With his foot in his mouth, Sudi dares powers that be
- At one point he surprisingly broke ranks with the DP and joined Gideon Moi to campaign for Kanu’s losing candidate in the 2016 Kericho Senate by-election.
- Mr Sudi has a reputation of being the DP’s most ardent defender, and recently took on President Kenyatta over the perceived selective war on corruption.
Coming from a modest background in Ngeria, Uasin Gishu County, to patronising the corridors of power must have given the feisty Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi something to crow about.
Mr Sudi, a one-time matatu tout whose academic qualifications are the subject of a court case, has in recent weeks attracted attention following his attacks on President Uhuru Kenyatta’s war on corruption, and his staunch support for Deputy President William Ruto.
Raised with his siblings as squatters on a prominent farmer’s land outside Moi University Main Campus in Kesses in the 1990s — a world away from his current massive house speculated to have cost Sh100 million — those who know the MP say he dropped out of primary school for lack of school fees and at one point worked as a tout in matatus that plied the Moi University-Eldoret Town route.
That was until he suddenly disappeared from Kesses to seek better prospects, with some saying he ended up in Mombasa.
The gods must have smiled on him, because when he returned to Kesses a few years later he was not wearing the forlorn face he left with, but was now driving a luxury car.
Friends and foes marvelled at his sudden wealth, and to the inquisitive ones he unconvincingly evaded their questions.
What was not in doubt was his generosity, giving people money and buying them a bottle or two of the devil’s drink.
Ever in a combative mood, he was often in the company of a retinue of hangers-on who did not take kindly to questions about the boss’s sudden wealth.
It was during this time that Mr Sudi, a polygamist, became a close business and family associate of Kisii politician Don Bosco Gichana, who was released from a Tanzania prison last year after being jailed for five years for money laundering.
The nouveau riche Sudi has never looked back since then, crowning his rise from grass to grace by capturing the newly created Kapseret parliamentary seat in the 2013 General Election and retaining it in 2017.
Perhaps it is the story of his improbable rise against all odds that has given him a bullish character — standing up to the powers-that-be and making statements many a politician would deem too explosive.
Mr Sudi has always portrayed himself as a staunch supporter of his fellow self-declared “hustler”, Deputy President William Ruto.
But at one point he surprisingly broke ranks with the DP and joined the aristocratic Baringo County Senator Gideon Moi to campaign for Kanu’s losing candidate in the 2016 Kericho County Senate by-election.
He also preferred the company of anti-Ruto rebels like Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills). Before that, he had nothing but contempt for Senator Moi.
"If it is Gideon you are telling us about, just let him go back to school,” he said at a press conference last year in response to claims that the Senator was preparing to run against the DP in 2022. “He's just like me, despite his good English.”
But Mr Sudi would again worm his way into the DP’s inner circle.
By then he was facing investigation, and was eventually charged in court, for forging academic certificates he presented to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to be cleared to contest the parliamentary seat in 2013. The case is ongoing.
Mr Sudi has a reputation of being the DP’s most ardent — some say sycophantic — defender, and recently took on President Kenyatta over the perceived selective war on corruption.
Last Sunday, Mr Sudi accused the President and ODM leader Raila Odinga of acting holier-than-thou in the war on graft yet their families too had been mentioned in the past.
It was a remark that irked the President so much that during his speech at the annual devolution conference in Kirinyaga, he responded by saying, “If you have evidence against me” report to the Directorate of Criminal Investigation.
But Mr Sudi was unrepentant. “I have heard you repeatedly say the fight against corruption is not against any community or individuals,” the MP posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday.
“In fact, your so-called fight against corruption is targeted at individuals and a community.”
Ever-ready with a choice insult or put-down to the DP’s political opponents, this is not the first time the MP is sparring with President Kenyatta on matters corruption.
Last year when the President said public servants should undergo lifestyle audit to ascertain the source of their wealth, the MP said the exercise should be extended to how the Kenyatta family acquired its enormous wealth, to which the President responded: “That's perfect. We can even go back to my grandfather, to my great-grandfather.”
Only time will tell how far the “Sonko of Eldoret”, as his acolytes call him, will fly close to the sun before being burnt and forced back down to earth.