Here are Kenya’s favourite phrases/words for 2017 and their inventors
Trust Kenyans to come up with new words and phrases every year. In 2017 Kenyans were introduced to a new cache of jargon that went on to dominate social media and the mainstream media. Here’s to a few and their inventors.
1. Tibim – It started out as a slogan by Embakassi lawmaker Babu Owino during his reign as boss of the Student Organisation of Nairobi University (Sonu). The word spread fast when opposition politicians adapted it as their rallying call in political rallies. Soon after, almost everyone, including Deputy President William Ruto, was mentioning it, one way or another, never mind that few can actually tell what it stands for.
2. Tialala – Refer to (1) above. Again, Babu Owino is credited with coining this ambiguous word which spread like a bushfire. Again, no one can authentically describe what it means.
3. Vindu vichenjanga – Another political term which gained traction via a Luhya song by Amos Barasa. Soon thereafter, everyone associated with the opposition was mentioning it, in reference to change of times, to imply the opposition was set to defeat President Uhuru Kenyatta in the elections. It wasn’t to be.
4. Yaliyondwele sipite – The term was coined by Machakos gubernatorial aspirant loser Wavinya Ndeti, albeit accidentally. She meant to say Yaliyopita si Ndwele (the past are bygones), in her bid to forge a new friendship with her political opponents moments after losing a court case. Kenyans on social media however took up Wavinya’s slip of the tongue and flew with it.
5. Slay Queens – This is a term used to refer to the beautiful women in town, who go to great lengths to expose their ‘cool’ lifestyles on social media, yet most resort to living fake lifestyles in their routes to stardom.
6. Canaan – This a term coined by opposition leader Raila Odinga in reference to the good tidings waiting Kenyans in the event he defeated his rival Uhuru Kenyatta in the elections of 2017. Sadly, Odinga’s diehard fans, like the Biblical children of Israel, are still wandering in the wilderness in their march to Canaan, long after Kenyatta’s inauguration for a second term in office.
7. Tano Tena – The term was coined by the ruling Jubilee partly loyalists. A campaign slogan per excellence meant to entice the voters to offer President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy a fresh mandate of five years in office.
8. Nasa hao! – Opposition leader Musalia Mudavadi coined this phrase and perfected it to the excitement of his supporters. He would clench a fist during campaigns and punch the air while shouting ‘Nasa Hao!’ (catch then) and the crowd would roar back.
9. Utajua hujui – Loosely translated to mean ‘You will soon know that you don’t know’, the term was coined by a shadowy Facebook user by the name Hessy wa Kayole, who is widely believed to be an undercover police officer. Hessy wa Kayole is infamous for his stern warning ‘Utajua hujui’ to suspected gangsters and subsequently bragging on social media for being behind the cold blood execution of gangsters who fail to heed his warning. All Kenyans now use the phrase Utajua hujui.
10. We shall revisit – The the term was used by President Uhuru Kenyatta, in a thinly veiled threat to the Judiciary moments after they annulled his victory during the August 8 elections. At the time, the President claimed the Judiciary was corrupt and he was all too keen to clean up the mess, only that he first needed to win the repeat election.