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Raila’s glowing tribute to De’Mathew baffles Kenyans, for obvious reasons

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.

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: