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Gachagua justifies ‘Tigers in Kenya’ statement

By Mercy Simiyu September 19th, 2023 2 min read

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has sought to clarify an interesting statement he made during his recent trip to Colombia.

The DP, while appearing to woo tourists to visit Kenya, appeared to suggest that the country had tigers among other wild animals in national parks.

This is not factual, however.

The remark invited confusion and amusement among Kenyans on social media.

In his defense, Gachagua explained that in his vernacular Kikuyu language, spoken by a significant portion of Kenya’s population, there is no linguistic distinction between a tiger and a cheetah.

He further clarified,

“Where I come from, these two animals are not different. Therefore, I translated directly from my mother tongue.”

This revelation shed light on the cultural and linguistic nuances that can often lead to misunderstandings, even in the age of instant communication and global connectivity.

Tigers are not native to Kenya, while cheetahs, the fastest land animals, roam the country’s savannahs.

This linguistic distinction had taken social media by storm, with netizens sharing memes and poking fun at the situation.

The clarification also highlighted the power of social media in shaping public perceptions and narratives, even over seemingly trivial matters.

It began as an uproar of laughter but soon transformed into a discussion on the richness of Kenya’s linguistic landscape.

This incident, while amusing in retrospect, offered an opportunity to celebrate Kenya’s cultural diversity and the importance of effective communication in our interconnected world.

Kenya is a renown tourist destination.

The country receives up to 1.5 million each year, most of whom come from as far as the United States and United Kingdom, or as near as Uganda, with aim of sampling the amazing landscapes and wildlife in the national parks, including the Big 5 namely lion, cheetah, Elephant and giraffe, among others.

The wildbeest migration, in which more than 1.5 million wildebeests migrate in an enormous loop every year is also a major tourist attraction in Kenya.

The annual migration northwest, at the end of the rainy season (usually in May or June) is recognized as one of the “Seven Wonders of the Natural World.”

The search for greener pastures for the animals does not come without danger. Its migration route crosses many rivers, most filled with giant Nile crocodiles.

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