Can the real heroes please stand up?

(First published online 21/10/10)

A lot has being written about Hon. Gidion Mbuvi Kioko a.k.a Mike Munga a.k.a Mike Sonko a.k.a Kabumba. He has managed to have his picture on the front page of our daily news papers at least 3 times in one week; he has being the subject of endless radio, TV and print stories and he is literally the talk of the town. This is no easy feat and even Kibaki or Raila do not get such attention.

Mheshimiwa dresses like a member of G-Unit rap group complete with the baggy jean, tops, cap and excessive bling. He spent over 100M shillings in the by-elections, had his 97m shilling account frozen, claims to have 200 bank accounts and his source of income is unclear. He has several court cases pending and several warrants of arrest issued against him. His bouncers brandished guns and beat up a popular DJ in the presence of an 8yr old girl. His communication skills in both English and Kiswahili are horrible.

With the above bad reputation it would be obvious that no one would want association with him but strangely the opposite is true. Presidential aspirant Martha Karua who previously demanded integrity in leadership gave him a ticket to run on her Narc-Kenya party, Safaricom, has an advertising campign branded ‘Mansonko na Safaricom’ and Sonko is the latest cool word on the street.

And this is not a freak once off occurrence. Maina Njenga, the leader of Mungiki is a guest at all the high society events held in Kenya and he is treated like royalty. The fact that he is the leader of a gang that savagely extorts money from ordinary wananchi and brutally murders them too is conveniently forgotten. Kamlesh Pattni, architect of the biggest economic crime committed in Kenya is also a ‘celebrity’.

This brings me to my questions. What is Kenya’s definition of a hero? Who is a hero to you as a Kenyan? No, these are not rhetorical questions! I would like to know names of at least four Kenyans – 2 men and 2 women – who you would consider as heroes and heroines. These should be people you would aspire to be like.

There may be a problem in that there is a lack of heroes and heroines in Kenya and thus men like Sonko are just filling in the vacuum.

Let’s talk.



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