Just hours after the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) listed ‘Hatupangwingwi’ among the words and phrases likely to spread hate during the ongoing electioneering period, Deputy President William Ruto released a remix of the song Sipangwingwi.
Last month, during the unveiling of the DP as the UDA party presidential candidate nominee the second in command danced to his signature campaign song Mimi Sipangwingwi a song that has been widely used in his campaign rallies.
Sipangwingwi, an expression were singers Exray ‘Taniua’ (Tony Kinyanjui), and TK Mario Kasela aka Trio Mio corrupted it from what would have been “huwa sipangwi (no one makes plans for me)” in proper Swahili, is now firmly part of political talk, same as it is being used in everyday conversations and social media posts.
NCIC chairperson, Rev Samuel Kobia on Friday said that there are political expressions of hate that are triggering dissonance among communities and political followers of various parties.
“We know that death and life are in the power of the tongue. The commission has classified terms, which have been regularly used in Kenya’s political landscape with the intent to provoke violence among communities of diverse political viewpoints,” he said.
Last year, the DP in a function to illustrate his claim that he is a self-made man used the words Sipangwingwi.
“Vile Wakenya wamesema hawapangwingwi na mimi nataka niwaambie, mimi kama hustler sipangwingwi. Wao wanaweza kupangwa na deep state, wapangwe na system, lakini sisi hatupangwingwi,” said Dr Ruto, to mean that he, being a hustler, has no one to order him around unlike his opponents whose plans may be the making of the deep state.
The word was included in a lexicon of other words termed hate speech by the NCIC.
“Violence-Free Elections ahead of the August 2022 polls remains our core business. We have intensified our programs to ensure this goal is attained. We call for an end of divisive talks and call for political tolerance,” he said.
The musicians behind the hit song have since been sucked into different political factions if their recent meetings are anything to go by.
Singer Trio Mio performed at former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja event in Nairobi in December and four days later Exray who composed the song was pictured with Deputy President William Ruto.
Already, a section of politicians have questioned NCIC’s move to flag down the sheng word, wondering how it promotes hate speech.
Kenyans also had their say.