• When you see a turtle balanced on top of the fence post, that is a post turtle. You know he did not get up there by himself. He doesn’t belong there; he doesn’t know what to do up there. He is elevated beyond his ability to function and you wonder what kind of cruel person put him up there to begin with.
• It is curious that in the Jubilee Party press conferences, Mariga has said very little or nothing at all.
In 2008, Sarah Louis Palin was nominated by the Republican Party to run for vice president of the United States, alongside the presidential nominee, then Arizona Senator, John McCain.
Palin was the first Alaskan on the national ticket of a major political party and also the first Republican woman to be selected as a vice-presidential candidate.
In the same year, a 75-year-old Texas rancher sought medical services after accidentally cutting his hand on the gate of his ranch as he was herding cattle. As the doctor sutured the cut, they struck up a conversation about national politics. The doctor was curious to know what the rancher thought about the Republican vice presidential nominee. To his surprise, the rancher called her a post turtle. Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what he meant.
The old rancher went on to explain that when you are driving down a country road and you come across a fence, where you see a turtle balanced on top of the fence post, that is a post turtle.
You know he did not get up there by himself; he doesn’t belong there; he doesn’t know what to do while he is up there; he is elevated beyond his ability to function; you wonder what kind of cruel person put him up there to begin with; and you just want to help the poor thing come down.
A couple of weeks ago, the Kibra parliamentary seat fell vacant following the death of Ken Okoth. Subsequently, various political parties have fielded their candidates for the November 7 by-election.
Of the 23 candidates cleared by the IEBC, one has generated brouhaha. This is McDonald Mariga, the ruling party’s candidate.
Objections have been raised regarding the legitimacy of his candidature. These include his not being a registered voter, his age, commitment to his civic duty given that he has never voted before, and the elephant in the room — whose marionette is he?
This begs the question, is Mariga Kibra’s post turtle? Did he get to the top of the post all by himself?
Opinions have been advanced that he did not get to be the Jubilee Party’s nominee all by himself. It has been widely touted that he has some strong political muscle fronting his candidature, in the name of Deputy President William Ruto.
To buttress this position, a competing aspirant has sued the Jubilee nominee, and the party’s National Elections Board at the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal over the nomination, alleging it was not carried out according to the party’s constitution.
This was also evidenced through nominated MP Maina Kamanda’s declaration to support a candidate from a different party, while it is an open secret that there is no love lost between him and the Deputy President.
Does he belong at the top of the post?
Questions have been raised on whether Mariga should be soliciting votes in Kibra, when he is registered in a different constituency altogether. It has also been observed that he is already one vote less because by not being a registered voter in the constituency he wants to represent in Parliament, he will not be able to vote for himself.
Does he know what to do while he is at the top of the post?
Electoral records show this is the first time that Mariga has registered as a voter. Was his registration motivated by expediency or his sincere commitment to his national civic duty? There is a general national consensus that Okoth’s tenure as MP was highly successful. Additionally, the other candidates competing for this post have been able to articulate their track record of development in the constituency. This leaves Mariga at a disadvantage because he has no similar accomplishments to speak of. His is a tabula rasa. The most he can do is make pledges that he hopes will persuade the Kibra electorate to vote for him.
Has he been elevated to function beyond what his skills can allow?
It is curious that in the Jubilee Party press conferences, Mariga has said very little if nothing at all. Those flanking him, who are unquestionably seasoned politicians, do all the talking. It is indisputable that Mariga is a skilled footballer. However, the jury is still out on how well those dribbling skills have translated into political acumen.
I submit that it is Mariga’s inalienable right to vie for the Kibra parliamentary seat, and more importantly to permit the electorate in Kibra to elect the leader of their choice. However, is he undertaking this as his own man or as a post turtle? You be the judge.
For most of Mariga’s productive years, he has had a highly successful career as an acclaimed international footballer. This achievement has not been realised overnight. It has taken years of practice, endurance, dedication and consistency.
In economic-speak, this is known as the specialisation of labour. It is an important cause of proficient progress that produces efficiency and effectiveness. Outputs increase because concentration is enhanced on those tasks that best suit one’s skills, interests and education.
During his announcement of his candidature, Mariga told the nation that he was vying for Kibra because he wanted to give back to the community. It can be argued that politics was not the only avenue by which he could have given back because it is nearly impossible to give that which you do not have, or do not know how to give. Several suggestions have been fronted on how he could have given back within the realm of his specialisation, such as starting football academies.
Finally, my unsolicited advice to Mariga is that no matter how great the talent, effort, money or political backing that you have, some things just take time. You cannot produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.
Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies - Groucho Marx