Whenever we elect a man (or woman) to the House on the Hill, we give him the right to avoid all human contact except that which has passed through three metal detectors and dressed appropriately. We give him the best of our security forces, the best cars, the best house (arguable) and the best women (okay, this last one is unconfirmed).
Once in a while, however, even they slack off, and its during such times that a small cadre of people, with the biggest balls we have seen this side of the Sahara (except for some mammals we cannot name), pull off stunts that put shame to the security system. This here is a list of such men and (spoiler alert!) a child
#5 Man sneaks into State House
A man called Onyango Mono is the only man (that we know of) who has ever sneaked into State House by bluffing his way through the front gates. He was carrying a cross and a sword and said in a later interview “I’m not mad as Kenyans thought. I was sent by God to President Moi to tell him to hand over power immediately.”
Just sneaking in was half the job, Mono snuggled on a carpet near the presidents office and snored through the night because bluffing your way to the most powerful office in the land is a very energy-draining process.He was found the next morning, minutes before the President entered his office. This means the area was not covered by any CCTV cameras and even if it was, someone in the security office thought nothing strange of the man with a cloak curled up on the floor holding a cross and a sword.
“When he was woken up, he said he was waiting to meet President Moi to hand over power to him. He looks like a religious fanatic.”…The source said: “The man told us that nobody stopped him from the gate to State House. He tried to open several doors, but he found them locked.” He finally found one of the doors open and walked in. He used the door regularly used by the president,” he said.
There you have it, a man just walked right through the State House gate and even had the time to try a few doors before finding an unlocked on and deciding that it was a good time to take a nap as any.
#4 The Wandering Tourist
The feat was replicated later by a tourist who mistakenly strayed into State House grounds and had ventured some 100 metres in before anyone noticed him. He was in the neighbouring grounds, doing whatever it is a young tourist would be doing along in the jungle, and saw a big house and decided to walk towards it.
It turned out to not be the best decision of his life because that big house was not just any house, it was the home of the president. I can bet someone was reprimanded for sleeping on the job, both literally and figuratively, while these two individuals made the security in State House look like child’s play.?Here is what you would need to visit State House, unless you are performing at the National Drama Festivals or you just won a marathon.
#3 Man who sat between two presidents
At Njenga Karume’s first wife’s funeral a man sat between two presidents. No one asked a question because both security teams thought he was an aide to either of the presidents. In actual sense, this was just another Jones who saw an empty seat and simply sat down.
In 2003, the security teams around the presidency were in obvious quagmire after having only guarded one man for 24 years and now having to cater for a current and a retired president both with their own security teams. So a non-person, your everyday Jones with his own underachieved political ambitions, with no fat bank account to boast of and with no name whatsoever, decided to take advantage.
He sat in the VIP tent, between Moi and Kibaki, for hours before anyone started asking questions. Now tell me that is not just looking at presidential protocol and pissing on it? Very little of the event was covered, as many of the stories here, most likely because the security teams did not want people to get ideas.
#2 Frederick Odhiambo, The Man who Embarrassed the President
Every time we elect a politician, we know that there is a distance around him that is considered a buffer zone that normal people like you and me are not allowed to breach. Apparently, one 28-year old Frederick Odhiambo never got that memo. Just how a man not familiar with presidential security protocol could walk up to two rows behind the president unnoticed and sit for two hours is a tale of intrigue and suspense.
Not even the hawk-eyed presidential guard, always in their hundreds during functions of such magnitude, spotted him as he walked past several sniffer dogs. The security detail chose to give him a good beating (if there is ever) to teach him and anyone who might be thinking along the same lines from ever trying such a stunt.
Odhiambo said in a later interview “For three days, I planned my mission, and I swear I was all alone; not even my wife Sarah Nyokabi knew a thing about it.” He also said that he woke up at 5 am and left for the city center, his chosen scene, on an empty stomach (Disclaimer: Attempting a security breach on an empty stomach is not a proven advantage). When Members of Parliament and ministers started arriving and taking their seats, he mingled with some of them and walked towards the main dais and sat on a ministers chair, three rows from that of the President. He chatted jovially with some of the country’s high and mighty.
Some of them told me that the seat I was on was that of a minister, but none of them asked me to leave, added Mr. Odhiambo. He was all the time unaware that a presidential guard was sitting only two chairs beside him, and even greeted him.
I must, however, ask you to hold on the accolades because Odhiambo was a premature heckler, he shouted too soon, and chose his moment wrongly (Nyambane was being manhandled at the same time below the dais). He lived to tell the story though, on a hospital bed after an encounter with the guards he had just embarrassed. His message all along? I wanted to tell him to ask MPs to pay tax and that the freedom of the media is paramount.
Did I mention that after the 30-minute torture, Odhiambo was taken to Nairobi Womens Hospital with soft tissue injuries.
#1 An Eight Year-old Sneaks up to the President
When Bethuel Mbugua was eight years old, he chose the easy route and just walked right up to the president. Remember that this was Moi, ‘the man who appoints and disappoints’, ‘father of the nation’ and leader of ‘Chama cha mama na baba.’
To fully understand why this is the most ingenious breach of presidential security ever, some background is necessary. Bethuel Mbugua was an exceptionally gifted boy who was enrolled in secondary school when he was seven years old and lectured over 300 universities and high schools in East Africa by the age of 10. By the time he was in Standard Six in 1986, he was rated too bright for his class and taken to Form Four at Ol Kalou Secondary School. But he was kicked out after a month because other students and even local residents started disrupting classes asking him to lecture them.
Suddenly all your accomplishments in life do not look like they are something huh? With no money to move his child to a school for the gifted, Mbugua’s father plotted what still stands as most famous sneak-in on the president ever. The eight-year old boy, already blessed with more brains than he would ever need, walked right up to the president during a fundraising at Kijabe Hospital.
“I had a ready speech and when nudged by my father I walked to the President,” he says.?By the time the security guard saw him he had already gotten the attention of the President and the then VP, now President Mwai Kibaki who said “Pengine ana mchango yake (Maybe he is bringing his contribution).”
In case you are wondering, the plan did not work because Mbugua later failed an IQ test and became the laughing stock of the country. His father, ever the optimist, sneaked him to Tanzania where he made a mark lecturing universities. On October 20th 1991, as luck and opportunity would have it, the small boy who had walked right up to the president made his way to the USA to pursue the American Dream.