Right from start our city of lights will keep waning

Senator Johnson Sakaja arrives for Nairobi County gubernatorial debate at CUEA on July 11, 2022. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja arrived for the governors’ debate 20 minutes late, and, he said, this was in large part due to his magnanimity. He wanted to allow his competitor, Polycarp Igathe, a “head-start since he is “used to getting it from the State.”

Such acts of generosity are rare in politics, though Sakaja did not clarify if his nomination to Parliament by The National Alliance, which he chaired for years, constitutes a State “head-start.”

This business of head-start framed the entirety of his debate. Igathe was a State project, Sakaja said time and again, and he (Sakaja) was a victim of State agents who are determined to lock him from running for the governor’s seat, to install their stooge.

Sakaja has been in court to answer to claims of falsifying his academic records. He has conceded he did not complete his studies, allegedly as he wasn’t able to raise his fees, although he had enough to buy a Mercedes Benz and a flat in the city. He committed to return and complete his degree.

One can only assume, however, degrees at the University of Nairobi are open-ended, so one can always return if and when it’s appropriate. We are also assuming that Sakaja had passed all his courses.

But that’s not my problem, since Sakaja has another “degree” from Team University, successfully completed “externally”, well before the advent of Zoom technology.

So, why should we be fussing about university degrees when there are millions of young Kenyans out there with proper academic qualifications, yet they haven’t found a legitimate avenue to earn an honest day’s work?

This is where Igathe should come in handy. Rather than run for elective office, he should consider serving as a motivational speaker cum career advisor and help young people articulate their career dreams as fluently as he does.

For those who have forgotten, Igathe’s career somersaults five years ago saw him leave helm at Vivo Energy to be Mbuvi Sonko’s running mate, but was driven out of town after only six months, joining Equity Bank before returning to Vivo Energy, before rejoining Equity again! In that case, one can only say he’s rejoining the city governor’s race, after a five-year break!

Nairobi gubernatorial candidates Johnson Sakaja and Polycarp Igathe. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

The two had a chance to banter without leaving blood on the floor, and even invent new idioms, as did Igathe with his “kicking a dead dog” mantra. Sakaja responded by saying this was manifest proof education does not confer intelligence.

Neither did he, by letting Igathe take the stage ahead of him. That’s akin to an athlete letting others sprint ahead because he’s over-confident about his prowess to catch and outrun them. It’s that mind-set that our elders had when they declared that pride comes before a fall.

But Igathe - whose name means “one who is praised,” is too deluded about his own importance to learn from his competitor’s folly. So, our city is doomed, right from the start.

The problems that beset our beloved city have been in the making for 100 years. Our needs are basic: food, clothes and shelter for the 5 million of us.

Igathe thinks having paved walkways in the city will provide food and shelter for those in need. Sakaja thinks endlessly propounding of political conspiracies will provide social amenities to those who need them.