Close

WHAT'S IN A MONIKER?

DP Ruto's hustler paradox

People know you by what you call yourself. Or the kind of image watchers have of you. Perception is everything.

In Summary

• Mudavadi has not lived up to his billing as 'phantom'.

• Kalonzo has been called a watermelon—a certified fence-sitter.

Ruto's hustler paradox
Ruto's hustler paradox
Image: STAR ILLUSTRATED

There once lived a dog named Sudhe in a village around Lake Victoria. Back then they hunted wild animals across dry gullies, occasionally turning in game meat.

Sudhe was a good puppy—brown, alert, sturdy and ambitious. He was a hunter's dream dog. But Sudhe grew into an ill-tempered canine. He was never the owner's best friend, in spite of its hunting prowess.     

Occasionally, he would bite a child or tear their clothes for fun, all the while barking eerily. Sudhe would attack hens without provocation. Eggs often disappeared from coops. But Sudhe was tolerated because he floored antelopes.     

 
 

Regularly being unleashed on wild animals, the dog became a sudhe:  Wild, greedy, ill-tempered and mean. Other dogs detested Sudhe's overbearing company. Better groomed dogs suffered on account of Sudhe's misadventures. Sudhe had been given a bad name that killed it when it fell into disfavour.   

The real sudhe is a wild dog—a rabid dog. A dog that suffers neglect, strays into the wild and returns to haunt the neighbourhood. Sudhe is a cousin of the wolf.     

The DP has styled himself a hustler, which is the source of the image crisis. The man needs a brand that carries a positive image of his bubbly energy, verve, and presidential ambition. The hustler tag is tainted in a country where millions are hustling to survive in a callous world of stingy billionaires.   

Sudhe bites everything. Bitten dogs become wild, barking like a sudhe. If such a dog is not treated within 24 hours, it becomes a sudhe.     

Such was the image created of Sudhe during its puppyhood, while it lived among reasonable dogs. It was given a bad name and died a sudhe. Sudhe looked a sudhe; barked like a sudhe; ate like a sudhe; it was a sudhe.   

Last month four people were said to have been arrested for stealing eggs, worth Sh2,500, at Deputy President William Ruto's farm in Uasin Gishu. The suspects were said to be workers at the DP's Sugoi farm.   

The four – two women and two men – were torn between stealing and keeping their jobs. The desire to survive in a harsh, hustler economy overwhelmed their better judgment.     

Then there is the trending international hustle – the fake gold scam – allegedly sucking in Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Hustler tag has acquired a political hue, with sudhe personas on the rampage across the land.     

 
 
 

The Urban Dictionary defines hustler as someone who knows how to get money from others, selling drugs, rolling dice, pimping.   

The English Oxford Dictionary defines hustler as an aggressive seller, or illicit dealer, and a prostitute. The Collins English Dictionary defines a hustler as a prostitute, especially a male prostitute. For Cambridge English Dictionary, a hustler is someone who deceives people into giving them money.     

These dictionaries agree a hustler is a person who is hard-working; who knows how to get around problems, or a person who makes money by doing something dishonest. A hustler stops at nothing to get what he wants. One Sudhe too many is a crisis.     

The definitions present a branding challenge. People know you by what you call yourself. Or the kind of image watchers have of you. Perception is everything.   

Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudadvadi was 'phantom' as an invisible rugby player, but he has not lived up to his billing in the political realm. Kalonzo Musyoka has been called a watermelon—a certified fence-sitter.  The former VP detests the sticky moniker.     

Former President Kibaki was a fence-sitter, a man who had no idea he could die for. For his apparent neutral guise, Kibaki was a compromise opposition presidential candidate in 2002. The country then needed a changeover from the Kanu monopoly.     

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga is Agwambo—an enigma. He is also Tinga— a tractor that swallowed the Kanu cockerel to aid regime change in 2002.     

The DP has styled himself a hustler, which is the source of the image crisis. The man needs a brand that carries a positive image of his bubbly energy, verve, and presidential ambition. The hustler tag is tainted in a country where millions are hustling to survive in a callous world of stingy billionaires.