In Summary
  • Everyone knew Mr Waititu — a stone merchant-turned politician who could easily participate in street fights. The mobs loved him and, for that, the political elite wanted him.
  • Nobody checked his management acumen — and political parties, when approving nominations for governors, hardly care.
  • He, like Gideon Mbuvi Sonko in Nairobi, could stand over stinking trenches, mesmerise the crowds as ‘down-to-earth’ and turn physical, if it came to that.

A man who throws his family members under the bus to exonerate himself from corruption charges is one clutching at straws. And the straws gave in. Desolate. Angry. And impeached. Mr Ferdinand Waititu fought, clawed, clowned but Senate could hear none of it. The senators overwhelmingly voted to kick him out.

Mr Waititu was alone Wednesday, but when he sought to become the governor of Kiambu, the then populist Nairobi politician was the love of politicians eager to tap into his street theatrics and no-holds-barred stunts against his rivals. 

Everyone knew Mr Waititu — a stone merchant-turned politician who could easily participate in street fights. The mobs loved him and, for that, the political elite wanted him. He, like Gideon Mbuvi Sonko in Nairobi, could stand over stinking trenches, mesmerise the crowds as ''down-to-earth'' and turn physical, if it came to that. For that, he was cheered on by exuberant crowds drowned in political ecstasy.

Nobody checked his management acumen — and political parties, when approving nominations for governors, hardly care.

Mr Waititu, then and now, represents all that is wrong with our party politics. He epitomises all that is awkward about our national institutions. Sonko is in that class too, full to the brim with ne’er-do-wells, social misfits and loud mouths-turned-leaders.

The impeachment of Mr Waititu by the Kiambu County Assembly was yet another test on whether the Senate could play its cardinal oversight role within the counties which have become the new citadels of corruption.

For years now, political parties seeking to mobilise voters have been turning to such populists to drive the masses and harvest votes — and turn a blind eye to any integrity issues that follow such populists. That is how Parliament has ended up with the likes of Babu Owino, the perennial University of Nairobi student leader who was elected the MP for Embakasi East and who is currently charged with attempted murder. 

In a country where integrity is no longer an integral part of our politics — after the deliberate watering down of Chapter Six on Leadership and Integrity — politicians with stained backgrounds now survive at the altar of political patronage; where tribalism, nepotism and corruption have become the criteria for party nomination, election and survival.

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