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'I paid four cows to marry the general’s daughter,' says Duale

Aden duale       The Majority leader in Parliament Aden Duale speaks in his office during the interview on Friday,June 27. PHOTOS:COLLINS KWEYU

You say you are better off being a sycophant of a sitting president than a sycophant of somebody not in power. Are you a sycophant?

My history proves that I am no sycophant. I only strongly support what I believe in. I joined politics in 2008 and midway in 2009, I differed with ODM on principle, after they failed to honour their pledges. I left and formed a new party - URP.

ODM took me to court and I incurred Sh10 million in legal fees. That’s how principled I am. But if defending Jubilee and President Uhuru Kenyatta will earn me the tag ‘sycophant’, then you can go ahead and write, Aden Barre Duale, the sycophant of Uhuru Kenyatta.

You seem to have lots of bile for Raila. Why?

Raila inducted me into politics, so I respect him a lot. We were once very close friends. Our beef is not personal, it’s just politics. Politically, I went to the Raila Odinga primary and secondary schools.

At the university, it’s William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta who have taught me. So, I am a good student of Raila Odinga’s, William Ruto’s and Uhuru Kenyatta’s schools of politics. I respect Raila, but I will not falter in my criticism should he err. I will boldly tell him if and when he’s wrong

Where do you get the zeal and energy you display in Parliament?

I have passion for what I do. The best job that I can ever do on this earth is being a parliamentarian. I sleep at 10pm and wake up at 5am for prayers.

I do a bit of jogging on my treadmill at home, then read the bills on the day’s order paper. I read and internalise the constitution and the standing orders. If I don’t perform well in this position, I’m dead politically. Those salivating for this office should know it’s no easy task.

As a former teacher, what is your take on the proposed issuance of condoms and family planning pills to school children?

In my opinion, this is an immoral and ‘dirty’ bill. How do you introduce condoms to 10-year-olds. I wonder whether Senator Sijeny (Judith Sijeny is the sponsor of the Reproductive Healthcare Bill 2014) has a family. Our party is ‘republican’, we don’t believe in contraceptives, premarital sex or homosexuality. As a matter of fact, we will never allow people of unconventional sexual orientations in URP.

Do you think the Somali community has been treated fairly by Jubilee?

The Somali community has a history of marginalisation. They were not treated well by the first two presidents. They were not treated that badly by the Kibaki government. But from where I seat, the Somali community has got the best chance under Uhuru’s leadership.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has mainstreamed the Somali community in his government with three cabinet secretaries and the Leader of the Majority in Parliament. But there are certain elements in this society who feel threatened by the Somali community because of business rivalry.



Did you actually say that terrorists should throw their grenades and bombs in other parts of the country not occupied by Somalis?

What I meant was that Somalis should rid Eastleigh of bad elements, because it is them who are paying the heaviest price in the form of police brutality whenever there’s a terror attack in the area. I told them to get rid of criminal elements through community policing.

What I said was lost in translation and misinterpreted. If the media houses wanted to get the correct position on the matter, they should have consulted BBC Somali Service. Despite the accusations against us, the biggest victims of Al-Shabaab are actually Somalis in Eastleigh, Mandera and Wajir.

Is it true that you are married to the daughter of retired General Mahmoud Mohammed?

Yes. The retired general is my father-in-law. Dowry is not prohibitive in our community. I only paid four cows for my wife. I have five sons, with the eldest in university, and  the youngest in kindergarten. I love my family so much, I make sure I never get home later than 8pm in the evening.

After my last prayer in the office at around 6pm, I pass through the Parliament bar for a little chit-chat with colleagues over a bottle of soda. I then go home where I must eat dinner prepared and served by my wife at 8pm. This has been the case since we got married.

I usually take vegetables and meat for dinner. I don’t eat lunch, unless I have a lunch appointment. I only take fruits and a bottle of Fanta Orange during the day. I never take tea or carbohydrates after four since I am watching my weight.

There is this perception, especially among social media users, that Adan Duale is one of the most-hated politicians in Kenya. What is your take on this?

Fifty per cent of those who dislike me are from the other side of the political divide, which is very clear even in the social media. These are people who are obsessed with the likes of Jakoyo Midiwo and Milly Odhiambo, so they don’t really bother me.

 A few days ago, a young man actually posted on Facebook that he would like to be like me when he grows up. Prominent lawyers in the country always ask if I am a student of law due to my grasp of matters law. Kenya is divided almost across the middle. Just like Mheshimiwa Raila is loved and hated by many, so is Duale.

What is your relationship with the President?

You know the President has never changed his telephone number since joining politics. And he personally picks when I call. Sometimes I get the President’s missed calls, particularly when I am in prayer or in Parliament. I usually call him back.

Can you imagine getting a missed call from the President? Of course after that I’ll have to make haste and meet him in his office to discuss what prompted the call.

The problem is that I am yet to get used to calling him Mr President. I think one of these days he is going to take me to me task over this (laughs).

For instance, I recently made a serious slip-up and had to apologise profusely, even though he, and the Deputy President, laughed it off. I was talking to the two, and found myself saying: ‘you know you guys...’ It’s the Deputy President who noted the gaffe. I was like, ‘I am very sorry, your excellencies’. I like these two guys so much that I will quit politics when they retire.




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