BIG BOYZ: Of Riggy G, Madvd and Papa wa Roma's steady Twitter dominance
On July 19, 2022, at 9:11 pm, a young lady named Ivy Chelimo tweeted the nickname ‘Riggy G’ and, unbeknownst to her, of what magnitude of tremors she had just caused, went about her business.
"Riggy G amekataa kutaja freedom," became the cheeky tweet that now sits in the hallowed halls of Kenya’s chaotic meme museum.
Slowly, an avalanche of tweets bearing the name ‘Riggy G’ started hitting the internet and soon enough, everyone had caught on with the fad and the wry sobriquet was now officially (In Twitter terms) bestowed on Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.
By its pronunciational nuance and obvious street influence, the nickname ‘Riggy G’ implies a man who is from the street, knows his way around town, has been around the block and is the right guy for the job - whatever that job is.
Unlike President William Ruto, who has always maintained a calm mien, a tempered approach and an introspective idiosyncrasy, Rigathi Gachagua appears to be one who is not afraid to ruffle a couple of feathers, call it like it is, rumble in the mud and square off with his detractors.
Like infamous US rappers, who use monikers from which ‘Riggy G’ is borrowed, the Deputy President, once again, lived up to his Twitter nickname after he notoriously tore into a rather stumped President Uhuru Kenyatta while giving his maiden speech in a stadium filled to the brim - and teeming with a countless number of esteemed Heads of State.
Mr Gachagua, the obdurate ‘Son of the Mau Mau’, spared no one in his uncensored Kasarani opprobrium, asserting his new position, decrying his past persecutions, bestowing praise on his boss and taking brazen shots at the outgoing administration.
Many on Twitter gleefully saw the ‘gangsta’ in him and the name ‘Riggy G’ could not have fit a better man.
His roomy, ill-fitting suits too, that saw him step out as he ham-fistedly walked across the well-manicured Karen lawn, added fodder to his Twitter meme field with many calling out his tailor and pointing out the many times the Deputy President seemed to care less about his fashion.
On the morning of the inauguration, the DP himself admitted to his unconventional fashion sense and promised Kenyans that he would hit the gym and dress a little fittingly in three months. Tick Tock, Riggy G.
But even before Mr Gachagua had bagged himself a revered spot in the Colchester Castle of Kenyan memes and nicknames, other ‘Big Boys’ in the new Ruto administration had also dabbled in the pool and left the online community in hilarious tatters.
Musalia Mudavadi (MADVD)
The restful Western Kenya Kingpin, who dove into the murky waters of politics even before he clocked 30, has gone by the moniker ‘MADVD’ for years now.
The nickname, which lacks creativity but makes up for its aptness, is most likely derived from his actual name ‘Mudavadi’ with the creators simply truncating the name by shaving off a few vowels.
‘MADVD’ is now one of the Big Boys calling the absolute shots at State House after his two previous attempts to attach his influence to Raila Odinga left him quivering in the political cold for a decade.
Unlike ‘Jayden’ before him, or ‘Riggy G’, ‘Madvd’ lacks the pompous effrontery that excites Twitter, spawns memes, leads to a trending hashtag and leaves a lasting impression in the political space.
His fabled collectedness and measured political overtures may not yield the kind of content Kenyans on Twitter (KOT) need for a good laugh, but his sometimes, unexpected boldness has elicited excitement and warmed the masses.
Case in point? January 23rd when he roared into Bomas of Kenya promising the world a shattering ‘Earthquake’.
The memes that day were in surplus and the nickname did a pretty good run on Twitter.
Also, Kenyans will vividly remember the ‘Madimoni’ line after Mudavadi went to the press after his secret deal with the then TNA Party Leader Uhuru Kenyatta fell through.
“The demons were cautioned not to try and reap where they had not sown, or gather where they had not scattered. We understood we were the demons. I have often wondered how we became demons when we never invited anybody into our space to ask them to step down for us,” he lamented then.
Moses Wetangula (Papa wa Roma)
Born Moses Wasika Wetangula, the indomitable Bungoma political giant became quite the online sensation after his spectacular win as the newly elected Speaker of the National Assembly.
Unlike his tribal comrade 'Madvd', 'Papa wa Roma' is the silent weapon that moves stealthily, like a marauding serpent, devouring all in its path and leaving behind a sorry trail of untold destruction.
A potent tool in the Kenya Kwanza armoury, 'Papa wa Roma' gained the nickname from his Bungoma constituents for what they termed as his ability to command unquestionable respect, much like the actual Catholic Pope in Italy.
Tactical, undefeated, intelligent and highly ingenious, 'Papa wa Roma' has risen from the Bungoma political backwaters to the highest echelons of national power.
A brilliant lawyer with a chequered legal past, and a man who, many say, rarely loses a case in court, 'Papa wa Roma' was the man for the moment and especially when President William Ruto was desperately looking for the best team to catapult him to the House on the Hill.
According to a local TV station, Bungoma residents affectionately dubbed Moses Wetangula 'Papa Wa Roma', whilst likening him to the Pope's 'vast power and authority.
"We have witnessed in the concluded General Election, that anyone who defied Wetangula was defeated. This is why when Wetangula passes in Bungoma County and the entire Western region, we call him 'Papa wa Roma. It is the law and tradition to follow all he says," a fervent supporter said.
On Twitter, members of the indefatigable KOT army that literally chased former President Kenyatta out of Twitter also adopted the nickname and used it widely while he was being elected Speaker of the National Assembly.
In keeping to his remarkably astounding winning tradition, 'Papa wa Roma' wiped the Parliament floor, sweeping into uproarious victory and cementing his place as the idolized 'Papa Francis' of Bungoma.
With a timid smile, a calculated oratory and witty jabs, the man is now one of State House's biggest boys and the third most powerful man in Kenya.
He may not have left a colourful trail of quotable quotes but when he does drop gems, the internet lights up.
In 2018, when ODM decided to replace him as the Senate Minority Leader, a furious 'Papa wa Roma' didn't go out without a fight, famously quipping, "If anyone wants a divorce it will be noisy, messy and unhelpful, and it will have causalities. I'm not going anywhere. I was not invited to Nasa - I'm a founder."
Twitter had a field day dissecting the now-infamous quote as the man put up a spirited fight for survival. And like the true 'Papa wa Roma', Wetangula is a force, a lethal voice and a resounding authority who not only keeps Twitter buzzing with activity but the entire Western region worshipping the ground he walks on.
All hail 'Papa wa Roma', the legend of the Bungoma political pulpit.
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