Screw Driver

Johnson Sakaja: Why landlord MaDvD…has been chasing him around!

Nairobi Senator downgraded from Karen to Lavington ‘so that I can have lunch at home’

Fast & Furious: Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja is a sucker for big cars, an extravagance even his accounting wife has given up on.

By Shifa Mwihaki

Feature writer/Essayist

@UndercoverKe

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja-the former guitarist for a gospel band- not only recently pleaded guilty to drinking after curfew hours, but has also been running away from his landlord-fellow politician Musalia Mudavadi or ‘MaDvD’.

Sakaja, who was brought up in Ngara, Nairobi, now lives in Lavington where MaDvD charges him not more than Sh120, 000 per month in rent. Sakaja moved houses from Karen to Lavington “so that I can have lunch at home.” But MaDvD has been chasing him around, forcing Sakaja’s wife, a marketer, to sort stuff out and avoid embarrassments.

Never mind a Senator earns over Sh700, 000 besides perks and allowances. Is Sakaja suffering from Last Born Syndrome being last of three children?

Sakaja was asked the biggest misconception people have of him: ‘That I am arrogant and rich.’

Sakaja met his wife while still a student at Lenana School “and she told me, ‘this is the path you will take.’” It doesn’t seem like he listened. Sakaja pocketed the Sh20 million mortgage at three percent interest as a first time Senator. But only he knows what he did with the money- despite his wife having been Kenya’s best accounting student in her year. Is this the same Sakaja who solved a Sh100 million corporate deficit while an intern at Pricewaterhousecoopers aged 19?

Sakaja made so much dough in Campus he bought a Mercedes in second year!

The Iron Lady: They met in high school, the future Mrs Sakaja (left) told him: ‘This is the path you will take.’ It is debatable whether the father of her two boys listened.

Sakaja now 35,  is a sucker for cars, an extravagance even his wife long gave up on. But the Lexus he bought from a muhindi dealer took three years to clear.

Five years ago, Sakaja was asked the biggest misconception people have of him: “That I am arrogant and rich.” The rich bit has to do with his generosity with money. But he has never had problems making quid, just that budgeting is another devil. While pursuing actuarial science at the University of Nairobi, he joined SONU, the student body, because it was the easiest route to doing business. Shortly, Sakaja was running a salon, barbershop, ice cream vending machine and the biggest laundry outfit in campus. He made so much dough he bought a Mercedes in second year!

Today, Sakaja still lives large when financial windfall comes his way

Sound of music: Sakaja with Jamaican reggae artiste Glen Washington in 2017. Sakaja was once a guitarist and singer with gospel band, Mission Driven.

Today, he still lives large when financial windfall comes his way, cruising around town as he did last month when he was arrested drinking after curfew hours at Ladies Lounge in Kilimani, Nairobi.

He threatened arresting officers with massive transfers. But in 2015 he said of power: “The best way of handling power is by not realizing you have it. I don’t think I have power because if I do, it will go to my head. I don’t walk around with bodyguards. I drive myself. I stay simple. I hang out with everybody. I see power as a tool. It’s like fire, you can use it to cook for to burn.”

Sakaja was once a driver during former President Mwai Kibaki’s presidential campaigns in 2007

The landlord: Former Vice President Musalia Mudavadi has Nairobi Senator as tenant.

At 30, he had reached a point where few things excited him: “I have sat at the same table with some of the most powerful people in the world. I’ve driven big cars, travelled all over the world. Those things don’t excite me anymore. I think for me now, I’ve got to that philosophical point where I’m thinking of impact, purpose… something bigger.”

Bridal driver: Sakaja as driver during his friend’s wedding in West Pokot. ‘The best way of handling power is by not realizing you have it,’ he said.

Sakaja was once a driver during former President Mwai Kibaki’s presidential campaigns in 2007. He was just 23, still in campus. But five years later, Uhuru’s The National Alliance (TNA) party was looking for a chairman. Sakaja suggested himself…enroute to being a Nominated MP and Nairobi Senator. He was rubbing shoulders with big shots. Money poured in. So did the high life.  

When asked what his biggest weakness was he said: “Trust. I trust too easily and many times I have trusted the wrong people. I have been betrayed several times and on many things.”

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