September 27, 2022
World Post News
General Politics

The Man Johnston Sakaja And His Tribulations

The name of Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja has been on everyone’s lips in recent times, with the legislator who is eyeing the city’s gubernatorial seat at the August polls currently knee deep in troubles following the Commission for University Education’s (CUE) decision to rescind recognition of his degree, in a move that has left the fate of his governorship bid up in limbo.

Despite the aforesaid setback and increased calls to drop out of the race, the suave and charismatic Sakaja remains on paper, the biggest obstacle to Jubilee Party candidate Polycarp Igathe’s prospects of occupying City Hall’s corner office come August.

The Man Johnston Sakaja 

Born on February 2, 1985 in Nairobi, Sakaja laid the foundation of his political career when he joined Lenana School in 1999 after finishing his primary education at Aga Khan Nursery and Primary School a year earlier.

 

His leadership qualities emerged during his stint at the national school where he was designated the prefects’ coordinator and Vice Chair of the institution’s law club.Sometime after finishing his secondary education, Sakaja enrolled for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Actuarial Science at the University of Nairobi (UON) where he was soon after named Vice Chair of the Actuarial Students Association.

 

He would later clinch one of the most coveted positions at the institution when he was convincingly elected as the Chairman of the now defunct Students’ Organisation of Nairobi University (SONU), reaffirming his status as a rising political star.Though quite popular among his peers, Sakaja was still not a household name in Kenyan politics. This would however change in 2005 when he used his position as SONU boss to rally university students behind the referendum.

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In 2007, Sakaja would also drum up support for then President the late Mwai Kibaki’s re-election bid; starting out as a youth mobiliser before being named the director of the ‘Vijana na Kibaki’ lobby group.

Following contentious results in the said elections, violence and looting erupted in different parts of Kenya with Sakaja publicly imploring his then boss Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga to find an amicable solution to the conflict that would put a stop to the bloodshed.

 

During this period, Sakaja was notably given the podium to address Kibaki’s Cabinet at the time on the same. He was just 22-years-old but he took his opportunity when he rubbed shoulders with some of Kenya’s most powerful individuals then, in particular Minister for Local Government and now President, Uhuru Kenyatta.

After exchanging pleasantries, President Kenyatta took a liking to the promising Sakaja who went on to help Kibaki’s administration in hashing out important details pertaining to the formation of the 2010 Constitution and specifically in defining the boundaries of constituencies.

 

At 26, Sakaja was instrumental in the formation of The National Alliance (TNA), which President Kenyatta used as his foundation when forming the Jubilee Party, whose ticket he used to get into State House during the 2012 presidential race.Sakaja was named TNA’s chairperson at the time, becoming one of the youngest political heads in the country in the process.

 

When President Kenyatta ascended to power, the ruling Jubilee Party, in 2013, nominated Sakaja into the 11th Parliament where he successfully sponsored into law the Public Procurement and Disposal (Amendment) Bill and the National Employment Authority Bill.He was likewise given a seat at the National Assembly’s joint Committee on National Cohesion and Equal Opportunity, which he would later chair.

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Sakaja’s extensive legislative endeavours, between 2013 and 2017, saw him awarded the Chief of the Order of the Burning Spear (CBS) First Class by President Kenyatta.In 2017, Sakaja, after much deliberation, announced that he would be contesting for Nairobi’s Senator seat despite initially eyeing the county’s governor position.

 

Under a Jubilee ticket, Sakaja overwhelmingly trounced his closest competitor, ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna, at the subsequent polls garnering 52 per cent of all votes while Sifuna managed 42 per cent.He would occupy the seat for the next four years before exiting Jubilee and later announcing in November 2021 that he would be contesting for Nairobi’s governor seat under a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party ticket.

 

Only time will tell if the ambitious Senator will realise his dream to lead Nairobi County as its governor in future, despite his present troubles.Legal experts recently told Citizen Digital that CUE’s decision to revoke recognition of Sakaja’s university degree may be final and binding.

 

Top city lawyers Steve Ogolla and Danstan Omari dismissed Sakaja’s claim of a political witchhunt in the degree saga, maintaining that the obligation is on him to prove that indeed the degree he holds is valid.According to Ogolla, CUE might have either been misled into earlier clearing Sakaja or there was collusion, which he says will be a subject for determination in the investigations by CUE.

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“If new information has been placed in the hands of CUE indicating that Sakaja may have been cleared irregularly it is within CUE’s power to revoke the prior recognition of the degree. IEBC does not authenticate degrees… In Sakaja’s instance, somebody must have misled CUE. Whether there was collusion between an official at CUE and Sakaja, to have the commission irregularly validate his degree will be the outcome of investigations,” Ogolla said.

On his part, lawyer Omari said the “game is over” for Sakaja and that he should not “waste time” seeking legal redress if indeed he has a valid degree.

 

“CUE is the only legitimate entity in this country where any foreign university is taken for accreditation, grading and for being accepted as a degree known in this country. It has spoken loud and clear that Sakaja is not qualified or the paper he presented is not a degree for the purpose of the Kenyan market. That is closure and the court cannot overrule the national accredited entity to do that job,” said Omari.

“Sakaja can only challenge the CUE decision if he has a degree. Any foreign degree must be confirmed by CUE and CUE has confirmed that he does not have it. If Sakaja had a degree he would have just presented it and the matter ends. Any legal avenue available for Sakaja is a waste of time,” he added.

 

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