDA candidates, “given that we are in a political contest, and they are our rivals.”

He however said he regretted his choice of words. 

“On further reflection, and upon the advise of my colleagues, I regretfully concede that my choice of words was unfortunate. I therefore apologise, unreservedly, for the discomfort they may have created,” said Linturi.

“I also take this opportunity to assure all Kenyans of my commitment, both as a citizen and as a leader, to national unity, peace, and cohesion within and among all communities,” he added.