It is said that communicating with the lady in your life is a necessity if you're planning on keeping your relationship going. That's something that makes most men cringe wondering, must we really, really talk - because half the time he can't really figure out what she's saying.
I'm told men tend to keep things simple and say the bare minimum when forced to express themselves, while women tend to play interpreter — reading between the lines to fill in the holes in what she's hearing. In fact if we all learnt to listen like women and better still understand women, we wouldn't be in the angst we're all facing as we watch the political elite say very, very strange things of late.
For example when a man says "Your friend is really nice."
What she hears: "I'm checking out your pal. Teleza kidogo uone."
When a man says "I'm really busy."
What she hears: "I'm really too busy to be with you. You're not worth my time."
Now let's apply the lessons learnt above to politicians and ourselves.
The past week has been full of intrigue, stomach churning shock and so much political double-talk and we ( the miserable voters) have gotten so fed-up by all of it that we’ve now thrown our collective hands in the air and uttered a unified NKT!
Sadly, we are getting better at seeing through the political lies and double-talk once we elect them, not before. If only we had known how to read the signs and interpret their language way before we elected them to office. Hence my short course on he said she heard. You see, much like a young man eager to score, politicians spin tall fairy-tales.
Politicians lie. They know it. We know it. Why pretend otherwise? Let’s do a small exercise today on the lies politicians tell. Maybe we will be better at reading between the lines next time. Yes, my friend - next time. Right now, we are stuck with this lot and the pain they are certain to inflict on us for quite awhile. In fact let's turn on our feminine hearing intellect and get past what the politician says and get to what he really, truly means.
Let's talk about pain. How often does a politician go into a slum or a part of rural Kenya and preach to the masses that he is at one with them? How he sheds tears and tells the enthralled crowd that he feels their pain? Muhesh – tuhesh.
You do not feel the pain of the poor and the working, struggling middle class if you are a member of the political elite. You make too much money, have excellent health care and tend to be so tickled at the perks you now receive, to even consider giving up a single one. Don't pretend to know what it means to work for a living and worry about bills when you don't. It makes you sound like an idiot and it makes us very, very angry.
Politicians also love to appeal to small enterprises and the jua kali sector and rural small scale farmers by talking about how much they should be supported and how they value them. The truth is politicians only hob-nob with big business men and corporates. They couldn’t care less about small business because they are disorganised and politically impotent as a group. Taken individually, none are large enough to contribute a meaningful amount in cash to a re-election campaign. Look at the matatus and hawkers and how they are used and discarded every election. Newsflash if you are a small enterprise, part of jua kali or even a small scale farmer – politicians view you as a non-entity.
Politicians also love to use the word change. They are aware that from the moment they start campaigning we are hungry for something new, something different. We want change - they don't. When a politician says "I will create change you can believe in" he actually means - kuwa serious! I got money to campaign from the same guys who gave the last guy and my major opponent money. It's my turn to eat. I won’t change a thing. I like what the last guy enjoyed and I want me some of that! Change ni wewe.
Politicians also love to play the "we" card when they are campaigning or are in trouble, it's all about "we". Once they get elected it's all about "me". You've heard this over and over again and we still fall for it. He makes us weep as he makes references in his speeches to "we" and "us". Of course, catch the same guy at his local or the country club in the suburbs and he laughs until he chokes at how we cheered and actually swallowed that BS. All the while snipping on a fine brandy or 18 year-old whiskey. We? Lanes!
What do you want? I will bring you the moon. Politicians have a laundry list of things they love to promise that we all gobble up really fast and we tend to hear it differently depending on whose manifesto it's on. The lies are the same - free health care, running water, better schools, jobs for everyone and riches untold. There is obviously no money for most of this stuff and some of it is is darn near impossible to give; but as long as you want it, and are happy to hear it - I will promise to give it to you. I fear free laptops might be the next one. Though I sincerely hope not.
Quick off the back of all the expensive promises above of free health care and education and roads and jobs and riches untold - politicians also love to tell us how Kenyans are taxed enough and how much money the government has and how it has been misused by the last guy ( Kenyatta, Moi, Kibaki, Odinga etc) so of course they quickly tell us how they will not raise taxes. Unfortunately, the truth is, if he is to provide any of the magical things he's promised, he will have to raise taxes. It's a no brainer.
'I will create jobs' is another great promise politicians love to make. From Kibaki who promised 500,000 jobs a year, to Obama who has since gone quiet on that story to even the present governors and President of Kenya. I won't even bother to explain this one. It's as good as the one a guy tells a girl he really wants to mess with and she's playing hard ball. He says "I want to marry you." Same thing with "I will create jobs." Unless he has a real plan to create economic stimulus and grow businesses, there's no way he can promise jobs.
The finest of them all, when it comes to the political double talk we can't stop falling for “we need to invest in education, health, and infrastructure and reduce crime”. It sounds good, people like it, and it’s so general I don’t have to do anything about it. Imagine after all these years and we still fall for this one!
Of course in Kenya, the divide and rule principle is simply the best and it is always about "those people, that party". The best line is “we will never go into coalition with them, ever!” What we don't hear is the thing they mutter under their breathe "not unless the price is right", then anything goes and we are all brothers and sisters and it's one fabulous political alliance that will deliver us all to the promised land.
So there you have it. Commit this to memory, put it somewhere in your office, bedroom or even in your bible, pray over it and the next time your favourite politician is speaking, don't just listen, hear what he says and use your internal filter to understand what he really means. Next chance at the ballot - 2017. Until then, there will be the gnashing of teeth and tightening of belts and all those cliches we so love to use - for us, not for them.