By D S
Ideally, political leadership is supposed to be a calling. A special, noble calling to serve with the inspiration of playing a part for the greater good. As Charlie Arlinghaus once said,” leadership is felt, it can’t be forced, when people see it, they feel it.” Arlinghaus was referring to Political leaders who put the greater good ahead of self. Unfortunately, most politicians have morphed into different predators who collectively view politics as a rich hunting ground for vulnerable prey.
Buttressed by largesse from faceless donors who dutifully ‘invest’ in the campaigns in order to reap the benefits later, the politicians often sprinkle all kinds of denominations of currency to the gullible voters with grandiose promises that will never see the light of the day. When the last confetti drops and the TV cameras are gone, the so called leaders disappear into the thin air to begin what has become the norm – enriching themselves and returning the favor to their masters ( donor). The voter, who should be the VIP by virtue of his vote and the whole concept of public service, is relegated to the back of the line never to be seen or heard from again for five years!
As the folks who paid the Piper gleefully dance to their tune of choice, the mwanainchi is left to toil and confront the contours of hardknock life like an individual in an anarchical state. Those who muster the courage to register their displeasure are promptly pacified with temporary goodies to lull them to a long-term slumber.
Most of you will recall the push and pull game that Kenyans witnessed right after the Jubilee duo were sworn in. Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter came out, guns blazing and made known his displeasure with the SGR tender. The ruling duo reluctantly dismissed the maverick Jubilee MP as a gun-for-hire out to make the case for his campaign financier! Tellingly, the alleged financier was so powerful that even the President had to exercise great restraint when addressing him. It was clear to many a Kenyan that the “Kandarasi-gate” was no child play. And the head honcho was also a biggie who had invested heavily on Jubilee with hopes of landing the SGR tender. Nobody would have known this if the Jubilee boys didn’t let the cat out of the bag!
That is just one of the ways the political system works. Tycoons and business magnates bankroll campaigns so that they can cash in later. And the sad thing is that those biggies do not think about the common man. From the tendering process, to procurement, the whole system is designed to enrich the folks at the top.
The leaders routinely have pseudo- entities that they award the tenders to at outrageously exorbitant figures and then make a killing not knowing that at the end of the day when debits must equal credits, the tax payer, who is the mwanainchi is left to shoulder the burden. As for our politicians paying taxes? In the mood for unanimity in a deeply partisan parliament? When it comes to taxing their salaries and emoluments, there is no CORD or JUBILEE, they are all ‘ Honorable Members’ united and saying a resounding NO to taxes! But they will gladly pass VAT to further stifle the average Kenyan.
People always talk about revolution. Take this to the bank, there will never be a revolution in Kenya, not when we steadily rely on the partisan pulp that the politicians are feeding us. It will take a miracle for a CORD sympathizer to work with Jubilee sympathizer for the greater good of the country. Not when you everything is seen through the prism of who-will-benefit. If an issue will benefit CORD, a Jubilee sympathizer would be damned if he supported that course!
And this brings me to the dichotomy of class. Those at the top will look out for one another. Politicians will always be available to cushion them and diligently work for them lest they lose campaign finances. This ensures that the money train is always headed to the top. The so called middle class are able to go to work every morning just to keep the wheels of the economy. They work at the Beck and call of the biggies. They are paid salaries that are enough to buy an apartment, get an automobile, pay school fees, dress up a little bit, and spare some change for roast goat meat and beer while keeping their eyes glued to European soccer league matches in local joints. While at it, the cash registers of European sports apparel shops are vibrating with currency from the Jersey sales and everyone remains ‘happy.’
The hardest hit individual in this scenario is the struggling mwanainchi who neither belongs to the upper nor middle class. He or she is left to fend for himself or herself. Ironically, when it comes to voting and thronging political rallies, you can count on him or her, but when it comes to catering to his or her needs, the system goes mute or mediocre at best.
The middle class is tasked the with responsibility of ensuring that the common mwanainchi is hoodwinked into believing nonexistent things. As the politicians loot, they are blinded by a few bills to make them Merrymake for a day or two and then get back to reality when everything settles down. The system is designed to keep them down and make them stay down.
Even the legendary Ksh 100,000 wheelbarrows were never manufactured by the local Jua Kali artisans and if they did, you can bet your life that they never received such astronomical figures. That’s how tough the common man has it. People can use you as an excuse to make millions and yet you never see a penny!
It used to be that labour groups would agitate for equity in labor, however, after the politicization of the Union, that’s now a pipe dream. The haves will always have, the have-nots will always try, but there will always be the never-have-nots because the system is rigged. The poor will stay poor, the rich will get richer. Who will fight for the never-have-nots ?
A revolution? Not a chance. The top will pour money to the middle class to lull them into a slumber and as they Merrymake and get hypnotized with European football and French wine, they will extend the goodies to the common mwanainchi who can barely make ends meet and pacify him with one-time bonuses to make him fall into a celebratory trance for two or three days and there you have it! Revolution is gone!
In the mood for evidence? When was the last Kenyans, in their thousands, went out of their way to demonstrate and denounce an injustice? Its not like injustices sublimed! When folks called on Kenyans to occupy parliament, more pigs graced the occasion than actual human beings! It was like a reincarnation of George Orwell’s classic Animal Farm!