The lavish chartered private jet, which Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho and Suna East MP Junet Mohamed used to fly to Dubai on Thursday afternoon, has been the talk of town since its photos first hit the internet.
Arguably the closest Raila Odinga confidantes in ODM, the two Baba stalwarts were on a mission to pay their political godfather a visit in Dubai, where he is recuperating after undergoing a corrective nerve surgery. The two politicians never miss a chance to show how close and loyal they are to Raila Odinga, which is a smart political card that they play so masterfully.
Through this card alone, they have managed to worm their way into the hearts of Baba’s legion of followers. It is for this reason that Junet Mohamed is the only Dholuo-speaking politician of Kenyan Somali descent, who has never lost an election in a constituency that has a majority of ethnic Luo voters. Likewise, if Ali Hassan Joho goes to any of Baba’s political strongholds across the country today, he will be received like a sultan.
However, the sheer opulence exhibited by the two shrewd politicians, amid a sea of abject poverty in the country has left many tongues wagging. This, coming especially now when a majority of poor Kenyans have no idea where their next meal will come from – thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastation on the economy and lost livelihoods – is utterly uncalled for.
So, what is so special about the much talked about jet?
The super mid-sized jet that the two rode in is, to be precise, an Airbus 318. According to Paramount Business, a private jet charter company, hiring the plane will cost you a cool Ksh.500, 000 per hour. It takes approximately five hours to fly from Nairobi to Dubai. Citizen TV Digital News’ modest estimation put one leg of the flight at a cost of anything in the neighborhoods of 2 million and upwards.
The jet, which happens to be the smallest airliner in the Airbus 320 family is the epitome of splendor in modern air cruises. The baby boasts a breath-taking lounge area, a cosy private office, a lavishly magnificent VIP dining room, besides a kingly bedroom. The 10-year old bird is said to have cruised into the country, from Lusaka, Zambia, on July 8th. It landed at the JKIA at exactly 11:23am and took off to Dubai with its VIP patrons at 12:45pm, on Thursday.
As much as we would want to understand that the restrictions imposed on commercial air travel, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, might have necessitated the use of a chartered jet by Governor Hassan Joho and Junet Mohamed; we can’t help but wonder what the two ODM politicians were up to when they splashed photos of their opulent cruise to Dubai all over social media.
Today the BIG BIRD delves into the sheer vanity, narcissism, grandstanding and vacuity that characterizes the political class, normally at the expense of the gullible masses who, blindly cheer them on.
It has always been an open secret that Governor Joho and Junet Mohamed are staunch Raila Odinga right hand men. Having been nurtured politically by the ODM leader, like any other typical politician, they hope to inherit the vast political power that Mr. Odinga wields.
Junet is a very pragmatic and proud sycophant of Baba, who always speaks his mind. Just recently, when former Jubilee Majority leader in the national assembly, Aden Duale, was unceremoniously kicked out of his powerful office by his party, Junet Mohamed confounded both foe and friend when he gave his disgraced colleagues a piece of advice on political loyalty and sycophancy: “As for Duale, when you see us following Baba like cows, it is because we fear the consequences like what you are facing today,” Junet said.
“So politics is like that, my brother. Today, if you go against the wishes of people who hold parties and people who lead this country, there are consequences. It is a good experience for me I will be more loyal than I was now, I will be singing Baba throughout,” he added. You can now begin to understand why the duo’s trip to Dubai came as no surprise.
There is no doubt that Ali Hassan Joho and Junet Mohamed are men of means. If you ask me, the amount they used to hire the luxurious jet is like pocket change to them. However, many Kenyans online have harshly castigated them regarding their apparently extravagant flight to Dubai.
Of course all Kenyans are within their rights to be angry with this unwarranted show of opulence. However, it is not lost on us that some of those throwing the biggest stones at Joho and Junet paradoxically belong to the amorphous TangaTanga wing of Jubilee (now the acting opposition).
The TangaTanga brigade, no doubt, are learning the ropes of being in the opposition impressively fast. Unfortunately, they lack the loci standi and moral authority to castigate any politician for wasteful spending and grandstanding. Most of them spent Jubilee’s first term in office vehemently defending open theft of billions of shillings, from the public coffers, while some of them were direct beneficiaries of grand corruption scandals. Remember the Hustler Jet Saga?
Before I digress more, back to Joho and Junet. The two openly shared a series of photos on their social media accounts, while on their way to Dubai, in the expensive bird. On arriving at their destination, they shared even more photos. This was clearly on purpose and carefully calculated to attain a certain political end.
Off to Dubai with Junet Mohamed to see Baba.
Prior to their departure for Dubai, Governor Joho posted a photo of the two posing before the magnificent bird, on his Twitter account, with a caption: “Off to Dubai with Junet Mohamed to see Baba.” It is obvious that the two knew exactly what kind of storm their tweets were going to arouse online, and as usual, Kenyans on Twitter (KOT) did not disappoint.
On their arrival in Dubai, Governor Ali Hassan Joho tweeted, “Delighted to see my party leader Baba Raila Odinga looking fit and in high spirits after undergoing the surgical procedure in Dubai last week,”
Remember all politicians are publicity addicts, who can never miss a chance to engage in vacuous publicity stunts. As I have argued before, no publicity is bad publicity for public figures, so long as it helps them to hog the limelight for as long as possible.
Never delude yourself that politicians have any care in the world about the welfare of the so called Wanjiku or even give a damn whether these common folks die, live or just exist; except at election time, when they worry about the numbers of votes in their political turfs.
The primary concern for a typical politician is how to gain access to political power, control and influence; the rest can come afterwards. The nearer you’re to the center of power the better. Hassan Joho and Junet know this very well, hence their closeness to Raila Odinga, who happens to wield immense political power in the current political dispensation. Politicians also know that many Kenyans secretly adore wealth and power, the more reason why political leaders never shy away from flaunting their wealth and the trappings of power.
Politicians also know well that Kenyans have such a short memory. They only make noise for about two days and move on to a new trending topic, while the previous one is completely discarded. For instance, just two days back, motivational speaker Robert Burale what the hottest topic of discussion online. That immediately changed when the photos of Joho and Junet’s jet hit social media. Tomorrow something else will trend and the Joho-Junet jet saga will be history; and life goes on.
The Class Struggle
It is quite hypocritical to see Tangatanga operatives like Dr. Bony Khalwale shout themselves horse on Twitter about the Joho-Juanet jet trip to Dubai, yet all the self-declared billionaire hustler-in-chief they work for can do is distribute handouts to poor citizens (real hustlers), in a bid to pass himself off as one of them.
Isn’t DP Ruto supposed push for better policies in government that can offer sustainable solutions to poverty, instead of dishing out handouts? Show me any country whose citizens were emancipated from poverty through handouts and crumbs thrown their way by their leaders!
The biggest Kenyan struggle is not between the tribes in power versus those who have been side-lined from the seat of power and thrown into the cold. Nevertheless, Kenyans’ primitive appetite for tribal politics, as well as their secret admiration for ill-gotten wealth and power, will always blind us, making us not to see that what we have in Kenya is a class struggle between the “haves” and the “have-nots”
We need to realize that Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila Odinga, William Ruto and their trusted lieutenants such as Governor Hassan Joho, Junet Mohamed and the likes of Murkomen belong to the same class of capitalists, while majority of citizens belong to what Karl Marx referred to as the proletariat .
The capitalist class can afford obcenely opulent lifestyles like the one Joho and Junet displayed on Thursday, mostly from wealth created by sweat and blood of the struggling majority proletariat class. Yet, the masses cheer them on, just the same way fanatics cheer their favorite soccer teams without realizing that; while they go back home to sleep hungry, those international players they worship are paid in millions per week.
Unfortunately, majority of Kenyans adore rich and corrupt leaders, while they secretly wish that one day they will also be in a position to loot public resources and be like them in all aspects. It is for this reason that instead of questioning the source of millions that politicians splash every day, their secret admirers will go on to lionize them and look up to them as heroes.
For instance, slay queens will be quick to check out Joho net worth or Junet Mohamed net worth, or even Ruto net worth on the internet, with the remote hope that they might somehow lay their hands on part of the loot, without wondering how these guys got their riches. Others will check out Joho Hassan wife or Junet Mohamed wife, just to admire how lucky these ladies are to be swimming in opulence.
The gap between the rich and poor in Kenya is simply immoral and there is no doubt in my mind that Kenya is very ripe for a huge class revolution. However, there is one slight problem. Those who are currently selling the class revolution narrative dubbed “hustlers vs dynasties” are themselves wolves in sheepskin. Dr. William Ruto, the lead light in this narrative is a capitalist par excellence, who belongs to the billionaires club.
Therefore, Dr. Ruto purporting to lead a class revolution against the filthy rich oligarchs in Kenya is like a wolf, dressed in sheepskin, trying to convince the real sheep that he can lead them in revolting against the carnivorous class that has been feeding on the poor sheep for long. We need a real hustler to lead us in a genuine class revolution.