PERMANENT INTERESTS

Narrative of political dynasties versus underdogs is fake

There is no inkling at all to a clash of "little guys" and big political boys in the country.

In Summary

• The fallacy of the clash draws its reading from two current and seemingly competing for political doings, namely the handshake cause and the " hustler" crusade.

• On the whole, my picture on Kenya's politics is conveyed in an analogy of large flocks of livestock that have its proprietors and paid shepherds.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga after their meeting where they resolved to work together and unite the country after the long protracted elections. March 9, 2018
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga after their meeting where they resolved to work together and unite the country after the long protracted elections. March 9, 2018
Image: FILE

The theory that simply dissects Kenya's politics into a duality battle pitting political "dynasties" against "underdogs" is an unsound fabrication that hides more truth than it tells in the public discourse.

While I concede that above all our national politics has had a propensity to focus on "tribes" and personalities rather than being systems and gen-driven, nothing in the political showroom gives a true moral picture of the famed scriptural storyline of "David versus Goliath" and its appealing symbolisms of the scrawny prevailing over the strong and virtue surpassing evil.

The fallacy of the clash draws its reading from two current and seemingly competing for political doings, namely the handshake cause and the " hustler" crusade.

 

The handshake bandwagon originated from the unforeseen political truce between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his erstwhile political rival Raila Odinga in March 2018 after an extended, edgy and hurting electioneering period.

This movement has by design or default assembled the influential political scions of Kenyatta, Odinga and Moi families, plus their backers in what they say is a mission of lastly uniting Kenyans and securing an inclusive government and development through the ongoing Building Bridges Initiative.

On the opposite is Deputy President William Ruto, who is a self-styled "hustler" which is taken to mean a little guy-and his supporters who seem politically distrusting about the handshake and the newfound unity between the President and Raila. This camp is instead keener on the 2022 political reckoning and is relying on a hustler marketing campaign to vend a Ruto presidency ahead of time.

But all in all, there is no inkling at all to a clash of "little guys" and big political boys in the country. The misjudgment ascends from a political naivety that fails to notice the actuality that all these fellows are politically related and are variedly big in the political auditorium.

The likes of Ruto and his ally, National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale, were variously initiated in the "Moi School of Politics" and then they proceeded for coaching at the "Raila political arts school" before prospering in Uhuru's two-term political "institute". So I find it swindling when I hear people like them swaggering as "self-made" and distinct from the very people and arrangements that produced them.

On the whole, my picture on Kenya's politics is conveyed in an analogy of large flocks of livestock that have its proprietors and paid shepherds.

The flocks of livestock are the electorates, who like real livestock, are kept for food (read political survival), pride, prestige and dowry when its time for political marriages.

Equally, when I look at the voting public and the abetting ignorance, materialism and lack of ideals in our democratic participation, the ridiculing portrait that suggests itself is that of flocks on the cheap that always hang on cheap fodders.

 

Directly above the livestock band are the hired "shepherds" who do the marshaling of the electorates on behalf of the owners. Occupying these echelons are some of the appointed officeholders, elders and elites who are made to enjoy some special treatments that makes them fulsomely distinguishable from the "herds" they direct. However, any treachery or unqualified demand in this zone may invite negative vibes and stiff penalties that encompasses exclusion and human blood sacrifice.

Then finally is the flock-owing class that has an established influence in flocking the livestock for whichever desired political purpose.

A major part of the influence of those in this club of chicest rulers, merchants and elites is connected to their gatekeeping function in our "extraverted" economy where they are able to play a subordinate but self-preserving role as enablers in international trading as has been continentally assessed by historian and writer Jean-Francois Bayart.

This three-layered political relationship is not just a current spectacle featuring Western interests and the now seemingly Chinese debt-trap diplomacy, but a continuance of what catastrophically existed in the colonial and pre-colonial times that saw the misery of the masses --whether in the slave trade that guaranteed supply of cheap labour to manpower-deficient Middle East and Portuguese farmlands, or the heavy taxation, discrimination and brutality under the British rule--being paralleled by the rise and thriving of their collaborators and gatekeepers.

Just a few think of a future outside this triple order of politics.

Mohamed is a social and political commentator in Garissa county.