A lot of talk
has gone around regarding how Queen Elizabeth honours men making them knights
but it remains as mysterious an honour as the one bestowing it.
Sir William Conrad Reeves, a nineteenth-century lawyer and academic from Barbados was the first black man to be knighted by Queen Victoria earning him a place in the British sovereignty.
have been honoured after Reeves through the British Honours System.
The “Sirs” and the “Dames”
structure rewards outstanding individual achievement in service to the United
Kingdom. It was established by the British monarchy and it has male and female
are referred to as “Sir” and the women are “Dame”.
is done twice a year on New Year’s Day (known as the New Year Honours List) and
on the Queen’s birthday.
During the special ceremony called an investiture where knighting individuals is done, the awards under the category of Companion of Honour, Knight or Dame, CBE, OBE, MBE and BEM.
In Kenya, the
government has similar awards with the latest people being recognised
raising eyebrows including ‘Githeri Man’.
But there has
been a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to the Kenyan allegedly knighted not
by the queen but for his admiration of everything British including their
many, Charles Njonjo is not a knight and has never been one- at least going by
the official British monarchy tradition.
the moniker ‘Sir’ due to his privilege as a government official and being the
progeny of colonial collaborators of British rule in Kenya.
The man who is almost a century old is known for his taste and the pinstriped suits tailored in London.
Being the son
of a collaborator, Njonjo was far removed from the struggles of Kenyans and he
as well have been white. His hatred for his kind was to the extent that he
could not find a suitable African girl to marry including those from royalty
since he served during the Jomo Kenyatta era.
Njonjo had a
pampered lifestyle such that he could describe his rides to school on a horse
delivered by a servant. At the time, Africans were under a sustained assault by
the colonial government.
Njonjo the traitor?
in the UK, Njonjo diligently served the oppressive government despite the horrendous
atrocities it was meting against Kenyans.
Due to his reputation as a ‘diligent lawyer’, he became the Attorney General in independent Kenya.
immense power and with this, he turned a blind eye to the government’s policy
on dispossessing Kenyans by White colonialists.
Missing the power
During an interview
five years ago, Njonjo who is among the wealthiest Kenyans today said that he
the power ‘to do good’. Tears!
may have been feeling the pain of being left out of motorcades and could only
reminisce of the good old days when he walked Kenya like a colossus.
Njonjo was the Attorney General for more than 15 years so missing the power could only betray what he was feeling.
As a Member
of Parliament for Kikuyu Constituency and the minister for Constitutional
Affairs in Daniel Arap Moi’s government, Njonjo’s ‘hawkish’ politics have lost
steam probably leaving a bitter taste in his mouth as he spends his twilight
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