By Jackson Omondi
Much has been said about Sonko’s political stunt and rightfully so. Buoyed by what appeared to many as a brew-inspired confidence, Senator Sonko went ‘there.’
Reading from a mythical constitution, he deadpanned that in the absence of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto, the Nairobi Senator was the next in command.
And with that, he proceeded to ‘read’ the president’s remarks. Of course, by the time he got to the actual ‘prepared remarks,’ many of the dignitaries had already filed out of the venue. That, however, didn’t innoculate them from the Senator’s condemnations and epithets as the ambidextrous politician tried to save face.
It was ‘President’ Sonko!
It’s inconceivable that such a stunt can actually be pulled off in a country that is still in the process of actualizing all the aspects of the new constitution. What else are we going to see?
The presidency used to be an institution that many held highly. A President was viewed almost as a messianic being. And I don’t mean it in a dictatorial sense but the citizenry respected both the institution and the occupant.
I will be remissed if I didn’t take a glance at history just to put things in perspective. Back in the Moi era, even mentioning the word “President” or “Moi” was a taboo. Nobody outlawed mentioning his name but the people felt that the Presidency was not a play ground.
President Moi and even Kibaki had a certain mystique that came with being the occupant of the highest office in the land. Nobody clowned around them.
On a darker note, the 1990 trip to Washington DC by the Kenyan delegation all the more put a dagger to any perceived interest or proximity to the Presidency.
Impressed by his unparalleled cadence and knowledge, the White House appeared to favor Dr Robert Ouko over the other powerful forces around President Moi. But as far as Dr Ouko was concerned, the gesture was nothing new because as the country’s foreign affairs minister, he was simply doing his job.
Washington’s nod turned out to be a kiss of death. Apparently uncomfortable with the goings on, a powerful minister, tongue firmly in cheek, referred to Dr Ouko as “Mr President.” On the flight back home, ‘President Ouko’ was alienated and deserted and upon landing home, found out just how bad the new ‘title’ that Washington had importuned on him, turned out to be.
Times have really changed