We shouldn't worry about politicians getting played

In Summary
  • How a people condemned to deep-rooted economic inequalities play hatchet men and women for the same political elite responsible for their squalor beggars belief
  • Kenyans need a break from the current political establishment
Deputy President William Ruto, President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga at a past event.
Deputy President William Ruto, President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga at a past event.
Image: FILE

Since the much-touted handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, there has been incessant talk about which politician is playing who, clouding the role citizens should play in keeping leaders on their toes.

In a country that has earned renown for biting poverty, a poor education system, a collapsing health system and joblessness occasioned by endemic corruption, the games politicians play on one another should be the least of our worries.

People have talked about the system playing Deputy President William Ruto, how Uhuru is playing Raila in the handshake deal and how Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and his ANC counterpart Musalia Mudavadi have been played before.

We conveniently forget that these same political leaders we are ready to die for have been in successive regimes while the economic status of Kenyans steadily remains on a downward spiral. 

They change political alliances without consulting voters and ideology depending on individual interests rather than the national good. One moment they profess social democracy, another moment they are groping in the dark, riding on that old maxim 'the end justifies the means'. To them, where their bread is buttered is of core importance than their leadership roles.

How a people condemned to deep-rooted economic inequalities play hatchet men and women for the same political elite responsible for their squalor beggars belief.

Politicians do not go without food, their children attend prestigious international schools and they never use public health facilities. If they themselves know their stints in public offices have been nothing next to desirable, hence the reason they turn to international health and education facilities, why would a voter lose sleep about a politician's dwindling political fortunes.

Whenever these politicians sign their pacts, the masses are never invited, neither are they informed of the contents of these agreements. But when the deal goes sour, the politicians never get ashamed of summoning voters to gatherings whose sole aim is to create a siege mentality. Unfortunately, the masses play ball without even questioning why in all this skullduggery their economic fortunes rarely change.

We quickly forget that it's from such scenarios that we have witnessed the worst forms of ethnic pogroms, from the state-sanctioned clashes of the Nineties to the infamous 2007 post-election violence.

Kenyans must spare a thought for their children languishing at home due to lack of school fees, instigated by a dysfunctional education system. We should not be worried about who is playing who but about the hundreds of young people condemned to depression because of lack of jobs.

Politicians do not go without food, their children attend prestigious international schools and they never use public health facilities. If they themselves know their stints in public offices have been nothing next to desirable, hence the reason they turn to international health and education facilities, why would a voter lose sleep about a politician's dwindling political fortunes.

Kenyans need a break from the current political establishment. We badly need leadership premised on sound economic policies, rule of law and empathy, not the decades-old games of musical chairs.

Freelance journalist and writer