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You Will Need Permission to Use the Mambo ni Matatu Phrase

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President William Ruto has registered the catchphrase, ‘Mambo ni Matatu’ translated as things are three as a trademark. This means that he has secured the exclusive rights associated with the use of the phrase and made it an intellectual property.

Mambo ni Matatu
President William Ruto in Kenya. Photo/Courtesy

His lawyer, Adrian Kamotho, filed the papers to trademark the phrase alongside the gesturing of the three fingers. Consequently, people will be required to seek permission from the president before using the ‘Mambo ni Matatu’ phrase or using the three-fingers gesture.

Ruto used the phrase while issuing a stern warning to the sugar cartels in the country. According to him, the cartels were preventing the government’s plan to revive the dying sugar industry. He mentioned that the cartels were causing the court proceedings to go on longer than they should and affecting the reopening of the factories.

The president therefore offered three options to the cartels. Either they flee the country, go to jail or go to heaven.

“We cannot continue to entertain this. We need a lasting break. All thieves must stop their acts. There is no place for such people. There are only three options leave the county, go to jail, or go to heaven,” he stated while touring the Western region.

In addition to that, he used the phrase during the Africa Climate Summit. He was explaining the ways to ease access to finance in African countries.

“We are thinking about financing in Africa, three things are very important. As we say in Kenya, mambo ni matatu; speed, scale and affordability are required to ease access to finances,” he said.

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Adoption of the Phrase

The members of the opposition, however, did not take the phrase lightly. They cautioned the President against using threats in his capacity as the president of the nation. Members of the civil society additionally warned against issuing threats as it could lead to illegal detentions. This was after Ruto threatened the cartels in the sugar industry.

” When someone does something wrong, they should be told they are wrong because what matters is the lives of Kenyans and we want to develop here a democratic culture,” Kalonzo Musyoka, Wiper Party Leader stated.

After the phrase was used, Kenyans have been reposting on X (formerly known as Twitter) while using the phrase. Furthermore, people have printed the phrase on T-shirts and put them up for sale. Politicians have equally been referencing the phrase while giving their speeches.

Read Also: President Ruto’s Triple Threat to Sugar Cartels Ignites Controversy


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