A to Z of key events, personalities and oddities that shaped the year 2018

Miguna Miguna
Miguna Miguna deportation at JKIA.
From political and social intrigues, mega corruption scandals, there is no denying this was an interesting year.

A for Ayes have it!

It was perhaps the most brazen theft of a voice vote presided over by Narok MP Soipan Tuya. Despite MPs raising enough voice to overturn the presidential memo on 16 per cent VAT, Tuya declared the “ayes” the winner. She would later give a somewhat contradictory explanation that hers was just a formality thing and “a means to lead” to voting but one which could have been triggered by either of the sides having it.

B for Big 4

SEE ALSO :Secret talks: Raila, Ruto square off again

Since his declaration early in the year that he would dedicate all his energy, time and resources to the Big Four, President Uhuru Kenyatta furnished the Kenyan political space with a new catchphrase. Every political loser started harping on the Big Four for redemption. Every person who opposed Uhuru even on the most basic things such as media freedom became enemy of the Big 4.

C for Cabinet and its dramas

The reconstitution of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s second term Cabinet had its fair share of drama, from some CSs being dropped and dispatched thousands of miles away from the community elders they used to intercede for them, to others appointed as “afterthoughts”. Throughout the year, CSs Rashid Echesa, Mwangi Kiunjuri, Sicily Kariuki and Aden Mohamed carried the “controversy” trophy for the Cabinet.

D Demolitions

A new wave of demolition of buildings on riparian or grabbed land swept the city by storm. Orchestrated by an earthmover branded SANY, the exercise caused nightmares among many who had thrived on the impunity and chaos of City Hall. When SANY came calling, Ukay tumbled, Airgate Mall crumbled, Manor Hotel went down and South End mal plummeted to the ground.

SEE ALSO :Handshake: Tempest rocking Jubilee

E for Extradition of the Akasha’s sons

When its patience with courts ran out early this year, the government seized the two Akasha brothers – Baktash, Ibrahim and their accomplices Ghulam Hussein and Vijaygiri Goswami at night, forced them onto Transatlantic plane and made them face superpower justice. In a matter of months, the brothers had pleaded guilty, sending shockwaves to their powerful accomplices in Kenya.

F for Foreign Debt

The debate on ballooning foreign debt sparked a hitherto unexpressed public anger, especially when debate on 16 per cent Value Added Tax debate cropped up. In media, Finance CS Henry Rotich was dubbed “master of debts” while President Uhuru Kenyatta was thwacked mercilessly by Kenyans on Twitter during his September US visit, so much so that his communication unit had to rest the UN General Assembly (UNGA) hashtag they were using to report his activities.

G for Governors

SEE ALSO :Wetang’ula: I have forgiven Raila for betraying me

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko starred in 2018 for his spectacles; from ditching City Hall for his Mua Hills home, fallout with Deputy Governor Polycarp Igathe, take-down on his Kiambu counterpart Ferdinand Waititu to ill-advised move to ban matatus from CBD. Governor Waititu also had a fair share of grim acts; from spotting a ridiculous Father Christmas attire which blocked his mouth to his crazy pronouncements on diversion of rivers to save grabbed properties.

H for Handshake

Unarguably the biggest political act of 2018 when President Uhuru Kenyatta and Nasa leader Raila Odinga surprised everyone with a political handshake on the steps of Harambee House. Suddenly and without much ado, State House began to refer to Raila as “His Excellency” and all his co-principals were toppling themselves for or against the handshake. On international scene, US President Donald Trump and his North Korea counterpart Kim Jong Un had their own handshake preceded by a nasty member- measuring contest.

I for implosion in IEBC

Indubitably 2018’s Tower of Babel, the IEBC headquarters dropped the concord façade and assumed its true theatre of the absurd face. From a section of Commission resigning with “immediately” effect, chairman Wafula Chebukati locking out CEO Ezra Chiloba from office and to eventual booting of the CEO, the commission closes the year with very little reputation left.

J for justice at last

In several instances, 2018 was the year justice was served raw and cold to some unlucky bigwigs. In police circles, the conviction of celebrated crime buster Titus Ngamau aka Katitu sent chills and drove home the folly of trusting the mobs. Later, another top cop Nahashon Mutua was convicted of killing an inmate. It was also the year bigwigs like former City Town Clerk John Gakuo, former Senator Joy Gwendo were convicted and many MPs, Governors and CEO’s hauled before courts.

K for Kamata Kamata Fridays

The exploits of lethal duo of Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti and Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji in cuffing one VIP or another every Friday coined this catchphrase. All the CEOs, PSs, politicians, celebrities and notables who were charged in court this year were rounded up on Fridays and domiciled in the various city police stations awaiting production in court.

L for Lords of Impunity

Not once and not twice, select top state officials proved themselves to be above the law and outside jurisdiction of the courts. This was the case where orders of the court were flatly ignored in the matter involving lawyer Miguna Miguna and extradition of the Akasha brothers. One bold headline dropped all the pretenses and branded Interior CS Fred Matiang’i, Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet and PS Gordon Kihalagwa as the “Lords of Impunity.”

M for Miguna Miguna

The forceful deportation of lawyer Miguna Miguna from the country of his birth and contrary to legal orders of the court shocked the country. The drama accompanying the whole fiasco was no less: A helpless Raila Odinga, a bleating Miguna and the destitute rule of law. The declaration that “I am not boarding! Where is my passport! The Captain cannot fly!” affirmed Miguna’s valiance in the face of adversity.

N for No to NTSA

President Uhuru Kenyatta personally kicked out National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) officials off the Kenyan roads following a bout of criticism over the agency’s inability to curb road carnage. Kenyans celebrated the move which left the agency counting the losses of having to ground hundreds of NTSA branded patrol cars. The Kenyan voice was loud and clear: They’d rather deal with the police.

Migori governor Okoth Obado at a Milimani law court where he was charged with the murder of Rongo university student Sharon Otieno on 24/10/2018. [Beverlyne Musili,Standard]
O for Okoth Obado

Misfortune seemed to be Migori Governor Okoth Obado’s lot in the year 2018 and they came in quick succession. The murder of his pregnant girlfriend Sharon Otieno triggered it all; month-long incarceration, murder charge on his neck, a hospital stay chained on the bed, corruption investigations and senatorial by-election loss.

P for People Power

The wind of change swept through some of the biggest economies in Africa. In South Africa, President Jacob Zuma was still throwing punches when his sponsor party ANC was preoccupied with reorganising the Chief Justice’s diary to swear his successor. In neighboring Ethiopia, Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegn read the writing on the wall and stepped down. In DRC, Joseph Kabila agreed to an election without his name in the ballot and in Uganda, musician Bobi Wine gave strongman Yoweri sleepless nights.

Q for Quack doctor Mugo Wairimu

Making a comeback in his quackery, notorious “Doctor” Mugo Wairimu was back in the news this year after hibernating for years in similar ignominy. Caught on camera drugging his sorry self and giving medical advice in drunken stupor, the man was apprehended in his cousin’s dingy house in Gachie after playing police with 15 SIM cards for two weeks.

R for Reggae music

Long before the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added it to the list of cultural entities worthy of preservation, Kenyans had already domesticated the tag line “Nobody can stop reggae” in 2018. Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley had long prophesised that his brand of music will “go on and on forever, until it reaches the right people”. It came to pass in 2018 when the UNESCO meeting played it live in the hallowed halls of UN Headquarters as the Jamaican delegation celebrated.

S for Swearing-in

The effects of the January 31 swearing-in ceremony for Nasa leader Raila Odinga can still be felt as 2018 draws to a close. Through it, the Nasa four principals’ arrangement crumbled like a house of cards. The talk of Nigerian phone lines, bodies made or not made for jail, crocodiles in River Jordan and smell of betrayal linger on to this date.

T for Transitions

The year 2018 was marked by momentous transitions of people who shaped modern Kenyan in one way or another. From former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the man who saved Kenya from the brink of precipice, Ouma Muga whose obituary celebrated him for staging a coup, Senator Ben Oluoch whose children list stretched to “and many others” to music legend Joseph Kamaru, Kenya lost a mosaic of true gems.

U for United Kingdom pleasures and pains

Our former colonisers had a mixed bag of fortunes in 2018. The ghosts of Brexit vote came back to haunt as Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no confidence motion over a raw deal of Brexit plan. The silver lining for the crown however was the fancied royal wedding between the Prince of Wales Harry and Ms Meghan Markle which unleashed the vain spirits of Kenyan upper middle class.

V for Vera Sidika vs Otille Brown

It was undeniably the breakup of the year, a voluptuous slay queen and a musical sensation. Like it was wont to, it ended up in irrational revelations and allegations against each other: From Otile allegedly pulling all stunts to put a ban in Sidika’s oven to Sidika pulling all stops to dodge the bullets, the pair spiced the gossip columns and Nairobi’s tabloids a great deal.

W for Woman Eater

Justice James Wakiaga opened the can of worms when he declared murder suspect Joseph “Jowie” Irungu “a male version of a slay queen and a woman eater.” Nobody saw this coming, especially from a judge of the High Court. The murder case involving Jowie and TV journalist Jacque Maribe gripped the nation as a third principal, State House Director Dennis Itumbi came to the fore to stand behind Maribe.

X for x-rating of 45th POTUS

President Donald Trump, the self-declared stable genius, started the year with “shithole” remark on African countries. In between, he called a CNN reporter “terrible person”, Kim Jong Un “little rocket man” and blasted his ex-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as “dumb as a rock.” He has declared ex-AG Eric Schneiderman a “sleazebag”.

Y for Youthful Moody Awori

President Uhuru Kenyatta pulled a good one on Kenyan youth when he appointed “youthful” former Vice President Moody Awori to chair a sports kitty. Following an outpouring of public fury, Uhuru said he trusted the “youthful” Awori to keep the money than the younglings whose preoccupation with wealth creation predisposes them to theft.

Z for Zero Chills

It was the year of zero chills as prominent Kenyans went for each other’s jugular. Nominated MP David ole Sankok went for the neck of single mothers before he was held by his balls by fellow MP Martha Wangari. Mzee Jackson Kibor had no respite in his wives-divorcing spree, booting the second in a matter of months. President Uhuru Kenyatta himself several times exploded on zero chill mode, telling off Governor Sonko, among other incidents.

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