By Dorcas S
There are several pictures of Uhuru, Ruto, Raila and Kalonzo standing together comfortably sharing hearty laughter that belie their oftentimes acrimonious (political) differences. Even more surprising is the fact that the bon homie between these political rivals is repeated in many situations and on many (different) occasions.
I raise this point because of a feed that came through my FB from a Jubilee analyst.
Anyone who follows my writings knows, clearly and unequivocally, that I support the NASA ticket. They also know why I support the ticket. For the record, it is NOT because Raila is Luo or is “mweupe kama pamba”. I am not that naïve to think that someone who has been in politics as long as RAO has been does not have skeletons in his closet.
He has – lots of them – and for anyone to think that I think RAO is as white as Nyando Cotton IS the height of naiveté!
It is also a convenient construction of a strawman and a red herring to bolster their obviously tenuous argument or support for their candidate. Put another way, the analyst cannot defend UhuRuto’s four years in office so they default to tearing and discrediting RAO but even more trumpian, they resort to xenophobic messaging to scare the base against voting for RAO – Campaigning 102B (Revised for 2016).
The reality is that our political leaders, the ones we are willing to die for, literally, are friends – very good friends I might add.
Like Barack Obama was fond of saying about John McCain and Mitt Romney, they are “good, decent and patriotic Americans”. POTUS #44 would then add that “we just have very different visions on how to better the lives of the American voter”.
I try not to question the humanity, patriotism or suitability** of Uhuru Kenyatta to lead. In fact, from all accounts, he is a decent being with a legendary joie d’vivre. That aside, I strongly disagree with his stewardship of Kenya on several fronts including on items near-and-dear to me:
Grand Corruption and Impunity and their impact: Hunger, sickness, insecurity, sense of entitlement etc.
Conversely and as illustrated on the FB feed alluded to at the beginning of the article, one of the president’s analyst repeats what has effectively become a dog whistle message** to Jubilee’s Mt. Kenya/Central base: That “Raila will never be president”.
** DOG WHISTLE MESSAGING: Political messaging that employs coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has an additional, different or more specific resonance for a targeted subgroup. The analogy is to a dog whistle, whose high-frequency whistle is heard by dogs but inaudible to humans.
Pointedly, the analyst is using a phrase that sounds benign to the general population of Kenya but effectively appeals to the sense of entitlement the intended recipients have re: the presidency of Kenya! Even more insidious is the corollary of said coded message: That “a Raila Presidency will address historical injustices on the backs of ‘our hard-working’ sons and daughters”!
Folks, nothing could be further from the truth.
You know that. I know that and even more importantly, RAO and UMK know that.
Yes politics is a full contact and deadly sport. Lives have been lost and friendships, marriages and relationships ruined because of political differences.
However, the flip side of the foregoing is just as true with the best example being right here: Me and my significant other (he supported HRC and y’all know I supported DJT – regrettably so given recent events – but I digress). Similarly, political consultants James Carville and Mary Matlin are as an odd a couple as it gets.
Mr. Carville, aka “Ragin Cajun” is a die-hard Democrat. His wife Ms. Matlin is one of the most sought-after Republican consultant who worked for George H. W. Bush. Don’t quote me on this but methinks the two met when their candidates – Bill Clinton and Bush 1 – were going head-to-head in 1992.
So as we head towards the August 8 General Elections, let us remember that come August 9th or anytime thereafter, the four principals will pose for yet another round pictures similar to the ones discussed at the beginning of the article.
They will then continue to live their charmed lives – kinda like me and my better half – our political differences notwithstanding.
What About You?