Opposition leader Raila Odinga on Wednesday cautioned MPs against passing a proposed bill meant to criminalize Deputy President William Ruto’s 2022 hustler narrative.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader was reacting to National Assembly’s National Security Committee proposed bill that seeks to impose severe fines, jail term and even removal from office for leaders propagating the political narrative whose opponents claim is dangerous and likely to lead to chaos.
“As I have explained on several occasions, the “hustlers vs dynasties” is a dangerous slogan. It is scary in its similarity to Adolf Hitler’s national socialism, most often referred to as Nazism, the ideology of the Nazi Party, which ruled Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945,” said Raila, reminding the world that such a worldview led to the mass slaughter of Jewish people in Europe as Hitler conquered nation after nation in his insatiable appetite for world domination.
But Raila, in a word of caution, told parliamentarians legislating against any political slogan, dangerous or otherwise, curtails fundamental rights and freedoms, for which many Kenyans, including himself, paid a dear price for when they were arrested and detained by the Nyayo regime without trial.
“As a country, we fought for and should respect free speech and association. We should be able to allow the Deputy President and his team to continue with their chosen slogan without any inhibitions,” said Raila.
DP Ruto has faced a barrage of criticism for allegedly stoking a class war pitting the rich against the poor by alluding that the impoverished have been neglected by the ruling class.
His narrative has pitted the so-called dynasties, families with strong political roots, and hustlers, which contextually implies mostly the struggling class who live from hand to mouth.
However, in his defense, Ruto contends that the majority of Kenyans who are mostly youthful, have had a raw deal from policymakers with trickle-down economies not benefiting them.
As he seeks to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House in 2022, Ruto, like all other politicians must court the youth and the economically-struggling for they form a large part of the voting constituents.