Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga on Monday mourned Benga Musician John De’Mathew with a glowing tribute which the online community found baffling.
In his message of condolences, Odinga, who is also the African Union High Representative for Infrastructure Development remembered De’Mathew as an artiste who campaigned against illicit brews.
John Ng’ang’a Mwangi a.k.a John De Mathew did a great job as an artist. He enlightened young people against illicit brews while also educating his community on culture and current affairs. I wish his family and fans comfort during this trying time. May his soul rest in peace.
— Raila Odinga (@RailaOdinga) August 19, 2019
Odinga’s kind words notwithstanding, it was not lost to the online community that he was once the subject of hate speech from the deceased artiste.
That was back in 2013, when De’Mathew got into trouble with the National Cohesion and Integration Commission for the song Mwaka wa Hiti (The Year of the Hyena).
In the song, he portrayed “Mt Kenya political enemies” as greedy hyenas. He was arraigned in court for hate speech at the time Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, who De’ Mathew was supporting for the presidency, had a criminal case before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
De’Mathew was hitting out at those who were hoping for a possible conviction to bag the presidency.
Those who were captured in the song as recipients of hate speech were Mr Raila Odinga, Mr Peter Kenneth and Ms Martha Karua.
De’Mathew was charged in court by was later be acquitted by Senior Principal Magistrate Ellena Nderitu who said there was no evidence that the words in the song constituted hate speech.
De’Mathew died on Sunday after his car rammed into a lorry at the Blue Post Hotel in Thika.
Here is what Kenyans thought of how Odinga eulogized the late singer:
Being a politician is very difficult, you must always lie
— vanon (@Earl_Nyakach) August 19, 2019
Baba there’s one thing I like about you, you forgive and move and you don’t mind about the stupid things people did at your back, we Know De Mathew never liked you but you mean handshake, You’re one man who will go directly to heaven than those pretenders with hatred.
— Hillaire Lilechi (@hills_prince) August 19, 2019
John De Mathew was a talented musician, out of the almost 400 hits he composed and sung, he did only one political and that’s what everyone else seems to remember. We all do mistakes. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
— Kenfish (@kenfish) August 19, 2019
May the soul of John De Mathew rest in peace! Eng. @RailaOdinga, the truth is this deceased Mathew guy was a tribal bigot who used his songs to fan ethnic hatred and even abuse you. But God says we must forgive. Thank you Your Excellency @RailaOdinga for being calm!
— Eng. John Oranja (@john_oranja) August 19, 2019
Forgiveness is Golden Jakom keep teaching us to forgive some of us don’t know the value of love over hate
— The people (@JamiiMgongo) August 20, 2019
Ata wewe Baba uko na roho juu…Si DeMathew ndiye alikuwa ana ongoza anti-Raila crusade during last campaigns/elections 2013
— Martin Fundi Ngari (@MFNGARI) August 19, 2019
for sure you never hold on past issues with who mock you. The best way of setting self free
— B E N N Z A L Ú (@BenNzalu) August 19, 2019
Baba the way this guy hated you, with his hateful songs
— gladweleyapan (@gladweleyapan1) August 20, 2019
This is why I like baba he does not pay it forward, neither does he go low because other have done so, he punishes ignorance with goodwill gestures, great man
— From a Caterpillar to a butterfly (@jamakiauto) August 19, 2019
The deceased was a legend to his fans and community. That is what Raila has said while condoling with the bereaved. Other issues concerning the deceased can be discussed elsewhere. Know what an obituary is meant for.
— Amos Kambo (@amos_kambo) August 20, 2019