Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho is becoming not just the political leader of the Umma in Kenya but also cultural icon. Few men in history has providence bestowed such a rare responsibility.
Joho is happening at a time the young Muslim male is thriving with confidence, aware that the era when Muslim youths were rounded up and locked up merely for being Muslim youths is getting over. And as that era recedes into the horizon of Kenya’s wasted years, new hopes and new dreams are filling the void that its vengeance once created.
Governor Joho’s trademark beard is becoming the ultimate power symbol of a new centre of power which cannot now be wished away, that of a national Muslim leader only a short distant away from ultimate power.
In muslims towns around Kenya, a well tendered beard “ala Joho” is becoming the must have accessory for young men ready to dream. And I’m hearing women are loving it.
Christian women who love Joho have gone public with it. But the love of SULTAN by Muslim women remain unmatched and unsaid in public (the other day I was in this coffee shop and this Muslim petite (“muslimah”) had a whole photo-gallery of sultan: sipping lemonade and flipping Joho over and over). It was true love!
Che Guevera’s upper gaze. Jaramogi Oginga Odinga’s round cap. Ali Hassan Joho’s beard. No, these transcended politics and spoke for more.