TZ minister’s oratory skills charm Kenyans

Thursday, November 28th, 2019 11:00 |
Tanzanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Palamagamba Kabudi addresses delegates at the Bomas of Kenya, yesterday. Photo/PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

Tanzania’s Foreign Affairs Minister Palamagamba Kabudi stole the show at Bomas of Kenya yesterday, when he lectured Kenyans on the importance of nationhood as he rallied them to embrace unity.

Kabudi, who received prolonged applause from the crowd, also took Kenyans through some Kiswahili lessons.

The minister spoke during the launch of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report amid some political tension between rival politicians but he charmed his way into Kenyans’ hearts through his mastery of Kiswahili and a speech dotted with interesting anecdotes and a call for national cohesion.

Delegates at Bomas and those watching the proceedings on TV suddenly found themselves in a Kiswahili sanifu classroom with the minister not mincing his words as he criticised those planting seeds of discord.

Divide Kenyans

Kabudi, a man of good diction and prowess in Kiswahili, began by acknowledging the guests present in a manner that led delegates to burst into laughter when he referred to BBI task force chair Yusuf Haji as “Mheshimiwa Seneta Yusuf Haji, mwenyekiti wa kikosi kazi, yaani task force cha jitihada ya ujenzi wa madaraja nchini hii.”

His Kiswahili lessons did not stop there, the minister went ahead and clarified that when appreciating a woman the best word to use is “hongera” and for men “kongole”.  “Pongezi” is used to congratulate a group.

But little did many know that his language lesson was setting a stage for a more intense lecture that would focus on the political differences that have divided Kenyans for a long time.

“Kenya is a great nation full of great people who have been messed up by tribalism. We in Tanzania have more tribes than Kenya but still manage to coexist peacefully. Why do you Kenyans fight after every electioneering year?” posed Kabudi.

The visiting minister appeared to capture the mood of the 7,000 delegates when describing how Kenya had the brightest people in the region but most of them don’t benefit from the country because of divisive politics.

Watch steps

“Kenya has the greatest brains in the region, from entrepreneurs, economists and experts in every field. I always had this question: How do these people allow themselves to succumb into cronyism, parochialism and unending tribalism?” he posed.

He did not spare politicians who were seated quietly next to him, blaming them for the divisions in the country. He said most Kenyan politicians lacked goodwill to foster unity and cohesion.

However, Kabudi praised the BBI, saying it had all the good intentions of bringing the country together.

“Realism in the BBI is important and urgent for this country. We applaud the two leaders, President Kenyatta for his magnanimity. He would just have said that he is the President and moved on. We applaud Raila, too, because he didn’t act stubborn,” said Kabudi.

He said other East African Community countries were keenly watching what was happening in Kenya and cautioned leaders to watch their steps.  

Support bid

“ Your (Kenya’s) peace is not only important to you but to the East African region, too. If we allow you to fail on the basis of tribalism and negative ethnicity, we fail too as a region,” he said.

To crown his 24-minute lecture, the law professor brought in a significant gesture by urging everyone who was inside the packed room to hold hands as they recited words of unity.

At the same time, the minister said Tanzania pledged to fully support Kenya’s bid for a United Nations Security Council seat.

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