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Dear Mama Ida, a mother's spit must never carry venom

 Mama Ida Odinga. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Up until their clean sheet was sullied by France, consequently silencing millions of fans across the continent, Morocco's national team was vaunted the strongest defence in the 2022 World Cup.

That impressive guard however cannot compare to what Mama Ida Odinga has put up in the last couple of weeks to shield her family ostensibly from ornery prodigal sons and daughters.

At events in Homa Bay and Siaya, the spouse of opposition supremo Raila Odinga reviled politicians who have fallen out of her husband and family's fold, imputing them for disrespect.

How dare they wag their ignoble fingers at her noble husband and where, pray tell, do they get temerity to criticise the regal family? The family are the unequivocal royalty of Luo Nation. Not exactly her words, but this is what I inferred from her remarks.

"You cannot rewrite history, particularly of those who have already written their own history," she said and went ahead to undress the men who at one time begged her family. In Luo culture, one does not feed someone and gloat about it. We say "chiemo en ich motop, ok isungi," (food only stays in the stomach for a while then comes out as something rotten, do not brag with it).

It is also an open secret that those who dine and wine on Raila's table more often than not pick the tab. There are no free meals in Karen or Opoda and I know the men who ate at Ida's home made up for it one way or the other.

I am inconvertibly, a Luo. In my next life, even if I am to reincarnate as a village hound, may I find a hearth somewhere in Nyakach or Asembo. But I also belong to a generation not beholden to Ida, her husband, or their nuclear and extended family. We do not recognise the informal Luo monarchy nor abide by the unwritten edicts of thou shall not criticise the Odinga fiefdom.

And this is what piqued 'Min Piny' as Ida is fondly known. However, we are no longer captives of rhetoric about the elusive Canaan. We loathe kissing the ring and we know the distinction between loyalty and subservience. To us, "freedom has come."

Indeed, a spouse can be a powerful collaborator for a politician, but one has to be more careful while dealing with allies or foes. History aligns with this argument in the tale of Argentina's Juan Peron and his wife Evita who rallied the los descamisados behind her husband, marshalled the women and ensured they were granted suffrage and working rights.

Kenya has over 50 political parties, and Mama Ida is the only spouse of a party leader who has veto powers. Mothers resolve conflicts within the confines of the room, not by shouting for bystanders to hear. Mothers do not feed and tell, neither do they embrace only the offspring who have something to offer. Mothers do not threaten children who chart a path different from the wishes of the father.

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