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November 19, 2018

Allow ideas, not lies, to compete

Compete on ideas
Compete on ideas

A power clique is feeding the electorate with ethnic innuendoes, when right-thinking voters expect a competition of ideas. The clique has class and ethnic interests it wants to protect. But a conscious electorate can break this coalition of vested interests.

Steak-holders are manipulating the electoral process. They are corrupting the public psyche with misinformation to perpetuate exploitation of the gullible.

Right-thinking people expect a clash of ideas from those who want to retain and those who want to acquire power. But seven years after the promulgation of a progressive, post-modern Constitution, vested interests still dominate. Tribal thinking, and the beast in the power clique, remains wild and atavistic. Consider this self-serving twisting of NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s advice to the Maa community.

From the audio, Raila advised the Maasai in Kajiado county not to sell their fast-dwindling landholdings for a song, if they have to do so. The counsel is not a call to disown previous land sales. When you see herders raid city streets with thousands of head of cattle, then you know there is a crisis of pasture. This community needs an alternative source of livelihood to adapt to living on one-acre plots.

One depressing case is a metaphor of disappearing Maa land. John sold the last parcel of his family land in Ololua, Kajiado, in 2014. With the take of Sh5,000,000 for an acre, he built a row of mabati houses of 10 single rooms for himself. His brother, Paul, bought three motorbikes to operate as boda bodas on the Karen-Ngong Road, with a base in Olepolos. The brothers are married, with four children each.

Their livestock is gone. Their attempts to adapt to the new life are stunted. The motorbikes are in disrepair. The income from the mabati shanties cannot sustain John and his family. He is regretting how their Sh5,000,000 was wrongly invested.

John occasionally visits the man who bought his land for handouts or rare casual work. The willing seller-willing buyer idea is great in a capitalist society. But sellers need sound advice on how to invest proceeds from land sales. Such counselling is futuristic.

Misconstruing such advice has another meaning beyond the context of the counsel. Making vacuous political capital out of sound advice is a mockery of victims who sold their heritage, without knowing how to invest the cash. Poverty of knowledge and dire want are responsible for the palpable economic differences between land buyers and land sellers. Some are still selling land to pay dowry, or to fund alcoholic lifestyles. The money disappears soon after the land is gone. You are not a leader if you cannot think of the future of the electorate. Winning votes is not an end in itself.

Sadly, steak-holders are exciting ethnic emotions to ‘communalise’ vested interests. They are using the tribe for self-perpetuation. The flopped attempt to rekindle the ICC cases is one such case of exciting ethnic emotions to protect vested interests. Sorry, the ground is shifting. Voters are asking probing questions.

The dominant power and economic clique know the communities are no more than a doormat they discard when they cross the state power line.

These interests are converging this season at seven-star hotels to pass the message that owners of capital and wielders of state power are joined at the hip. The statement, which is being passed in an ambience of indulgence and indifference, is: You fund our ambitions and we shall ensure your capital grows 100-fold. Since there is no free lunch, it is a quid, pardon, a mutual scratching of backs at a huge cost to the lowdown. The political fundraisers that yield millions of shillings in minutes are familiar rituals, enacted every five years to affirm embedded class interests. That lies the power clique resort to gain political mileage should concern the ordinary people. And we the people, should say once bitten twice shy. The electorate needs a new political consciousness to break the hippy dance of the political power and economic clique.

Your vote is the key to living the expectations of the 2010 Constitution.

 

 

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