Some may argue that he is a paragon of the functionally-illiterate cabal of politicians whose rise to leadership positions are largely hinged on their undeniable charisma and the twisted mentality of an average Kenyan voter…
Others might tag him as a passionate sycophant who has made jingoism so appealing it should be considered a career. Yet to others, he is a zealous politicians who holds tightly to his convictions like a suckling baby does to its mama’s sagging titties.
It matters not where you stand, but that Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi is unapologetic in his support for Deputy President William Ruto is not in question.
Just who is this man Oscar Sudi?
The MP for Kapseret in Eldoret was a makanga and cattle herder who now lives in a Sh100 million house. Never mind that the 38-year-old first came to Nairobi in 1998 and was so jazzed by the sight of a TV, he bought a black and white one for his mabati house in his rural home.
Oscar Sudi, who is currently facing forgery charges regarding his academic qualifications, was another faceless Kenyan hustler before the 2013 General Election. He allegedly sought nomination using forged certificates, according to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).
Affluence is now the norm for this son of a charcoal dealer who has since been nicknamed the ‘Sonko of Eldoret.’ He rolls in money, power and all the controversies that come with wielding both. And he does not shy from flaunting his two wives. He stunned Uasin Gishu residents in 2015 when Deputy President William Ruto came to open his Sh100 million home in Kapseret.
This is what he says of his journey.
“I was born in 1980, my parents were squatters in the Moi University area and all we had was a grass-thatched house in the farm of Mzee Kibor arap Talai who allowed us to stay on his farm but on a temporary basis. I used to sleep in the kitchen with my two brothers.”
Sudi reveals that his mother was jobless while his dad was a charcoal dealer whose income from selling Sh40 charcoal bags provided fees for him at Tulwop-Ngetuny Primary School.
“In 1994, I bought a second-hand bicycle from my accumulated savings, which helped me ferry charcoal to clients. I later sold the bike and bought a new one for Sh3,800. That year, my father had helped my mum open a grocery business at Moi University Main Campus roundabout, where I would sometimes help her,” explains Sudi, whose dad was sacked in 1995 and hence their focus on charcoal and grocery business to make ends meet.
It was at his mother’s grocery where young Sudi made friends with matatu operators and began touting.
“The conductors became my friends and I began working as a parking boy in 1996. After six months, I got introduced to one matatu owner, Mzee Barnabas Sawe, whose vehicles were labelled Carlos,” says Sudi. “He was paying me Sh800 and by the end of the year, he increased it to Sh1,200 due to my hard work and honesty,” he claimed.
After one and half years, Sudi learnt how to drive and when he turned 18 in 1998, he began driving matatus and saved money from his salary to buy fertilizer and seeds. He says that he cultivated three-acres and then seven acres the following year.
“In 2000, I got married and moved to an iron-sheet house with my wife. That is when I bought my matatu Peugeot 504 and operated it with Sawe’s fleet. The following year, I traveled to Nairobi with a friend for the first time and bought a black and white TV and a radio,” said Sudi, who was in Nairobi with his friend, Stephen Sorgor.
His entrepreneurial nature was such that seeing Nairobians paying to play the game of pool saw him thinking of duplicating the same in Eldoret.
“I then borrowed Sh110,000 and bought two tables which I installed in Kesses and they really made me good money. I bought five other tables that I gradually I installed at Moi University, Mugundoi and Cherangany areas as I operated my matatu.”
Sudi claims that he then sold the matatu and bought a Toyota saloon and a Mazda pick-up to help coordinate his business and it was while buying the cars that he got interested in motor dealership.
“I went to Mombasa and bought car which I sold for good profit in Eldoret. In Mombasa, I met the current Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony who was then a lecturer. He linked me with his comrades whom I would assist to purchase cars duty free because they enjoyed the exemption.”
Wealthy Mombasa businessman David Lagat reportedly noticed Sudi’s aggressiveness and extended deals to him for his massive clearing and forwarding agency, which eventually stretched to land deals in Uasin Gishu. It was through Lagat that Sudi met powerful people, among them former Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo and current Deputy President William Ruto who was then Eldoret North MP.
Business mixed with political connections grows and with it, political interests that saw Sudi campaign for David Koros for the Eldoret South seat in 2003 “but he abandoned us when he got into power.”
He adds that: “I was close to Ruto and used to wonder how he could do a lot for the public through CDF projects and representation in Parliament. I felt the need to get into politics to address issues our leaders had failed to tackle.”
Kapseret Constituency was hived off Eldoret South Constituency,y providing an opportunity for Sudi to vie during the 2013 General Election on Ruto’s United Republican Party (URP) ticket and the rest, as they say, is history.
The second-time legislator does not shy from controversy and will take on anyone, including the President himself, or anything he perceives to be a threat to DP Ruto’s presidential ambitions.
His verbal attack on Wednesday, in which he declared the political marriage between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Dr Ruto dead, did not, therefore, surprise many.
Mr Sudi’s remarks followed the arraignment of Treasury CS Henry Rotich, PS Kamau Thugge and several officials over multi-billion shilling Kimwarer and Arror dams’ scandal. The dams were to be constructed in Elgeyo Marakwet County.
While the legislator’s attack on Uhuru was not new, he took it a notch higher by asking the President to resign and insinuating that the Head of State was ineffective.
“The relationship between the President and his deputy is like that of a man and a woman who are married but sleeping in different houses, an indication that the union is over. Kenyans should not be cheated to believe they are still in good terms,” Sudi told journalists.
“Within three months I can do better than Uhuru. I will get a deputy like Moses Kuria and we will perform better,” said Sudi.
While most leaders allied to the Deputy President have steered clear of openly criticizing the President, Sudi has on numerous occasions openly voiced his frustration with the President and Jubilee Party.
He has blamed the handshake between Uhuru and Opposition leader Raila Odinga for the woes facing the ruling party and the Government.
In the past, Sudi has not spared Raila from his sharp tongue, accusing the Opposition leader of insincerity and warning the President against bringing the ODM leader on board.
He has been quoted in the past as saying: “The problem we have in this country is Raila Odinga. Wherever he goes he causes havoc. He was in KANU, it collapsed. He joined NASA, it collapsed. He is now in Jubilee. I want to tell President Uhuru Kenyatta that as long as Raila is still on board, we will continue having problems.”
Aside from his public utterances, Sudi has taken his criticism of what he perceives to be mistreatment of Ruto by Uhuru and the DP’s opponents to the social media.When State House Digital Communications Director Dennis Itumbi was arraigned, Sudi, through his official Facebook account, warned the President against forsaking his supporters.
“Both of you guys are free from the jaws of the International Criminal Court courtesy of Dennis Itumbi. Itumbi provided you with information that secured your freedom until now you are enjoying your lives together with your children and families,” he posted.
Two years ago, Sudi dared the President to subject the entire Kenyatta family to a lifestyle audit. This came amid a raging debate on illegally acquired wealth among public servants.
In 2014, Sudi and his supporters blocked the Nakuru-Eldoret highway at Cheptiret after an altercation with a traffic policeman holding traffic for hours.Despite being a rubble rouser, inside Parliament Sudi has been listed among legislators who made little contribution during plenary debates between September 2017 and December last year.