The celebrities in Kenya are largely the politicians and what they say is what is most sought.
Unlike in foreign lands where celebrities range from musicians to sports personalities and movie stars in Kenya all the spotlight is on the ‘Mheshimiwa’ (Honorable).
On Saturday the 16th June and Sunday the 17th the entire country was paying its last respects to two of the six victims of the fatal chopper crash in Ngong forest.
The head of state lead his government to the late Hon. Prof. George Saitoti’s resting place and later to the Hon. Orwa Ojode.
It was the most tragic and fatal accident of recent times and the country was literally shaken by the sad news.
It was unbelievable before some as others tried to slowly comprehend the catastrophic incident. These two gentlemen have been celebrated by many alike as the most interconnected minister’s in Kibaki’s administration.
One (Ojode) being the assistant of the other, they were at the driving seat of the Ministry of Provincial Administration and Internal Security. Hon. Ojode many a times was left in the parliament chambers shielding the Kenya Police from furious legislators seeking answers to the mishaps and errors.
Prof. Saitoti when in the House would deal adequately and precisely with the legislators personal complaints concerning the Kenya Police and general internal security. The two had the sleeves rolled up and they were ready for work right from the word GO!
It is with surprise that I came to find out that their cordial connection and friendship transcended beyond the office. While meeting their death, the two were heading to Ndhiwa for a fundraiser organized by a Catholic church in the area.
Being a campaign period the Hon. Professor seemed to be doing his noble thing of funding church projects but this platform would have obviously acted as a campaign stage for his Nyanza campaigns. Ojode was a ‘Raila ally’ and this automatically meant that the premier’s rivals were his too.
However, the man claimed to be the hugest in parliament saw friends in both allies and rivals of Raila alike.
Back in 1999 when Ojode was still fresh in parliament, National Democratic Party famously known as NDP was marshalling its troops to oust Prof. Saitoti from the office of VP. Hon. Otieno Kajwang’ had set the ball rolling for a motion of ‘no confidence’ against the mathematician. This were troubled times for the professor as he had just been re-appointed VP (the famous ‘road-side’ appointment).
It was a Tuesday evening and the news about a motion of ‘no confidence’ against Saitoti was in the air. Ojode had gotten word of it. The Ndhiwa legislator was in the parliament buildings trying to make sense of this. He was a NDP man and it was only loyal that he cast his vote in support of his party. However the former Maranda High student was unsettled as it was proving a herculean task as Saitoti was his man as well.
Come Wednesday morning and Kajwang’ had his troops ready for battle against Saitoti. The former Kajiado north legislator felt as if Moi was behind his woes and to him all was already lost. Enter the chambers and one man is missing in Kajwang’s battalion; Joshua Orwa Ojode.
The Ndhiwa MP had taken the next flight to Kisumu in order to miss out on the voting. He could not face Saitoti and see him go down in humiliation so the wise man decided the voting can as well go on without his presence.
Professor withered the storm and the motion failed but this was an act that proved how close these two befallen gentlemen were. Shifting focus to the politicians who remain with us, they attended the funerals and burials and spoke so highly of the two men.
They paid what can be called a glowing tribute. All their words were summarized by Kibaki and he concluded by asking them, “why don’t we resolve to follow what they stood for?”
The president was simply asking them, why don’t they be like the two who were so close yet so far away in political affiliations?
In both burials, the politicians talked of how the two exemplified their duties and it was difficult to tell who was whose minister. All these words have been seen as bluffs since it is well known that the political class is fond of uttering the most sweet for the electorate in order to look good and avoid looking bad.
Whether the speeches were heartfelt or not it all turns down to one simple thing; can they live up to the standards of the professor and his assistant? For now I am convinced to quote all those speeches in three simple words, “BLAH BLAH BLAH” until the day we see the change in them that existed in Saitoti and Ojode.
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