A Friday tweet by Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen calling out police over brutality meted out on Mombasa constituents last evening ended in the Elgeyo-Marakwet seemingly referring to a top government official as Mr Ibu.
Mr Ibu is one of the stage names of popular Nigerian actor John Okafor, who often plays the role of a slow-witted member of the society.
On Friday night, Kenyans, including Senator Murkomen, took to social media to complain over terror unleashed on residents of Mombasa, Kisumu and Garissa counties by police.
Ugly scenes of the inhabitants being hit using batons, kicked, slapped, punched and rudely referred to, became commonplace on Friday night.
In Mombasa, at around 5pm Friday, Likoni ferry users were clobbered by a contingent of law enforcement officers comprising regular police, anti-riot police, NYS recruits, among others.
Defending the police officers’ actions, Police Spokesperson Charles Owino told K24 Television Friday evening: “Ferry users in Mombasa defied social distancing guidelines and stoned police officers; this, prompted law enforcers to apply force. However, the officers’ actions are regrettable.”
That explanation by the police spokesperson did not satisfy Murkomen, who took to micro-blogging site, Twitter, to fault the law enforcement agents on how they enforced the curfew directive.
“Every law or directive is meant to cure a particular mischief. The curfew is meant to curb the spread of COVID-19, and not to torture Kenyans. The security managers are behaving as though they have a grudge against Kenyans, and are using COVID-19 as an excuse to revenge. It must stop forthwith,” tweeted Murkomen.
The senator’s post attracted over 1, 500 retweets and 1, 000 comments. David Makali, a veteran journalist, was one of the Twitter users who responded to Murkomen’s message.
He said: “Of what use is a curfew if it is not effective? And how should it be enforced if the citizens don't want to obey directives? At least in the same breath, condemn the citizens who ignore the law or for any reason don't comply with directives. In Elgeyo-Marakwet County life is business as usual.”
Makali’s response, seemingly, irritated the senator, who responded by saying: “Congratulations to you David. Mr.Ibu must be very proud of you.”
Former State House digital strategist Dennis Itumbi commented by laughing at Murkomen’s response to Makali. “Hahaa,” tweeted Itumbi.
The Mr Ibu tag used by Murkomen disappointed a section of his followers, who called out the senior lawmaker for “lacking political maturity and tolerance” towards leaders whom he does not share ideologies with.
Hellen Kadenge, who goes by the Twitter handle @HellenKadenge, said: “@kipmurkomen, the Mr Ibu part was not necessary, especially coming from you Bwana Senator.”
Another user, Job, who goes by the Twitter handle @expertresearch_, said: “@kipmurkomen, that joke shouldn't really come from someone like you. You might open floodgates for some uncouth nicknames to be thrown here anyhow.”
Spax Omar (@Spax147) said: “@kipmurkomen, some people are not used to jokes. Wait for the interpretation of your tweet.”
Kirwa Magut (@Araap_Magut) said: “Name-calling means vacuity... No issue-based argument. Ad hominem!”
Don (@DonRobin7) said: “Even in critical times, Murkomen is still inclined to opposition politics. Why don't you give an alternative way of enforcing the curfew instead of lamenting bitterly?”
Peter Baraza (@PeterBaraza) said: “@kipmurkomen, you are also using the name Ibu? Sir, you have been intoxicated with triviality and cheap criticism.”
Mugira (@DenisMugira) said: “@kipmurkomen, so even leaders call their seniors names?”