For all its promise of lofty and elevated discussions on the technical aspects of the handshake report, the Bomas meeting was laced with humour, jokes and light tackles that saved the day.
From reading the wrong Biblical citations, rare unanimity on opposition leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto on roguishness of Kenyan media to a presidential free-pass for another wife, Bomas was all but heavy.
Hot on the heels of recent Uhuru’s pronouncement of a wish for a second wife, a University of Nairobi Law student offered herself, live, to be the son of Jomo’s clandestine lover.
Speaking in sign language, a wisecracking Ashura Michael, deaf human rights and gender activist, said she had heard that Uhuru was considering marrying a second wife and she wanted to take the Head of State up on his offer.
“Mr President, you were recently in Kisumu and I heard you say you are looking for mpango wa kando (side chick). I know mama (First Lady Margaret Kenyatta) agreed. My father Raila is here and he is ready to take the dowry and if my brother the Deputy President agrees, he will be the best man,” Ashura said as the auditorium broke into a fit of laughter.
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Uhuru laughed as if he had never heard anything funnier. He fist-bumped Raila and gestured to Deputy President William Ruto, who were seated next to him on the dais, perhaps asking if he should go ahead.
West Pokot Senator Samuel Poghisio deployed a double entendre to urge Uhuru on. First, Poghisio said the BBI document they were launching was like a Bible, as one was bound to find whatever they sought from the pages of the holy book.
“If you want to marry many women you can find it in the Bible, it depends on what you want to read,” Poghisio said.
The President took it to be part of the joke, saying, later when his turn to address the crowd came, that he and Poghisio needed to have a chat over the specific passage in the Bible that talked about polygamy.
“When we’re done here you’ll show me which one it is so that I can read it well,” Uhuru said. Then, turning to Ashura, he added, “halafu tutaongea baadaye (then we will talk).”
Then came Bishop David Oginde, who prophesied the unity of the “new dynamic duo” of Raila and Ruto in 2022. He also called for a ceasefire of their respective dances - reggae on Raila’s case and hustler on Ruto’s in preference for a middle ground in Jerusalema move.
“Your excellency, perhaps it is time that hustlers should pause their hustling for a moment and reggae dancers pause their dance for a moment and join together for a serious Jerusalema dance for the peace and unity of this nation,” said Bishop Oginde, amid laughter.
Ruto responded: “Let me remind you (Oginde)… Abraham Lincoln said: Things may come to those who wait, but only things left by those who hustle. He was never talking about the rich and the poor.”
Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli also lit the event with his signature “Shenzi”, and “Yes! Yes!” shouts. He finished his speech with a quick call for a referendum, telling Ruto and his allies, who have been against the report, that the pro-BBI lot would not be cowed.
“Rais, hii document nataka kukuambia pamoja mkiwa na ndugu yako (Raila Odinga) musitishwe…leteni twende kwa referendum. We are the majority…we are the people... Asubuhi saa nne itakuwa imepita. Msitishwe,” said Atwoli.
Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua brought in some freshness after appearing to fight the report for a week. Mutua fused in some scribbled down sheng, tickling the crowds.
Raila wrongly quoted the Bible in Isaiah 1. Instead of saying Isaiah Chapter 1, verse 18 (1:18), he confused verse and chapter and even misquoted the verse as Isaiah 1 and chapter 82 (1:82) yet the last verse of this chapter is 31).
Ruto could be overheard correcting him from a distance. Raila later reclaimed his lost ground with humour, which was directed at Ruto, when he equaled BBI to a new born child with no disabilities, and which cannot later be disowned.
The Head of State tore into his deputy with relay jokes. “Namshukuru DP upande wa Jubilee kwa sababu tulisonga pamoja. Hapa katikati ndio 2022 ikaanza... akasahau yale mengine... Ndio maana nasema tutulize ball… Hii race ni relay. Lakini sasa hapa my brother William anapinduka anakimbia nyuma… Mos mos tutafika tu…” he said.