Sakaja 2.0 Emerges from Sonko’ Ashes

By Nkaari Martin K

Johnson Sakaja’s Machiavellian awakening passed with almost unanimous acclaim and acceptance. In a bloodless beheading of Sonko, Sakaja has but all become Nairobi’s second Senator. After playing in Sonko’s Team Nairobi for a while and seeming to drift rudderless thereafter, Sakaja last week emerged flanked by Peter Kenneth’s backers at the Jubilee House where he deposited his document’s for the Senator position.

Sakaja has all but effectively confirmed his own survival and in a guerrilla warfare tactic, burnt Sonko’s option of falling back to the Senator’s position. This has not only pushed Sonko off the cliff but grounded Sakaja’s political career on firm ground. People who wish him well were for a while there anxious about the young politician’s next move.

In a mischievous but weak thought out Whatsapp post making rounds in political groups, Kenyans are being called to witness Sonko’s downfall as witness to what will happen to William Ruto at the hands of Mt Kenya mafia come 2022. The post is the product of weak minds because it fails to effectively understand Sonko’s fatal flaw.

Sonko has been completely unable to sophisticate to power’s liking and raise his blood status to blue. He has failed to understand power and money and connect himself into it. He imagines that his ground popularity anchors his seat at the table of power yet that table is often host to people with the charisma of a tooth pick.

Sonko’s choice to remain a city ruffian, often choosing the company and influence of fellow low level thugs to that of power networks has effectively shut him out of the door. He still looks at the powerful through his street eyes that determine the powerful and moneyed are fools and chooses to steal from them rather than steal for or with them. Sonko’s miseducation is not academic but more in the laws of power.

The Whatsapp post is based on Sonko & Ruto’s peasantry roots as their ultimate undoing and deliberately ignores that Peter Kenneth himself has very humbling roots. It forgets that Dr Evans Kidero as well has same roots but has effectively royalised himself through networks, money and marriage. Johnson Sakaja is of equal background but seems to have emerged as Kikuyu power’s blue eyed boy outside its base.

Sakaja’s choice to zero graze within the Mt Kenya paddock is paying off. He has set himself up for the opportunity to be the non Kikuyu who will receive the most Kikuyu votes come August. It also effectively establishes him into city politics at the top, becoming a crucial and very young player who is but all ensured of governing one day should he continue on the strategic path that he is on.

The former TNA chairman has often been regarded as one of Jubilee’s think tanks. He has confirmed his strategic mind by pulling a rabbit out of the hat this time. The task for him now is however bigger because he needs to think for himself, often an impossible task. As he emerges as an elected leader with a grand ambition, it becomes incumbent on Sakaja to ground his politics, at least one foot, outside Mt Kenya.

There are several constituencies available to him; he could choose the youth as he has sought to do previously. Youth is however a fleeting constituency that doesn’t show any independence outside Kenya’s tribal construct. It means that the Nominated MP may actually have to ground himself within his tribal base. And this is where it will get tricky.

Sakaja belongs to a class of young politicians who emerged during the 2007 elections as operatives in the Kibaki campaign. In this class is other emerging Nairobi politicians including Mutinda Kavemba and Fwamba NC Fwamba who ran on a Wiper ticket in the 2013 Nairobi gubernatorial race and are currently busy building their own bases. Fwamba used his time during Eugene Wamalwa’s short lived Nairobi bid to build a serious network of Luhya leaders across the city for a campaign he was set to head. Others in the 2007 class include Brian Weke, Badi Ali, Simon Mbugua, Yvonne Khamati and George Nyongesa.

As Sakaja moves ahead of the class, his old networks continue to consolidate within their bases. Whether this becomes a network or competing camps remains the big question. Many in that class have however often surmised that a consolidation effort would essentially provide an impetus that would be impossible to ignore going into the future. It will be interesting to watch.

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