Monday, July 20, 2020

Bad senatorial behaviour

"Super Senator Sakaja" was once his much-ballyhooed moniker. It didn't stick. I think that it is only that procurer of copious quantities of pomade who found it amusing to repeat and Jeff Koinange is renown for repeating piffle of dubious utility. The only difference between Super Senator Sakaja and the unrepentant inventor of "Tibim" is the gravity of the latter's alleged offence but in every other respect, they resemble each other. Indeed, if there's a defining feature of Kenya's elected classes, Super Senator Sakaja manifested it with his "Never been arrested. Won't be. Show me an OB number." tweet.

Appending the prefix "Senator" or the suffix MP" to ones name in Kenya is like donning a teflon-coated suit of armour. One suddenly enjoys degrees of protection from normal legal challenges that the people one is elected to represent can only dream of. Mr Sakaja, apparently, was accosted by police officers as he casually violated Super CS Matiang'i's curfew order - an order that had been announced and extended twice over by President Kenyatta. He was belligerent, bellicose and apparently drunk. And he was unrepentant.

He is not the first elected official to behave badly and he will not be the last. This is the system that we have built, and one that continues to harm us in many ways. High office in Kenya is not a call to serve the people but to serve ones interests while engaging in the lowest forms of hypocrisy. One of todays headlines is about a very vocal good-governance windbag whose company, or a company associated with him, allegedly made off with a portion of the missing NYS billions. If DPP Haji manages to shove his behind behind bars and keep him there like he has apparently done with Sirisia constituency's Waluke, maybe the beginning of a change is here - but we have been down this road too many times to believe that things are changing, haven't we.

Mr Sakaja knew, and was confident enough to know, that he would not be held to account by the police, the DPP, the Senate's powers and privileges committee, Mr Matiang'i or President Kenyatta because of his senatorial status. He wanted to party and no one would stand in his way. He would drag his associates with him. He would make accomplices of the bar where he was found. It wouldn't occur to him that those serving him on that fateful night could face legal jeopardy. All that mattered was that he wanted to have fun, rules and regulations be damned. And now he is playing hide-and-seek with the police and the police are hilariously going along because it wouldn't pay for them to be seen to be "targeting" one of the Senate's blue-eyed boys.

It is no coincidence that many Kenyans will kill to become elected representatives, preferably at national level. These offices confer the highest levels of privilege to their occupants. They grant access to business opportunities on a colossal scale. They imbue one with a sense of invincibility and power. Audience with other movers and shakers is automatic. High office is the ticket to untold wealth and power, including the power to subvert the law, bend the forces of law and order to ones will, get away with murder. Super Senator Sakaja is just the latest in a long line of elected officials behaving badly. He won't be the last.

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