Orengo Defends Hustler Narrative Against New Law

  • A file photo of Siaya senator James Orengo
    A file photo of Siaya senator James Orengo
    Citizen Digital
  • The proposal to incriminate anyone who incites Kenyans along the 'hustler versus dynasty' narrative was on Tuesday, February 16 met with strong reactions from political leaders.

    Siaya Senator and Senate Minority leader James Orengo opposed the National Cohesion and Integration Bill that has proposed a five-year imprisonment or Ksh5 million fine for anyone who brings up the 'hustler and dynasty' split.

    The Bill, crafted by Paul Koinange through the Parliament’s National Security Committee, states that ,“A person who has been dismissed or removed from office for a contravention of sections 62(1) and 62A(1) is disqualified from holding any other State or public office.”

    An image of Ruto and Orengo
    Deputy President William Ruto (left) and Siaya Senator James Orengo (right) shaking hands at a past event.
    The Standard

    Orengo said that criminalising the hustler slogan was a  threat to Kenya's democracy.  He defended it further saying it was a form of free speech citing sedition laws that were used by past regimes to subjugate Kenyans into silence.

    “To criminalise what somebody is saying is a great betrayal to the people of Kenya,” said the senator. 

    He also stated that those supporting the Bill were acting in an effort to oppose Deputy President Wiliam Ruto’s campaign slogan. 

    Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichungwah was also in support of Orengo’s sentiments saying, “This country has more pressing priorities than such proposals done out of political desperation. Let’s focus on matters that will uplift our people’s economy that is in ruin. Let them try not to fix political opponents using retrogressive proposals.”

    Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua strongly opposed the Bill, warning the National Cohesion and Integration Committee (NCIC) against presenting the bill for debate. 

    "They want to misuse the law and silence us. We are not worried at all as the constitution clearly provides situations whereby the DP can be impeached and not through the backdoor like using this bill," Gachagua opposed. 

    The hustler narrative is the foundational basis for Ruto’s 2022 election strategy, even as the DP's enemies have accused him of propagating a class war in Kenya. 

    The DP said that his policies would centre on including the people in decision-making without including violence. He denied excluding those who are wealthy or who hail from privileged backgrounds. 

    "I want to tell those opposing the narrative that they are the perpetrators of violence. They want to fund violence and later on blame the hustlers. They will be defeated. We do not have time for violence as we are focusing on making money and raising the economy through the hustlers. We are preaching peace," Ruto said.

    Members of Senate in session at Parliament Building Nairobi on January 29, 2020.
    Members of Senate in session at Parliament Building Nairobi on January 29, 2020.
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