By Prudence Minayo
Johnson Sakaja Arthur is the current senator of Nairobi county. A cool collected politician whose leadership skills manifested when he was quite young. His meteoric rise to one of the most coveted elective positions in Kenya can be credited to his easy charm, humility and being in the right political party at the time. This writer takes a look at a man who might as well become the president of Kenya someday.
Sakaja was born on the 2nd of February 1985 as the last born in a family of three. He lived with his family in Nairobi’s Parklands area in the then Government quarters.
The politician attended Aga Khan primary school before joining Lenana high school. In high school, he was the vice chairman of the law society as well as prefects’ coordinator. His oratorical skills were unmatched and he went on to emerge the winner in public speaking in the National Music Festival with his piece, “My Country Kenya “
After high school, he qualified to join Harvard University but he couldn’t raise the required fees. He joined the University of Nairobi where he became the chairman of the student organization (SONU) and graduated with a degree in Actuarial Science.
The University of Nairobi graduate got his first job at Pricewatercoopers (PWC,) at the age of 19. According to wikipedia, the 35 year old politician lost his job a year prompting him to work for his auntie who owned a cyber cafe. He had a keen interest in music and followed up on this interest by writing several rap songs which he never got to produce. The industrious politician had several businesses while in campus including the Arthur Johnson Consultants which is running to date.
His first stint in national politics was during the 2005 referendum where he used his position in SONU to rally the students for the then proposed constitution.
In 2007, he was part of the Kibaki campaign team. He was the director of Vijana na Kibaki lobby group.
At the age of 26, he was among the people who helped in the formation of (TNA), the party that put President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto in power. He then became the chairman of the ruling party, a role he served until TNA merged with 12 other parties to form the Jubilee Coalition in 2016. The party nominated him as a member of Parliament.
In 2017, he was elected the senator of Nairobi County through the Jubilee party where his powers include:
- Representing the interests of Nairobi county
- Participating in the law making of the county by considering, debating and approving bills
While in parliament, he has tabled a number of bills:
- Public procurement and asset disposal act 2015 which provides 30% procurement reservation criteria for youths, women and persons with disabilities.
- The national youth employment authority bill, creates a national employment authority that shall actively seek opportunities for all job seekers in its database both nationally and internationally, and prepare them for those opportunities through capacity building programs
- The Disaster Risk Management Bill, providing for a more effective organization of disaster risk management and mitigation, of preparedness for, response to and recovery from emergencies and disasters.
- The Private Society Regulation Bill, provides for a framework of cooperation between private security companies and the national security organs.
He is also the:
- Chairman of the Kenya Young Parliament Association, consisting of people aged 35 years and below
- Patron of the Kenya professional boxing commission
- Executive member of the Kenya National Private Security Workers
- Member of Liaison committee in the National Assembly
The current Nairobi Senator is married with two children. Sakaja shared a video rapping with his two sons about Covid 19 and the precaution Kenyans should take.
- African Achievers Award change- maker (2016)
- Jacob Well Award 2016 (Men Impacting Differently)
Political Tiff With Sonko
The abrasive nature of Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko brand of politics is in deep contrast with the more sober minded Sakaja. In playing his role as a senator, the senator viciously attacked the Governor for running a dysfunctional executive, being abusive and employing bullying tactics by intimidation and even physical assault. Before the county boss was reduced to a ceremonial governor, the two never saw eye to eye.
Politics being what it is, Sakaja faulted the police in the manner in which Sonko was manhandled when he attempted to evade arrest. The once bigger than life politician was humbled as he was cuffed by overzealous police officers.
His tweet read:
“I think there would have been a better way of handling a governor who is elected by the people, in this case. Even after he had been arrested we saw him being pushed around a lot of the physical elements of it I do not think were necessary. Unless it is people trying to release different pressures,” Sakaja told KTN News.
In a rejoinder, activist Boniface Mwangi went for the jugular saying the remarks by the senator were informed by his desire to protect his businesses.
“Senator @SakajaJohnson needs Nairobi County government, he runs an outdoor advertising business in this city. The last time he dared criticize Governor @MikeSonko, his outdoor advertising business was vandalized and he lost business. Sakaja must toe the line or lose business!” wrote Boniface Mwangi.