Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rachel Shebesh sparked mixed reactions on Twitter on Friday, when she showered praise on the husband of the Late Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso and -- indirectly -- slammed her own spouse.
Speaking at the requiem mass of the Late Laboso in Bomet, Shebesh said Dr Edwin Abonyo, Laboso’s husband, was a gift to Laboso from heaven, whereas her [Shebesh] own husband, Frank Ambundo Shebesh, “came to her while walking”.
The Gender CAS made the remarks to express her admiration for Abonyo’s love toward the late governor.
“Edwin, you are a true reflection of love. Joyce told us that she is luckier than all of us combined. And, I agree. You are all those husbands who come from heaven. Ours came walking, whereas you came from heaven. She said it a thousand times. If you did not know that, know it today. All the conversations I had with Joyce were about your love,” said Shebesh.
Her remarks, immediately, triggered excitement on Twitter, with a section of online users arguing that the former Nairobi Woman Rep was “trying too hard to impress”.
Twitter user, Fredrick OG, said: “A husband inheritor [has been] detected.”
Ekuru Logol said: “Sasa Shebesh anataka kuchukua Abonyo mapema hii?”
Blogger Abraham Mutai said: “Shebesh is trying too much [to impress]”.
John Bless, however, saw nothing wrong with Shebesh’s remarks, saying: “Genuine, sincere and honest praise is as effective as well driven nails.”
-Super human being-
The CAS’s statement echoes the praise Deputy President William Ruto showered on Mr Abonyo on Thursday during the Late governor’s memorial service held at the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi.
“Even in the difficult moments Joyce was going through, I want to tell you, Edwin, that you became a true friend to your wife. You were always there,” said the DP.
During his speech Thursday, the DP also revealed how Abonyo welcomed a move to have his [Abonyo’s] name dropped from his wife’s ballot identification.
Ruto said the move was aimed at helping Laboso to successfully run for a parliamentary seat after the death of Laboso’s sister, Lorna, in June 2008.The Late Lorna Laboso was the then-Sotik MP.
And Lorna’s elder sister, Joyce, who was a university lecturer at the time, expressed interest in succeeding Lorna, saying she wanted to continue what her sister had begun.
“Joyce was persuaded to run for the then-vacant Sotik MP office,” DP Ruto said.
“After heeding to the persuasion, [she approached me] as her bigger brother in the world of politics and told me: ‘There is a small matter I want to tell you before I finally make this decision [of plunging into the race to succeed Lorna]’,” said Ruto.
“Joyce went ahead to tell me: ‘You know my husband is Mr Abonyo [who hails from the Luo community]. That might become an issue, [that would lead to me losing in the race for Sotik MP]’. I told her: ‘Joyce, we will craft a message to deal with that. And, we will insist that you are the daughter of Mr Laboso. Please, ask Edwin not to mind if we do not put his name in our arrangement’.
“From that moment, I realised that Joyce had a super human being for a husband. He did not interfere with Joyce’s career. He, actually, supported Joyce as she pursued her political career. Even in the difficulties that Joyce went through, I want to tell Edwin, you became a true friend to your wife. You were always there,” said Ruto.
“Of course, Joyce went ahead to win the Sotik parliamentary seat and, thereafter, her [political career grew. Joyce eventually developed a rapport with many of us, and, progressively, she became part of our circle. She was a very resourceful person as said by people who worked with her.
“I want to attest that she was indeed resourceful, bright, and forthright. Whenever you asked her about her opinion, she would not beat about the bush. She would be forthright, candid and truthful,” said the DP.
Joyce Laboso succumbed to ovarian cancer on Tuesday, July 29.
She will be laid to rest at her matrimonial home in Fort Ternan in Koru, Kisumu County on Saturday, August 3.