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Kenyans rip into Sankok for history of abusing political opponents, despite recent loss of son

NEWS
By Stephen Mkawale | May 7th 2022 | 4 min read

Kenyans on social media exhibited a disturbingly dark and unforgiving side this week, after they heaped insults on nominated MP David ole Sankok who is wrapped in grief following his teenage son’s death.

Not that it is the first time the politician is getting caught up in a national storm. Mostly dressed in patriotic colours heavily borrowed from Kanu and the national flag, Sankok, who represents Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the National Assembly, always stands out in a crowd. Sankok served as chairman of the National Council of People with Disabilities before joining active politics in 2017. 

Outspoken and controversial, he has a loose tongue and has been known to say mean and hurtful things. 

His barbs are normally directed to ODM leader and the current Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya coalition party presidential candidate Raila Odinga; and those against DP Ruto’s presidential ambitions in the August 9 polls. He has uttered many unprintable insults, enough to make a priest go deaf.

An incident captured last year on cameras, conducting a mock burial for Raila Odinga and Junet Mohammed was particularly crass. Sankok dug a shallow grave near his home and buried photos of the two, as a crowd of supporters cheered him on.

His attacks against the former prime minister went overboard during a parliamentary session when he was quoted in parliament saying that Raila sacrificed his son, Fidel Odinga in order to become president. Members were left speechless.

Beside his political jibes, Sankok appeared in court after buying land from a 7-year-old orphan claiming that it’s the boy who sold the land to him.

Early this year, Sankok and like-minded individuals moved to the High Court seeking orders to bar Raila from contesting the presidency in the August 9 polls over claims that the former PM was not fit to become Kenya’s next President.

According to Sankok, Odinga has allegedly committed treason by actively participating in the 1982 coup and swearing himself in as the people’s president in 2017 after losing to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

In 2020, he warmed up to Deputy President William Ruto’s Tanga Tanga wing of the ruling Jubilee Party, singing praises of the second in command who had fallen out with his boss. He showered praise on the DP as he gifted him with a goat as a sign of friendship and loyalty. Sankok then said that DP Ruto was the future president of Kenya.

But Sankok appeared to beat a hasty retreat when he commented on social media that President Uhuru was ‘his party leader, his president and choice’.

The quick turnaround might have been occasioned by the Jubilee Party’s move to discipline nominated MPs aligned to Ruto including Sankok, Isaac Mwaura, Cecily Mbarire, Naomi Waqo, Millicent Omanga, and Mary Senata. The whip was cracked and Ole Sankok was ejected from the powerful house committee alongside other MPs and Senators aligned to DP Ruto.

Sankok, was voted one of the best-performing MPs in a survey carried out by Mzalendo in 2019, then made an expected announcement that he will be retiring from politics to give other people with disabilities a chance to make a difference in parliament.

Born on December 11, 1978 in Entotol in Narok County, Sankok loved football and sprinting and played like any other young boy until he got pneumonia in 1989 and was taken to hospital. An injection by the doctor completely paralyzed his right leg.

Owing to this, he faced social segregation, social isolation, stigmatisation, and ridicule, especially from the kids he used to bully around.

He began his education at Ole Sankale Primary School before proceeding to Kericho High School. He became captain while in high school.

In 1998, he joined the University of Nairobi and was elected SONU chairman two years later. He however only served for 7 months before he was suspended suspended

In a past TV interview, Sankok said he fell out with the authorities over the introduction of parallel degree programs. He claimed he was arrested 11 times and that three assassination attempts were made on his life in Kericho, Thika road and Narok.

He fled to Norway and pursued a diploma in medical research at Bergen University. In 2002, he returned to Kenya after the new government granted amnesty to all suspended students and graduated in 2005 from the University of Nairobi.

Sankok also served as chairman of Nairobi University Association of the disabled. He only lasted as SONU chairman.

Raila was among leaders who condoled with the MP following his son’s death, saying: “It is painful to experience losing a child, more difficult having to bury one; we stand with you during this difficult time. Please accept condolences from Mama Ida and I. May God grant your entire family fortitude.”

 

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