“Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.”
― Thomas Jefferson
The loud cacophony of the campaigns is a distant memory, the razzmatazz of the manifesto launches all but forgotten, the vitriol and name-calling of the rallies no longer daily fare, and finally we are getting back to our senses as long-time friends who could not see eye to eye over their tribal kingpins start to text each other with requests for that MPesa soft loan required to cover the deficits brought on by our food and alcohol binging in either celebration of “victory” or anger at a perceived injustice of a “loss”.
Well the election results were announced, the ensuing court proceedings have been concluded, and the verdict was read out in about five minutes.
I can only hope we, both those that think they won something and those that feel they lost something, can come to a realization that we are nothing but mere pawns without any real choice in the matter of who wields executive power in this country. You do not choose your leaders, they choose you; they choose you when they need you and that just happens to be at election time, then we are back to the daily struggle for subsistence, that holds true for the vast majority of voters.
Those of us who live in slums and supported Uhuru are still in the same hovels with bloated egos and empty stomachs, our names will not give us entry to the house on the hill. Those of us who supported Raila and live in far flung dirt poor villages are still in the same hamlets nursing our bruised egos while facing the constant threat of hunger, if a retirement package is signed into law for the former PM we shall not be getting a slice of it. Both UK and RAO get to get chauffeured home in luxury limousines, dine on gourmet meals, lie on silk bedsheets, and prance around on cashmere rugs. Their children will go to prep schools and Ivy league colleges. Yours will not.
Nothing will change for you. Nothing ever does for the majority of us when the wealthy are playing their Game of Thrones.
So rather than worrying about power at a grand scale that you really have no control over, sit back and think, think, think; and instead occupy yourself with: things that are within your purview, things that appear small and insignificant, things that can change the attitude of or educate just one single bigoted friend. And let the children know there is hope.
In the words of an American scribe who inspires me and from an article of his I read recently: “Do what you can within reach of your arm, because anything you touch is part of a tapestry that reaches far and wide, even unto the highest and mightiest seats of power. Do what is possible within reach of your arm, make the weak mighty and give the voiceless a clarion call right where you are, where you live and breathe, within reach of that strong, sure arm. Do what you can, always.”
“Those in power must spend a lot of their time laughing at us.”
― Alice Walker
Sorry Mr. new MP; we should not and cannot pay for a burden placed on yourself by your selfish need for re-election
“Those from whose pocket the salary is drawn, and by whose appointment the officer was made, have always a right to discuss the merits of their officers, and their modes of exercising the duties they are paid to perform.”
As newly elected MPs grumble over lowered pay, here’s my two cents: Kenyans need to be made aware that it is not an MP’s job to feed, clothe, take them to hospital, repair their roads, fundraise for them, bury them, etc. An MP makes laws, that’s it; that’s what he’s paid to do.
Now every MP can choose to be a legislator doing what he’s paid to (and probably not get re-elected); or they can choose to perpetuate the culture of handouts and let “wananichi” continue with the assumption that MP’s are cash cows (usually for the sake of of their own re-electtion). But they should only do the latter if it is funded by their own resources; especially as most already spend millions campaigning to get in knowing fully well their salaries won’t cover such expense.
The premise that MPs are an unofficial welfare system still does nothing to to further their odious push for inordinately high pay -especially as there exists a Constituency Development Fund-in the face of mass poverty in the proletariat. There’s really no way to justify higher and unsustainable pay for duties they’ve taken on that are not part of their job description and which in fact create an endemic and problematic culture that fosters misrepresentation of what an MP’s work is, and this to the detriment of future aspirants.
Otherwise MPs might as well come clean and tell the world that their motivation is money, not service, which then means we are looking at future actors in sleaze and graft since it is quite clear that that is but the only other avenue left to recoup campaign spend as well as feather nests while playing daddy to entire constituencies.
Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.
Sometimes one needs to do what’s best for the majority and not keep everyone in limbo over a lost cause. In my opinion RAO should concede so as a country we can move on, I don’t see what purpose a Court drama will serve when every sensible person with a modicum of intelligence can see all a run off will do is make us 6 billion poorer and delay Uhuru’s swearing in.
PS. Can we the non ruling class quit with the gloating and taunting and move on too. The rich ODM supporter is lamenting from the Delamere terrace while the jobless TNA youth runs the street celebrating, the former will retire to Runda and the latter to Mukuru Kayaba: what have we won or lost? The wealthy TNA businessman is activating his business contacts to rake in tenders, the poor ODM diehard is panelbeating the beatup jalopy of a URP struggling middle class father: who is winning?
Open your eyes, you will not gain anything but false pride and an annoying hubris thinking you have won anything when we both know you cannot go to statehouse and demand to be let in because you speak the same lugha as mzee.
Like someone said, if your bank account reads less than RAO and UK’s final tally then get your ass back to hustling, you will recieve no favours from either plutocrat.
“I have refused to ALLOW MULTIPARTY DEMOCRACY in Kenya because it will divide Kenyans along TRIBAL LINES.Vyama vingi vitaleta UKABILA Kenya.Siku moja mtakubali haya maneno yangu”
DANIEL TOROITICH ARAP MOI
2RD MARCH 1992
I look at the slim pickings of the likes of Kiyiapi and Karua, then I look at the close to 100% votes for UK and RAO in their “ethnic strongholds” and I am left wondering: Is this really democracy?
Is the choosing of leaders based on number of votes garnered a good thing for a country where for the vast majority the only criteria considered is the tribe of the person being voted for?
How can we say we are voting for a symbol of national unity when we are engaged in a national contest of tribal chiefs and ethnic coalitions?
This would be comical if the implications of the choices we make (if you can even pretend there are choices) weren’t so grave.
Moi was correct (albeit for selfish reasons): Multi party politics has only managed to bring out the tribalism ingrained in our bones.
What a bloody shame
“One act of beneficence, one act of real usefulness, is worth all the abstract sentiment in the world”
We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being. As a result, men are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have – for their usefulness.
Sometimes people wonder why I act like a jerk; why I look at everyone the same way…. from the most beautiful of girls to the most homely; from the most well-heeled of men to the most impecunious: I treat them with either much respect, sheer indifference, or utter contempt; and I make no apologies for it.
Here’s why: The world has taught me that people only care or respect or love you for what you can do for them, not for your niceness or your beauty. If a girl needs a drink then you will be her friend if you have the money for one, at that point it won’t matter that you are the funniest guy in the world. If an employer is looking for an accountant then you have to have accounting skills, your bleeding kind heart will not count for shit if you can’t balance books. If a man is looking for a one night stand then it won’t matter that you’re the most beautiful girl from your village, if it’s not going to happen he won’t be staying around for longer on account of your face alone.
Like David Wong of Cracked puts it: “If you want to know why society seems to shun you, or why you seem to get no respect, it’s because society is full of people who need things. They need houses built, they need food to eat, they need entertainment, they need fulfilling sexual relationships. The moment you came into the world, you became part of a system designed purely to see to people’s needs.
Either you will go about the task of seeing to those needs by learning a unique set of skills, or the world will reject you, no matter how kind, giving and polite you are. You will be poor, you will be alone, you will be left out in the cold.”
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
Bishop Desmond Tutu
The joke is on us:
So Kibunja (Mzalendo indeed!) has cautioned politicians against discussing historical injustices as the campaigns heat up; saying “Such statements are tantamount to incitement”
Is that so? Should all those people who fought against past injustices and triumphed have followed your narrow thinking where would we be? Should Moses not have questioned the servitude of Israelites to Pharaoh? Should Abraham Lincoln have closed his eyes to the brutal history of slavery? Should Martin Luther King not have brought up the injustice of institutionalized racism? Should Mandela have never endured those three decades behind bars because his statements prior to his sentencing were “tantamount to incitement”?
Would you, Mzalendo, have this job had not courageous men and women such as Maathai, Muite, Leakey, Raila, Imanyara, Murungi, Orengo, Matiba, Rubia, Shikuku, Muliro, Karua, etc, not questioned the past injustices of the KANU one party system under Moi?
PS. For the record, anyone who thinks they have a share in one wealthy individual’s property because he happens to be from the same ethnic stock as them should slap themselves in the face.
When I question how Raila acquired the molasses plant, I’m not questioning all Luos.
When I well up with anger at Moi continuing to process tea at Kaptagich in the middle of the Mau forest, I don’t hold all Kalenjins responsible for this destruction of our ecosystem, I do not for a minute believe profits from this factory have been enjoyed beyond the immediate family of the owner.
When I am baffled at how the Kenyattas came to, allegedy, own so much land, I’m not counting the half an acre my friend Mborogonyo toiled to buy in Molo as being part of the Kenyatta’s holdings, I do not think Mama Ngina has listed Mborogonyo in her will just because he was born in Gatundu.
For how long will poor people fight each other over things they don’t own? Why do you allow yourself to be provoked by questions that have been asked of an individual who, by dint of accident, just so happens to share a language with you and nothing more? Do you see the folly that you would even make enemies of lifelong friends for the sake of a wealthy ruling class? One that doesn’t know you personally and wouldn’t lose any sleep if you and your family were swallowed by a hole in the ground.
Open your eyes.
A politician is an arse upon which everyone has sat except a man.
E. E. Cummings
Who would have guessed it: special interest groups such as minorities, the disabled, the marginalised, etc, are yet again the recepients of a royal rimming from the politicians we intend to put into office this coming March. The list of persons to be nominated to parliament has been released and, as expected, it is just another instance of the plutocracy flipping us the bird and waving a middle finger right next to our faces… It’s not like there’s anything we can do about it anyway, other than elect the same people to high office of course.
Some of the most disgusting nominations, those informed by the most base of reasons -that of self-preservation at the expense of self-respect, include:
1. Mudavadi and Kioni, the UDF presidential candidate and his running mate, for National Assembly.
2. Beth Mugo, who retired on health grounds and is aunt to Uhuru Kenyatta, for Senate via TNA
3. Ongoro and Margaret Wanjiru, one who stepped down for the other and who is herself on the ballot for Nairobi Senate, for senate via ODM
4. Henry Kosgey and Oburu Odinga, one who is running, another who is a brother to Raila, for National assembly via ODM
Full list below:
UDF National Assembly Nominees
Kassim Sawa Ali
TNA Senate Nominees
TNA National Assembly Nominees
ODM Senate Nominees
Dr Sally Kosgei,
ODM National Assembly Nominees
Dr. Oburu Oginga
Prof Colleta Suda
URP National Assembly Nominees
Adan Noor Ali