On the Passing of Professor George Saitoti

26 Jun

(Most of this was originally written as a lengthy status update on 19th June 2012. It is not a light read; I can feel its weight. It’s made me think, too. Let’s be sober, let’s be honest, and most of all, let’s be READY.)

If one was paying a visit to Kenya between 10th June 2012 and 17th June 2012, one could be forgiven for thinking that Professor George Saitoti singlehandedly fought for, and obtained, Kenya’s independence. I feel genuinely sorry for his grieving widow (a lady about whom I have heard only good things), and for his now fatherless son. Nobody would like to lose a husband/father.

On the other hand, if the late Professor is to be judged on the basis of what he did for (to!) his country, as a national leader, then let us talk plainly. The way in which politicians and the media whitewashed his reputation was disappointing, it was weak, it showed a lack of principle and it was a colossal, monumental lie of omission. It would appear that there are no depths to which one can sink, from which one cannot be magically raised and eulogized as a hero. As Kenyans, let us make a habit of calling a spade a spade. Even aside from Goldenberg, have we already forgotten that the late Professor did not even make it to Parliament in a credible manner this time? He had to flee for his life when irate voters stoned him after it was alleged that mysterious ballot boxes (some even with personal effects like lesos inside them) were appearing during vote-tallying. Before the chaos erupted, his main opponent, the Reverend Moses ole Sakuda, was leading with 9,412 votes. The late minister was “trailing by 4,127 votes from about 40 stations tallied“. The rest is now history. In short, this man in all likelihood cheated his way into Parliament and a ministerial post. In fact, he might not even have died, if he’d been more honest. Yet we bow obsequiously to his memory. We are serfs in our minds, a nation of intellectual slaves.

I also think we are very superstitious; we fear condemning the wrong actions of those who are dead. Why? Shouldn’t we be learning from that, and taking lessons as to how we can better live our own lives? Do we fear being haunted at night? If so, why then do we call ourselves a nation with an 80% Christian population? If it’s the truth, and if it is said with the aim of bringing light and clarity to the matter (not just out of malice/bitterness), there will no harm come to us. Let us be clear, let us be frank, let us be honest, and let us be fearless about the truth.

How did we, as the church, manage to bury the late Professor and not say anything about how he lived his life? Wasn’t this a golden opportunity to remind both ourselves and our fellow citizens that “every one of us shall give account of himself to God?” Where is the truth to be found, any more, if not in the church? Is there no-one left for whom black is black and white is white? No matter how large or how thick the clouds of incense we may have wafted over the late Professor’s coffin, the mists of untruth and falsehood shall never becloud the facts of his public life before a holy God. They shall not becloud the facts of our lives either – whether public or private. May God give us men who can draw that line in the sand between good and bad with neither fear nor favour.

Perhaps we make excuses for others in the hope that excuses will be made for us, when we die. Let me say it again: excepting that Professor George Saitoti repented and sought God before he died, his case is not unique; he is in hell right now for what he did to the people of this nation, among his other sins. And, folks, except we ourselves repent, we “shall all likewise perish.” There is one place where the rules cannot be bent Kenyan-style folks, and that is before the Almighty. Let the late Professor’s passing have two effects upon us:

  1. Let it make us think deeply about whether it is really worthwhile to live as he lived, amassing wealth (especially at poor people’s expense). All his wealth counts for nothing before God, and anyway, he left it all behind.
  2. Let it make us reflect on whether we are ready to die as suddenly as he died, and face God ourselves.

Oh God, have mercy upon us. Like Elijah, we say that we are not better than our fathers. Have mercy upon us all! Help us to live lives that can stand up before the scrutiny not only of our fellow man, but also before Your all-seeing scrutiny. The Scripture says that “there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.” That hour must come for us all, and we know not when it shall come. May the fear of God return to this nation before all is lost. May we learn from Professor Saitoti’s untimely passing that we ought always to be ready. We ask You to help us be ready, always. In Jesus Christ’s Name, Amen.


Posted by on June 26, 2012 in Politics, Spiritual


15 responses to “On the Passing of Professor George Saitoti

  1. farmgal

    June 27, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Thanks for the preach

    • Chrenyan

      June 27, 2012 at 9:40 am

      Thanks for commenting, Farmgal. Glad that you found the piece to be of use.

  2. Justus

    June 27, 2012 at 10:29 am

    The truth usually hurts. It hurt me most last time, when Kipkalya Kones was being eulogized,knowing all too well that he was a key perpetrator of electoral violence in 1992, 1997. I come from Molo and that i can never forget. it also beats me, when people talk very nicely of former president Moi, when we know he brought down the economy and our livelihoods as far as Milk and Pyrethrum farming is concerned. I think we must be bold enough to state that someone failed (at least in our perspective) in executing public mandate. This coalition government is a ‘fruit’ of the blood of thousands of kenyans who died, got injured and displaced during the 07/08 PEV. Saitoti was no hero, he failed the public when had an opportunity to stand up for what is right during the Goldenberg saga.

    • Chrenyan

      June 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm

      Hey bro,

      Thanks for always commenting. I found it uncanny that Messrs Saitoti and Ojode died precisely on the 4th anniversary of the passing of Kipkalya Kones and Lorna Laboso. I had also heard what you say about Kipkalya Kones. It is also interesting what you say about President Moi, because I almost included that aspect in my article, along the lines of: what are we going to say when he passes on? Judging from the way the late Professor was canonized, it seems that something to say will indeed be found, which is sad.

      I appreciate your encouragement. Let’s say what needs to be said, and do what needs to be done.

  3. ohweknow

    June 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    The truth as it is….the Good Lord has his timing for good tidings and swift justice. It may be slow in coming, but I have learnt that it does come in the end.
    All ye left behind, be wary. You may control and bend rules now, but malipo ni hapa hapa.

    • Chrenyan

      June 27, 2012 at 6:32 pm

      Hi ohweknow,

      Thanks for your comment. God is (1) patient and (2) has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. But such incidents can indeed teach us to be wary and not to bend the rules. I usually ask what it’s all for, anyway. You may have 100 houses, but each night you sleep in just one bed, and you can only ride in one car at a time. Much better to spend one’s life enriching the lives of others, instead of enriching oneself. But not all see it that way.

      Appreciate your stopping by.

  4. Stephanie VanBuren

    August 3, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    There were his billboards allover town..maybe from the Goldenberg change..its sad…sad that he died, and went went down with other innocent Kenyans trying to make an honest living maybe working overtime(pilots and bodyguards) and sad that the chopper he used should have been patrolling around Nairobi to mulika wezi…or fly policemen to wajir..or even doing nothing other than flying people for a harambee…its sad….

    • Chrenyan

      August 4, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      Hey Stephanie,

      Thank you for commenting, once again. I really appreciate it.

      I was amazed at the billboards – public money spent deifying a man who did much to hurt Kenyans. I agree, it’s sad that he died. But we shouldn’t lie about what his life really meant to us all.

      And you’re so SO right about that helicopter. I totally agree.

  5. Stephanie VanBuren

    August 6, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Oh I should throw this in there..we were car jacked last year..Feb 26th on the Southern Bypass..or is it Northern..(passess through Kibera) if the chopper was patrolling we wouldnt have been carjacked at foward to late last year, my husbans’s phone was found, the cops at Kilimani did a very good job I must say…fast foward to this year we first appear in court, one of the thugs demands to read the statement(its his right)..he is given by guess who????THE COP..fair enough..Iraise my concern because our phone numbers are there and our residential address..cop says he blocked the numbers…the thug couldnt see them

    Guess what? when we were in Court, my hubby gets a call..FROM THE THUG ON THE OTHER SIDE..threatening him…tells the cop, the number is blocked…and since April this year, my husband has been getting threatening calls FROM KAMITI..and the thug actuallly identifies himself…

    Long story short…had the chopper been out on patrol..maybe the thugs wouldnt be at the bypass..had they saved the money and competivively remunerated the police force, maybe the prison warden wouldnt accept 500 and maybe the thug wouldnt be making calls and we would be happy Kenyans

    Oh did i mention the thug is facing multiple counts of robbery with violence, rape, etc…

    Im one pissed off Kenyan

    • Chrenyan

      August 7, 2012 at 11:39 pm

      Hey Stephanie,

      I cannot even begin to understand your frustration at how the police could have done such a good job investigating (a rare thing in itself), and then undone all their good work by handing over your contacts to the thugs! Does this happen to everyone? This is serious – one would be tempted to move house immediately!

      Or had the bypass had been completed by that time… The list of questions and “what ifs” is nearly endless.

      May you and your family be safe throughout this ordeal.

  6. Emmanuel

    September 18, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Thumb up for your good story about the late Prof.George Saitoti\

    • Chrenyan

      September 19, 2012 at 6:40 pm

      Hi Emmanuel,

      Thanks for writing in! I appreciate it. And I didn’t know that folks would agree that the story is good 🙂 Thanks for letting me know, it encourages me as an author.

  7. Emmanuel

    September 18, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    After all this Sakuda have captured the seat again even after losing to the late mheshimiwa in the past

    • Chrenyan

      September 19, 2012 at 6:54 pm

      Hi Emmanuel,

      Appreciate your comment once again.

      Yes sir! After all has been said and done, ole Sakuda has captured the seat. I like your use of the word “again” because one can mischievously imply that it is the second time he is capturing the seat 🙂

      Likening the universe to a pendulum, Martin Luther King once said: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

      May justice continue to prevail in our country. God bless Kenya.


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