Why Ambassador Joseph Sang Has Failed at the Kenyan Embassy in Stockholm
Joseph Sang, the Kenyan Ambassador to Scandinavia, has been in Office for more than two and a half years. Sang came to Office at a time when his predecessor, the cute lady Ambassador Purity Muhindi, had literally been bamboozled out of Office by resident Kenya Embassy critics who accused Purity of elitism, unavailability, corruption at the Embassy, pomposity, tribalism, selective contacts with Kenyans (aka Walambaji) and general mediocrity in her dealings.
When Ambassador Sang was posted at the Embassy, a ray of hope lit across the Kenya-Stockholm atmosphere. The thinking was that as a youthful Ambassador, Sang would easily find his way among Wakenya in Stockholm and use his esteemed Office to unite this tiny community that was yet to come to grips with the rigged 2013 elections that had split Kenyans along ethnic lines. Although a Kalenjin, progressive Kenyans in Stockholm believed that Sang would ignore the emergent Kalenjin-Kikuyu URP-TNA braggadocio and rise above ethnicity to fight the backward tradition of Embassy sponsored tribalism that had been planted, watered and natured by Purity.
As the new Ambassador presented his credentials to the King of Sweden, expectations were high that eventually, an Ambassador who could synchronize “with the people” had arrived in Stockholm after many years of disappointments. Just weeks after his arrival, Sang raised hopes of transforming Embassy operations even further by attending the 2013 Nyama Choma Festival at Fittja Beach after which he embarked on a tweeting campaign that earned him the nick-name of “the tweeting Ambassador”.
For the first time, a Kenyan Ambassador in Stockholm was exploiting social media to remain in the lime-light, a move that was seen as positive especially by Kenya-Stockholm’s Twitterati which expected regular key updates of happenings at the Embassy especially through twitter. In fact, Sang appeared so convincing that traditional Embassy critics decided “not to spoil the soup” through barbs at the new Ambassador but to give him enough time to transform a rotten institution that was constantly associated with failure since the departure of Ambassador Kinyanjui.
To spice up things, Ambassador Sang moved quickly to set up the Kenya-Embassy’s Facebook page before he announced (through Twitter) that he would soon call a meeting of Kenyans in Stockholm so that he could introduce himself to the community and chat the way for joint work and collaboration between Wakenya and the Embassy. It was that moment of “Hallelujah” you chant when you believe that you have seen a Messiah descend from the clouds to solve societal problems! Unfortunately, the “I will soon call a meeting” tweet of May 2013 was the last time Kenyans heard about Ambassador Joseph Sang calling a meeting of Kenyans in Stockholm.
After he assumed Office in earnest, the first thing Sang did was to go underground, away from Kenyans in Stockholm. As he prepared his banker, he continued tweeting but only about what his President Uhuru Kenyatta had done during the day thereby duplicating the duties of State House unconsciously. Alternatively, he would wait for a Kenyan to win a marathon then send a congratulatory message on twitter or wait for a diplomatic meeting involving him in Stockholm then tweet after the event. To keep his social media accounts active, Sang makes sure that he takes a photo with every Tom, Dick and Harry who visits the Embassy (with the Kenyan flag in the background) then posts the images on his Twitter account as big events worth international attention. A doubting Thomas has to take a peep at Sang’s Twitter account here to understand the scope of his mediocrity.
The most corrupt Ambassador ever
Sometimes, Sang gets an “ego boost” through an invitation to some peripheral event in Finland or Norway. On such occasions, he rarely misses the opportunity to pose with some NGO mzungu to take a shot for Twitter. Although numerous events take place within the Kenya-Stockholm space almost on a weekly basis, you will be blessed if you bump into an image of these events on Sang’s Twitter because he boycotts all of them as a matter of policy. As I write, all hopes and expectations Kenyans had bestowed on Sang about possibilities of better relations with the Embassy have effectively collapsed. Ask any Kenyan about Sang and the answer is likely to be the same – “worse than Purity”; “a hopeless nincompoop”; “a useless rag who should be herding goats” and other unpublishable expletives.
In Kenya-Stockholm, Sang is seen more as the most corrupt Ambassador ever. Why? During the days of Purity, she used to organize 2 hour celebrations of national days at prestigious Hotels in town or even in Norway (with hotel booking at Ksh 250,000 per hour). After his arrival at the Embassy, Sang abolished celebrations of national days altogether. Last year, Madaraka day, Mashujaa day and shockingly, Jamhuri day were never celebrated by Kenyans in Stockholm yet more than SEK 400,000 (about Ksh 5 million) is usually allocated for these events annually in the Embassy budget under “Entertainment” Vote. Where did the money go?
To cover up corruption around “national days”, Sang routinely gathers (at his residence) a few diplomats and a handful of “Walambaji” aka boot-lickers (he inherited from Purity), feeds them with snacks (sandwiches, sambusas, sausages, stick meat and other crap) then sends the guests home after a glass of wine. He then reports to Nairobi how “Kenyans” in Stockholm celebrated the national day with pomp at a tune of Ksh 2 million. Because these events are fake, he posts nothing on social media – no tweet or FB entry. What is more? The corruption is so rife that the Kenyan Embassy is listed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as one of the key Embassies where millions of Kenyan shillings cannot be accounted for.
“Sang must go!”
We don’t have to go into deeper history of Ambassador Sang at the Embassy to underline his defining modus operandi. Take last week as an example. Eugene Wamalwa, Musikari Kombo and a handful of Kenyan political opportunists were in Stockholm for the annual “Water Week” Conference. Although Sang never Tweeted about the big Kenyan delegation, he gathered a group of Walambaji to a meeting with Wamalwa where the Cabinet Secretary was told that he was meeting “Wakenya” when, in reality, the Secretary was actually in a secret meeting with Sang’s cheap sycophants always happy with a soda and contact with “dignitaries”. Later, Sang made sure he posed with Wamalwa at the Kenya Embassy flag arena before posting the photo on Twitter with no word about the meeting and no word about poor Walambaji. This is the script Sang has and continues to play with the so called Kenyan dignitaries visiting Stockholm.
In Kenya-Stockholm, chants of “Sang must go” started filling the air last December when the Ambassador “ate Jamhuri cash” and for now, Sang seem to be living on borrowed time. A battle for Sang to be recalled is in the air on grounds that he has failed at the Kenyan Embassy in Stockholm. Sang’s honey-moon in Stockholm melted away in 2013 and with his failure to deliver on key expectations, it could be time for Sang to begin packing his belongings in a 40 feet container because the future looks bleak.
To be continued…