Every New Year brings with it a chance for every man to reflect on the previous year. Here are some men folk who stood out for me in 2016:
#1 Dr. Fred Matiang'i
It would be pure sacrilege not to start with this great Cabinet Secretary who has seized the imagination of nearly every mwananchi. And how has he done it? Not by simply doing his job, as some Kenyans say, but by going far and beyond the call of duty to be a true patriot and secure a fair future for this country’s children.
Matiang’i has shown that the Dragon of Corruption can be fought and slain, even when it breathes fire and burns schools down to the ground. He has made ‘A’ great again, and earned himself an ‘A’ for his performance in 2016. It means the other ‘ministers’ are merely middling, to mediocre, to outright corrupt or bloody useless. If Matiang’i can, why can’t they?
Matiang’i is like that bright and super helpful student in a class where some students are sleeping, some smoking bhang in the toilet while others are AWOL, unaware that First Term has started. And the headmaster and his deputy ought to ask more of this class, really.
#2 Governor Alfred Mutua
He gets an A minus for his performance, and still emerges top of the class of 47 governors. Dr Mutua dazzles when it comes to hype and delivery, and you only have to see the lights and Machakos People’s Park and compare it with the dirt and city sleaze in the capital to see the difference.
Gov Alf may be that student involved in bruising fights with others in the school yard, but in class, he is sterling. And other than his flair for theater and support of the arts, I love Alf Mutua’s originality. In a country of party and ethnic cocooning, the man has simply set up a third way, called it ‘Maendeleo Chap Chap’ and proceeded to push for tangible development.
Alf is the kind of big dreamer we will need if we are ever to go the way of Singapore some day, not petty county chiefs whose dreams consist of pinching every penny from our coffers.
#3 Binyavanga Wainaina
He was and will always be a friend I admire, right from the days he founded Kwani? to today. In an ‘African’ culture where men hide everything, I am glad he bravely came out of the closet about his sexuality and health; and that he continues to fight for his rights to at least enjoy a bit of life. And not be dogged to death’s door by institutional constraints and folks.
#4 Cecil Miller
He is that career lawyer who makes The Practice look attractive. Suave, smooth and persuasive, Cecil Miller is also sharp as a blade. With his money and mannerism, he is still down to earth with a self-effacing humor, and nothing gets this guy down. He is not just intellect with a legal degree, the dude also has great pedigree.
Papa Ahmed was that ‘homie’ from the hood who has made good. Perhaps I’m biased because we were born on the same day and hospital, but this big and tall fellow is not just great company but one of the funniest fellows I know. And I’m sure if he becomes MP of Langata, he’ll make ‘LA’ lovely again, like the ‘80s.
For the thirteenth year running, and maybe for the last time since he leaves presidency in a couple of weeks, give it up for Barack Obama.
#5 My uncle King Masese
He was that cool old man last month, negotiating the bride price alone in a room with 16 Ameru. Okay, so not quite all alone. He was with one Silas Nyanchwani. Lakini Silas is that ‘bad boy’ who throws shade on matrimony – saying before you know it, she will replace your art deco with family photos, get LG electronics (yet you love Samsung because you are team Chelsea), etc – and soon you are that married dude who lives in, and loves the local.