Musician Akothee has come to the defense of Barack Obama’s sister, Dr. Auma Obama, after she [Dr. Obama] came under razor-sharp criticism from section of women in Siaya County over her remarks insinuating there is a predominant “begging” culture in the Kenyan society, especially among members of the Luo community.
“I don’t think it is right to attack Dr. Auma Obama. It is not fair,” Akothee told EDAILY Wednesday.
“Eradication of poverty starts with you and I. I am a Luo, and I am not complaining about Dr. Auma Obama’s remark because I don’t ask anyone for money. I work for it,” said the “Give It To Me” hit-maker.
-‘GONYA, GONYA’ IS NOT UNIQUE TO LUO COMMUNITY-
“I would not say only Luo people embrace the ‘gonya, gonya’ culture. I know Luo people are really good narrators; they know how to package their words, and that is why it looks like the ‘gonya, gonya’ culture is a Luo-specific culture,” said Akothee.
“On my social media pages, I have seen my fans and friends from the Kikuyu, Luhya, Kamba communities complaining that their kinsmen keep on asking them for money. The ‘gonya, gonya’ culture has affected the whole country; the youth are lazy; they want easy money, and girls want easy money too,” said Akothee.
-‘IF I’D GIVEN OUT ALL MY MONEY, I WOULDN’T BE COMFORTABLE’-
“Right now, people should stop being dependent on other people. If I was to give out all the money that I have now, then I would have to work 80 times more [to lead a comfortable life]. Everyone should work hard for their own money.
“When you are always a beneficiary of ‘gonya, gonya’, then it means somebody else is working for you and is responsible for your happiness; when that person is not around, then your life stops.
“It is high time the youth and women embrace self-reliance. All of us have two eyes, two arms, two legs and one brain. If you depend on someone, then you don’t have freedom; and if you don’t have freedom, then you have no life,” said Akothee.
-CALLS FOR DR. AUMA OBAMA TO APOLOGISE-
A section of women from Siaya County on Wednesday said they want Dr. Auma Obama, to apologise for insinuating there is a predominant “begging” culture among members of the Luo community.
Siaya County’s Mandeleo ya Wanawake chairperson, Patricia Apoli, said Dr. Obama’s statement was erroneous.
Ms Apoli added that the remark was meant to embarrass members of the Luo community.
The Maendeleo ya Wanawake chairperson defended women from the Luo ethnic group as “industrious” people, saying none of them has ever asked for a handout from Dr Obama.
She wants the Sauti Kuu youth centre founder to apologise to members of the Luo community over the remark, which she made on Monday, July 16 during the launch of the multi-purpose youth facility in Kogelo, Siaya.
Ms Apoli’s gripe extends to how Dr Auma Obama oversaw the launch, saying the ex-President’s elder sister “privatized” the whole affair, ‘failing to recognise and appreciate Ida Odinga, Governors Cornel Rasanga (Siaya) and Prof. Peter Anyang Nyong’o (Kisumu)’.
Ms Apoli said Barack Obama should have been allowed to greet the residents of Kogelo, even if it meant just waving to them while driving off.
During her speech Monday, Dr. Auma Obama urged a section of Kenyans, including her community members, to shun a begging culture, which she christened as the “gonya, gonya” culture.
“Gonya”, a Luo word used in contextual manner, means “help me out”. In most cases when used, the statement maker solicits for cash.
Dr. Obama, at the start of her speech, said she knew she would be criticised for her remarks.