Bar-bull Owino and his zero-sum Baba math

Bar-bull Owino and his zero-sum Baba math
Photo credit: John Nyaga | Nation Media Group

Being the mathematics enthusiast that he is, Embakasi East MP Babu Owino believes everything must be divisible by his party leader Raila Odinga.

“My loyalty to Raila is unquestionable.”

“Raila Odinga is the only leader feared by Isis and al-Shabaab in equal proportions.”

“Disloyalty to Raila Odinga is loyalty to Satan.”

“May you (Mr Odinga) live long to serve Kenyans until you say ‘it’s enough.’”

“Thank you God for making Raila Odinga the 5th president of Kenya and thank you too for making Ruto the opposition leader of Kenya.”

Those are among the lines he has used previously to express his support for Mr Odinga in social media posts.

And if any person fails the Odinga divisibility test as per Mr Owino’s standards, what follows is being included in the lawmaker’s equations that often have an insult somewhere or a threat, a rancid joke and sometimes brute force.

As per Mr Owino’s calculations, Citizen TV journalist Muraya Kariuki is among those who have failed to cross-multiply to produce Mr Odinga as the answer, and so he was a prime target for vile attacks.

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Through calls, texts and tweets last week, Mr Owino sent unsavoury messages to Mr Kariuki, accusing him of orchestrating unfair coverage to the ODM party leader and claiming that the editor was doing Deputy President William Ruto’s bidding.

Media freedom

Mr Kariuki would later post about it while asking Mr Owino to make a formal complaint if he felt wronged in any way. An unapologetic Mr Owino would continue his onslaught while replying to the editor’s tweets.

One of his tweets read: “Your agemates are at CNN while you are still here whining.”

Another one said: “You told me that you choose whoever appears on news. I see how important you are. Even my grandmother can do that.”

There has been condemnation from the Media Council of Kenya and the Kenya Union of Journalists, among others who see this as an affront to media freedom. But Mr Owino appears unmoved. Where his x axis meets the y axis, something has to give. Whether it is an insult straight from the kennel, slapping, punching or brandishing a firearm, Mr Owino will always have a response.

On his Facebook page, his motto reads: “Fear is a liar. It motivates your enemy.”

It is a philosophy the Kisumu Boys alumnus appears to live by in his political career that began ahead of the 2013 General Election when he unsuccessfully attempted to be the Westlands MP. But it is a costly philosophy to him, given that it has seen him charged in court and the cases are ongoing.

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Lately, there is something certain to happen, just as the lengths of the opposite and adjacent sides of a right angle triangle add up to the hypotenuse as per the Pythagoras’s theorem. It is that whenever Mr Owino becomes a trending topic on social media, DJ Evolve also crops up and often eclipses the MP.

The DJ, whose real name is Felix Orinda, sustained a debilitating injury early last year in an incident that later saw Mr Owino charged with attempted murder.

Mr Owino studied actuarial science at the University of Nairobi for his first degree. It is a profession that partly deals with mathematical probabilities. And if we were to take an educated guess, we’ll predict that the probability of him being asked to apologise in Parliament or saying something weird before his term ends is 21/22. This is going by what he has said before.

“Honourable Babu, please put on your mask,” said the Speaker during a debate in March 2021.

“I have a long nose, so I will not breathe well,” he replied.

The Speaker’s response was: “Do not worry about the nose; it will be cut to size.”

The House burst into laughter.

And in November 2018, when he was forced to apologise for fighting with Starehe MP Charles Njagua within the Parliament precincts a year earlier, he was forced to repeat his apology.

“Honourable deputy speaker, I would like to apologise. I would like to say that on that particular day I did not slap Honourable Njagua. It is his cheeks that moved towards my hands. But I am ready to apologise,” the youthful MP said.

The speaker’s response was: “Can you repeat the apology? Because it has to be unreserved and without jokes.”

If Mr Owino were a number, he would be evenly odd. And a divisible by Mr Odinga. But he prefers being likened to a jet.

“Babu is a space jet that was invented in 2008, assembled by UoN comrades in 2011 and launched by Raila Odinga in 2017,” he once tweeted.