Why Michael Joseph's tribute to Collymore has stirred up a storm

By Vincent Kejitan | Friday, Jul 5th 2019 at 15:32
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Interim Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph is under fire after a statement he made during the memorial service of the late Bob Collymore was been deemed racist by some quarters.

While eulogizing the deceased through a poem, Joseph said he had changed his perception of Collymore over time and described him as a ‘white man in a black body.’

“Over the last 15 years I went from being amused by this white man in a black body pretending to be a very serious corporate person to really becoming a serious corporate leader,” he said.

His sentiments elicited mixed reactions online as some netizens accused him of being racist by portraying whites as superior.

This was also pointed out by blogger Robert Alai who strongly condemned the statement.

“According to Michael Joseph, no black man can have the compassion and other positive mannerisms of Bob,” he tweeted.

Joseph immediately replied by saying that is not what he meant, adding that his statement had a touch of humour.

“You missed the point and the humour!” said MJ.

Some netizens then put him to task to explain how his statement was supposed to be funny.

Kim Kong: Explain the humour please, how is a white man in a black body humorous? Is it because he behaved so well, uncharacteristic of blacks? This purports white supremacy.

Ben Kinyua: It's humor when you say it in your house but an insult when you say it in public especially to the blacks. The mouth speaks what is in the heart. When you speak we know what you are thinking.

Francis Kagema: No sir. Your comment was racist. Accept and apologise. Otherwise this will escalate. We black people in black skins will resist, very loudly.

Some, however, did not see anything wrong with his statement and told him not to give in to ‘social media bullies’.

David Omondi: Ooh please spare us the BS. We all know he referred to culture, not ability. Never heard "uko na uzungu mingi?" Don't have to always be toxic in your thinking.

Joy Doreen Biira: My dad says the same about my sister “you’re a white girl trapped in a black body”... because of how calm she remains when things don’t go her way. I think it’s an expression?

Elphas Bengo: Actually I think he meant he was cultured as a white man in behavior and ethics. He meant good.

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