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Storm over Ruto’s ‘uncircumcised’ jibe at Gideon Moi

A storm that was kicked up by the front page story in The Star newspaper, in which Deputy President William Ruto allegedly referred to Kanu leader and Baringo senator Gideon Moi as uncircumcised, has persisted despite differing interpretations on the meaning of the jibe.

Many commentators – especially those not familiar with the Kalenjin language –took great exception to the alleged reference.

However, a nuanced interpretation of the phrase ‘ng’etet ab Moi’, which Mr Ruto uttered while on campaign trail in Kericho, could simply mean ‘son of Moi’.

But opinion was still divided even among Kalenjin speakers, with many insisting that while Mr Ruto may not have implied the ‘uncircumcised son of Moi’, it was still a derogatory reference since the word is usually reserved for older people.

“That word is insulting when used to refer to an age mate or an older man. If you want to say ‘son of’ without attracting debate you say ‘werit ab‘,” one speaker familiar with the language explained.

Gideon Moi was born in 1964, making him two years older than the DP who was born in December 1966.

The DP has also dismissed the report in a single tweet, however, without expounding on what he meant.

“My statements have never been about trivialities like circumcision but as always the STAR is at it. I understand sales matter. ‘Isorait’,” tweeted the Mr Ruto.