Kenyans on Twitter (KOT) on Wednesday took to the internet to rally behind Gordon Ogutu and Meshack Otieno, who were left out when President Uhuru Kenyatta instructed the Government to immediately procure 500 hospital beds from two local innovators.
The two innovators, 26-year-old Mungai Gathogo and 35-year-old Joseph Muhinja had a memorable day, after photos of their manufactured beds circulated over the netizens, catching the attention of the Head of State.
According to the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU), the beds, which are made from locally sourced material from their workshop in Githunguri, Kiambu county, will be subjected to standardization tests by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS). The president sent his secretary Andrew Wakahiu, accompanied by Kiambu County Commissioner Wilson Wanyanga to Githunguri to assess the beds and convey the Government’s decision
“The beds will be a vital aid to public hospitals that are reeling under the pressure of COVID-19 related hospital admissions. The Government, through the Numerical Machining Complex, will also help the young entrepreneurs and other innovators with technical skills and equipment to hasten production and improve quality” Wakahiu said.
They also added that the Government will also link up local manufacturers with SME fund to raise capital for start-ups and to expand existing businesses in a drive towards the realization of the Manufacturing pillar under the Big Four agenda. Mungai and Muhinja who currently employ 7 youth promised to hire more young people to ensure the order will be delivered in one and half month’s time thus help create more jobs in the country.
However, taking to online social media platforms, a section of Kenyans wondered why the President left out Ogutu and Otieno (Luos) based at Juja, and instead chose to procure from Gathogo and Muhinja, his perceived tribemates of the Kikuyu community (according to their second names.)
A quick glance at the pictures also showed that the beds from Ogutu and Otieno seemed to be better and cheaper than the others, further raising a lot of queries. It is without doubt that tribalism is deep in Kenya, with citizens from many sectors preferring to give first priorities in case of opportunities from their tribe.
Here are reactions from Kenyans:
When you talk about Quality, Gordon Ogutu & Meshack Otieno's beds are of very high quality compared to you know who? They're also cheaper. Estimated at around Ksh. 25K. But again, they're lesser Citizens right? Like it or Not, this is Tribalism at it's best. Fight yiur keyboard.
— BRAVIN YURI (@BravinYuri) July 15, 2020
The sidelining of Otieno by President Uhuru Kenyatta is a matter of perception. Its likely that advisers forwarded the idea & the names. The President approved without knowing that his advisers had excluded another artisan. The advisers may have been tribal. The President was not
— Nahashon Kimemia (@nahashon87) July 15, 2020
Luos are not lesser Kenyans than those from Kikuyu nation. All 43 tribes are equal. Meshack Otieno was the first to come out with his innovations. MoH and State House should rethink. Let the guy get the tender. This was his glorious chance to help his family and co-workers. pic.twitter.com/fZbFU4BdDA
— Abuga Makori EGH, MBE (@o_abuga) July 15, 2020
After a social media post went viral on innovation of hospital beds by Otieno and Mungai of kiambu. The president only went for Mungai of Kiambu ordering 500 beds and leaving Otieno with even much better concept. This has declared how tribal and trivial the president has been pic.twitter.com/dzs3kCZMSD
— John hayes (@JohnhayesK) July 15, 2020
Being kikuyu is hard bana. Ii stori ya Otieno is just a way of expressing all the tribalistic hate deeply rooted in most of you. Iyo tender ingepewa Otieno mgekuwa mmenyamaza tu just like most people did 07/08. Anyway congratulations to the two, no kugeria mani💯
— soma nikuajiri (@_muramati) July 15, 2020
The "Otieno" CURSE is what Most Kenyans have had to live with since independence… Meritocracy has never been the cause of reward in employment nor any other economical gain. Stand up and stop Tribalism. Uhuru Kenyatta stop Tribalism!!! Stop Kikuyu Chauvinism.
— Wyclef Obaga (@Obagalito254) July 15, 2020
I am officially Mwalimu Kinuthia Mwangi. I think that using a Mwangi or Kinuthia name is the only way to get recognition from the government. This breaks my heart. If the Kikuyu community doesn't stand with Kenyans against blatant tribalism, they will suffer the same one day.
— Mwalimu Dida Kinuthia Mwangi (@mwalimu_dida) July 15, 2020
This is tribalism at its core!…Otieno was the one on the limelight even before Mungai's what went wrong? I hope Kenyans are watching keen how tribalism is fabricated and cemented when the sun is high up in the skype! https://t.co/OZj2HZlGVv
— Keen Observer (@DavidKE2017) July 15, 2020
Two groups of Kenyans innovate a locally made hospital bed, @PDUDelivery decides to pick one group and award them a direct tender to produce 500 beds. The other group gets nothing. The mentality of Mt. Kenya civil servants must change in their conception of “Kenya”. #BBI pic.twitter.com/ZXmi4ecyHh
— DD (@Disembe) July 15, 2020