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January 21, 2019

Is it you or the politician who is a dunderhead?

A flooded road in Kajiado county
A flooded road in Kajiado county

"It is not the dunderheads that get elected to Parliament. The dunderheads are those that elect them.”

This statement was made by a politician – not with exact words, but bearing the exact meaning and weight. It would be interesting to know whether the person who made this statement wanted to ridicule the people who elected him to office, or vindicate his fellow politicians. But the message is clear and the feelings well shared. Why do we use a very important tool – the voting card – to put into office people who have no regard whatsoever for their electorates? This is a question many of us ponder over and over again. Soon, the voting card will be useless and the exercise will be meaningless unless we, the people, realise that the people we elect to political office are supposed to be serving us by being the link between the government and us.

 We have started seeing the emergence of fresh faces that are going around hinting at their intention to go into politics next year. This revelation is sending jitters to the incumbent, waking them up from the slumber they went into soon after election. They in turn go into first gear to announce they are in the race. And the madness has started, unofficially. I don’t know of other parts of the country, but in Kajiado, the race has begun even before the race tracks are in place. I hope and pray that the present false starters will have tired by the time the real race begins.

I went to our home pub to relax after a long day out in Kajiado town. Coming from Kajiado, I used the Isinya-Kiserian road. The state of the road was so bad that I spent more than an hour to do 30km to Kiserian. The vehicle was complaining all through and I was constantly aware that anything can happen in the way of a serious breakdown. I called my friend to warn him of the condition of the road since he was driving a low ground clearance vehicle. He opted to go to town and drive down Lang'ata road to Kiserian. He was feeling thankful that he used the long route which was safe from the potholes of Isinya road. Just after negotiating the roundabout at Bomas of Kenya, he squeezed himself into standstill traffic. He was stuck on this stretch of less than 10km for two hours. Now he was wondering. What was the lesser evil? Taking the beat from the potholes, or spending two hours in a traffic snarl-up? All this was happening in the county of Kajiado where campaigns have started in the name of the famed 'goat eating' sessions and beer buying competitions in some dingy bars.

As I took a sip of my favourite drink awaiting the arrival of my friend, a waiter dropped a bottle of beer on my table and indicated it was from “mama”. I would normally not accept drinks from people I am not familiar with. So I sent her away with the drink. She insisted that I have to have it, since “mama” was buying for everyone present. “Mama”, as I came to learn, was the nominated county representative, and wanted to make a short announcement. Why she had to buy alcohol before making the announcement was not lost to me. It is the hallmark for politicians. While she was making her announcement, which was basically to say she preferred being elected than nominated, and was going for woman representative, I made a note to find out the reaction of the people present. I noticed the only attentive person listening was her husband and a few of her friends. The rest of the crowd was enjoying the free beer and talking amongst themselves. Wasted effort? No. Her aim was to make the electorate aware of things to come – that she could spend, and entertain.

I had never seen this lady since the days of campaigns for 2013 elections. And now she wants a bigger posting come 2017. Many more will start buying beers and goats as we head to the election year, which is a whole year away! And we, the dunderheads, will elect them according to their ability to buy beer and goats, while our roads, electricity, health facilities, and education remains illusions.

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