Rishi Sunak a Politician with Kenyan Roots Named British Prime Minister
Rishi Sunak, who enjoys links with Kenya, yesterday became Britain Prime Minister after being chosen by the Conservatives to govern the country.
Sunak, who is also of Indian descent, replaces Liz Truss who resigned last week after being in power for only 45 days. His ascension to office was historic as he became the first PM of color to occupy the office.
In his acceptance speech, Sunak, 42, who addressed the nation at the Conservatives headquarters in London, thanked the ruling party for expressing confidence in his leadership. “I will serve you with integrity and humility,” BBC quoted him as saying.
Sunak was last evening expected to meet the new King Charles III for coronation after the historic achievement. He will be the first PM to receive endorsement from the monarch who took over the British reign after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II last month.
Although his father Usher Sanak was born and raised in Kenya when it was still a British colony, Sunak was born in Southampton, UK. On the other hand, his mother Usha Sunak was born in Tanzania which was a British territory and then known as Tanganyika.
His parents trace their roots to Punjab, India. However, they migrated to the United Kingdom from Kenya in the early 1960s.
Yesterday, Sunak’s ascension elicited a lot of excitement in the country even globally with many people describing it as another Barack Obama moment for Kenya and the world.
“US elected Barack Obama, a Kenyan Luo, as its President. Britain has elected Rishi Sunak, a Kenyan Indian as its Prime Minister. These are the world’s most sophisticated Countries. Then you hear a Kenyan in abject poverty saying he can’t elect a Luo or Indian as President,” tweeted renowned lawyer Donald Kipkorir.
Obama, the former US President, became the first black President in the US. His late father had traveled from Kenya to the US for studies where got into an affair with Obama’s mother and as a result, the future President was born.
Sunak, who has the daunting task of steadying British politics following the resignation of Truss barely 45 days into office, studied philosophy, politics, and economics at Lincoln College, in Oxford where he graduated in 2001.
Thereafter, he went to Stanford, where he earned an MBA. The former finance chief led the Conservative Party’s race to replace Liz Truss as prime minister on Sunday as he garnered the public support of over 100 Tory lawmakers. Earlier, opponents including former PM Boris Johnson and Minister Penny Mordaunt withdrew from the contest leaving Sunak as the only candidate for the post.
Sunak had confirmed on Sunday he was leading in the race as it became clearer he could win. “At every level of government I lead, there will be integrity, professionalism, and accountability, and I will work day in and day out to get the job done,” Sunak said in a statement. Truss replaced Johnson and there were fears he could make another stab at the post once again although he dropped out in time to enable Sunak’s ascension to power.
A possible return to power for 58-year-old Johnson, who was ousted from office a few weeks ago by a series of ethics scandals, had deeply divided Conservatives and brought unpredictability to the race.
Johnson supporters had said he is a vote-winner and had enough backing from lawmakers, but many critics warned that another Johnson administration would be disastrous for the party and the country.
Truss resigned Thursday after a turbulent 45 days, admitting she could not implement her botched tax-cut economic package, which she had to abandon after it sparked anger in her party and weeks of financial turmoil.
Sunak, who was a chief financial officer from 2020 until this summer, steered the slumping UK economy through the Covid pandemic. He resigned in July in protest at Johnson’s leadership. In a bid to replace Johnson, Sunak argued that rising inflation must be controlled first, calling promises by Truss and other rivals to cut taxes immediately a ruthless “fairy tale”.