Lunga Lunga member of Parliament, Khatib Mwashetani has for the longest time has had to deal with reactions and awkward moments whenever he is introduced.
From political rallies to social gatherings, the introduction of the MP by his colleagues has always elicited soft jiggles from members of the crowd, perhaps to cover up for questions they did not know how or when to ask.
A direct translation of his name from Kiswahili to English would lead one to associate the soft spoken MP to the most dreaded man-the devil (shetani), which is not the case.
In a bid to reduce the awkwardness Mwashetani explained the meaning of his name, after attending a church service where the clergy vehemently rebuked satan.
Lungalunga MP Abdalla Mwashetani celebrates a past victory.
The rebuke drew murmurs from the congregation and also fellow leaders – prompting the MP to address the matter when he rose to speak. He started by noting that his name was a combination of three Bantu words.
“Mwashetani is a combination of these Bantu words: mwa, sheta and ni. Mwa is plural or can be used alternatively to mean children, ni– is a swahili surfix used to ask a question.
“However, when you say it Swahili, it would loosely translate to children of the devil, “ he said as the crowd chuckled in agreement.
Mwashetani then revealed that his name was not Swahili but originated from the Digo tribe. He also revealed that his name had always been pronounced with the wrong connotation.
“In Digo, the word sheta means means to tuck in or plough, therefore translating to those who plough. But when my grandfather was given the name, it was actually as a result of a question- mwashetani? Which translates to what are you ploughing?” the MP told the gathered crowd.
The MP sent the crowd into laughter, not at the MP, but at their ignorance during the brief eureka moment.
Mwashetani is not the only politician whose name has sparked interest among the public. Murang’a Governor, Mwangi wa Iria’s surname, also has a history behind it as that is not his real name.
Born Francis Maingi Mwangi, the governor was nicknamed Wa Iria, which tis Kikuyu for ‘one of milk’, owing to his career at the New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC) where he served as the Managing Director (MD).
In addition, Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi is more popular with his pseudo name. Before running for Senate, he distributed water tanks to the people of Kiambu through his foundation in a bid to ensure they gain access to essential services.
Senator Wamatangi during a senate committee meeting.