Thursday, 14 August 2014

Living Kenya's real politik: 
Of Gladiators, Transitionals and Spectators

Verily, verily I tell you. Hark my voice. If you had anything in any way to do with the installation of President Uhuru, and you haven’t yet gotten your piece of the meat, or bones - YOU ARE TIME BARRED. The King wound up the rewards, rents and favours machinery last night with decorations for the oldies - the likes of Mwakwere, Ongeri etc.

So check yourself; you there. You who were so mad about the 'young' savvy president you were willing to butcher your neighbour, abuse and insult your friends on social media.

DO THE MATH. What have you gotten in return for your loyalty? For your grand standing? For your tribal fiefdom? Maybe chronic insecurity - you and I still living scared in the same Nairobi. Maybe poor public transport – You and I still chocking in dust, traffic jam packed rowdy matatus? Maybe the ingering spectre of poverty - its 15th you and I worried about our pockets?

Next time you go wearing party colours and chanting people’s names and reciting their awesomeness, remember me. I am your countryman, I might not be your brother, or your friend, or your tribe, but I got KENYAN blood running deep down my vena cava. I got the resilience and go get it attitude, same as you, that defines who we are as Kenyans.

Remember me. Remember that we will still share the same Matatu to wok, to town; that we will still share the same dingy pubs downing a Tusker, drowning our sorrows, chanting our frustrations at poorer bar maids and reliving our aspirations in our drunken selves. Remember that they shall have found themselves perks - all friend and foe - somewhere in government, in some state authority, department, embassy etc. sipping on their Moet, Chivas Regals and Hennessies in Karen.

Folks it is never that serious. Politics I mean. It is you and me, lowlies who haven’t gotten the hang of it. It is you and me, desperate with our sorry sore cheap lives that go on hating.

My political science professor at Maseno University, Tom Mboya taught me Basic concepts in political science. He said there are three levels of Political participation: 1) Gladiator stage, 2) Transitional, and 3) Spectator.

Gladiator stage my friend is where you find the folks on the news last night, receiving jobs and accolades. The ones you defended so hard when they were accused of hate mongering – like Makwere, or presiding over misapplication of state funds – like Ongeri. The ones the electorate rejected at the ballot at the ballot like Gitahae. Yes, despite all that, they are in government, ambassadors – the true face of Kenya out there - in DC, India, UN etc.

You my friend, my brother, my countryman – you are down here with me – in our Spectator life. Ordinary Kenyans, cheap, but not too poor to afford 10MBs for hate mongering on face book. Busy hustling for our survival but not too occupied to buy party emblems, red ribbons, oranges and yellow hats to show up at Kamkunji, Uhuru Park, Tononoka, Bukhungu, 54, Afraha, Kericho Green etc. That is our role – showing up for the numbers on TV later on. Singing ‘baba’, ‘shiyenyu ni shiyenyu’, ‘kamwana’. And of course the solemn one, showing up at 4am, standing on long ques for 7 hours to do the sacrosanct duty – VOTE.

I won’t say much about the Transitionals – but take care, they are the ones that look almost like you and me, but they are not us. They have access to the Gladiators and are in ‘transition there’. And they have access to us – so they can peddle all the falsehopes and whip emotions. They are the ones who block you from accessing ‘our man’ – ‘baba’ – ‘omundu khumundu’ when they ascend to power and we need to be rewarded.

My 2pence counsel to you this morning: - Do the arithmetic. Does the math add up? Elect your level of participation and live it, knowing the true consequences and opportunities that come with it.

#Okwaroztake - I am a spectator – at least for now; an open minded one, am I?

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