By Ofwono Opondo

The spectacular fall of Boris Johnson, the soon-to-be former British prime minister reminds us of what Brutus, the conspirator in Julius Caesar said that “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune,” yet when missed is “bound in shallows and in miseries”.

Johnson, the boisterous snob in recent British politics, is probably known for delivering Brexit, although the UK remains in quandary.

Johnson is also known for defying the old British superstition that the hand that wields the dagger never wears the crown, because he, as the man who drove the final dagger into Teresa May, eventually wore the crown of No10 Downing Street.

The Tories are having their fourth prime minister in six years because they failed the steer the ship of state in a more purposeful direction after David Cameron failed in his Brexit referendum in which the Brits turned their back on the European Union.

Teresa May came on promising a “strong and able leadership, and government” but failed to deliver Brexit, called a snap election, where her parliamentary majority contracted instead which then led to Johnson’s own climb. Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair too fell from within.

Far away across the Atlantic, Johnson’s lookalike, Donald Trump, the 45th president who had promised to “Make America Great Again” is still rumbling aloud as he fights for his political life almost two years after losing re-election in November 2020.

Then many wonder how supposedly great democracies ended up with two liars who duped voters that they represented their interests. And both who never say sorry on any mistake will linger in their respective country’s history like a bad whiff for some time.

And where to start with Johnson’s recent legacy. First a journalist, London Mayor, MP, and Foreign Secretary before becoming Prime Minister.

He has been accused of not admitting to know how many children he has fathered, selling off contracts for Covid19 testing to Tory party associates who then failed to provide anything like testing required, promoted women he had slept with to government jobs, and having his own brother Jo Johnson walk out of his cabinet and parliament over Brexit in September 2019.

Like Trump, he was accused of being economical with the truth pretty about everything including refusing to isolate when he contracted Covid19, attended multiple parties during the toughest lockdowns while telling others not to attend the funerals of their loved ones, writing in a newspaper article that Black people have small brains, and that Muslim women in burqas look like letter boxes.

Johnson has been deporting British-Caribbean people who had lived in the UK since the 1960s, and is right now in a deal to export African asylum seekers to third party countries in Africa.

Dogged by what in the conspiratorial British politics amount to scandals, which here pass for nothing, Johnson had hoped that he had brushed off allegations of collecting money from suspected sources to clean up his flat, employing or sometimes giving lucrative government contracts to his love mistresses, and delaying publication of the Covid-19 partygate report would allow him fortify his dam against the floods.

The Prime Minister and his backers tried to frighten their Tory members especially MPs not to be so hard on his misadventures fearing that could trigger to a general election which they would possibly lose to Labour.

Anyway, that tide and flood came with the resignation of Chris Pincher as Whip over accusations that groped a fellow man while very drunk at night party, which Johnson tried to conceal or feigned ignorance.

Johnson’s former political adviser Dominic Cummings who left government almost a year ago on his own scandal of breaking Covid19 lockdown rules, and turned him into fodder was probably written off as having faded.

To avenge, Cummings quietly engineered Sajid Javid’s resignation as Health Secretary hoping to make way for Rishi Sunak (Chancellor) seen as his protégé the great calling card which then led to a blizzard of resignations from cabinet and government leaving Johnson politically naked and unable to stand the heat.

Nadhim Zahawi, the man Johnson brought in to replace Sunak as Chancellor appeared to have accepted his new position, not to support but wield the dagger closer to the PM’s chest as within twenty four hours of his appointment he asked him to resign.

Rocked by cabinet revolt, Johnson who had only a day earlier vowed to go down fighting and asking his rebel MPs to get prepared to dip their hands in blood, surrendered office.

The ending of Johnson as prime minister who reigned over Brexit, Covid19 pandemic, and Russia-Ukrainian conflict should be delicious politics of back-stabbing had it not been for the global rising cost of living turning into a crisis.

Looking at the race so far, whoever comes after Johnson is likely to be a lame duck because at home and abroad, the former imperial empire is now so diminished despite trying to punch above its weight.

The Writer is the Executive Director, Uganda Media Centre

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