GOVERNANCE

How to become a politician in Kenya: A synopsis

The first thing is to amass a lot of wealth through corrupt deals and use it to win the support of your local community.

In Summary

• The Kenyan voter wants more from the thief who shares with them rather than the honest leader who insists on the straight and the narrow path. So if you want to sail through in politics, follow these steps.

Kenyans line up to cast their votes
Kenyans line up to cast their votes
Image: FILE

Aristotle says “they should rule who are able to rule best.”

However, this is not the situation on the ground since the politics of the stomach by the voter reign supreme. The appetite for handouts and freebies muddies the political environment for good leaders who eke out an honest living out of their legitimate investments guided by values and principles.

Edmund Burke, a seasoned British legislator and scholar, notes: "Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites. … Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."

The Kenyan voter wants more from the thief who shares with them rather than the honest leader who insists on the straight and the narrow path. So if you want to sail through in politics, follow these steps.

The first thing is to amass a lot of wealth through corrupt deals and use it to win the support of your local community. Buy an expensive car and build a big house in the village. Give the villagers handouts, especially during Christmas and other festivities, and attend all their local functions.

Fix the village roads and come up with projects of all sorts of kind. Intervene when the police arrest the local boda boda operators and remove them from police custody. Make sure you send success cards to all the candidates during national exams and sms during holidays.

Organise a local security team of idle youth to act as your local militia. Bribe journalists to cover you in prime time news, even if you are saying nothing of national importance. Be a comedian in public rallies by saying the most outrageous of things to keep you trending on the ground and on social media.

Have a team of bloggers that push your content and abuse real or perceived detractors or competitors. Make sure you look available to would-be sexual suitors, especially slay queens so that they can share in both your loins and cash.

Always be on the ground for visibility but have last-minute millions to sway the voters, especially during party primaries. Buy the whole electoral system by determining the returning officers, presiding officers, clerks, and the local police. Stuff the ballot boxes with pre-marked photocopies of ballot papers and have your returning officer declare you the winner by assigning your competitors lesser votes.

Bribe the party machinery, including party leader, for the all too coveted certificate. The latter needs funds for their presidential bid anyway. Don’t worry about the middle-class. Just wait for the general election for these secondary voters to come vote for their tribe or coalition of choice.

The party leaders will call for six-piece voting so you are safe if you come from their strongholds. All those independent wannabes will be whitewashed not unless they have a strong brand or deep pockets. Make sure you get sworn in and come up with looting strategies in preparation for the next election.

The voters will regret their choice of you but who cares? You have a name, bodyguards, a big office and if the BBI report sails through, your party leader can even make you minister. Start lecturing the public, especially students in schools and parishioners on Sunday about good governance and how they should work hard to be like you.

You are now a role model to be emulated since the end justifies the means. People can bank on you to lead their tribe to State House. The future is bright and you are now a big man whose business is to determine and inflate the cost of government projects no matter their value to the people.

You get your cut and they can continue to service the loans or pay higher taxes. After all, this is what you share with them when they need help from you. When a motion or bill comes to the floor that is to protect the interests of corporates, seek rent from them and also you can provide legal plus other political services, especially if you are a lawyer.

You have arrived and your children now have a surname. Your erstwhile competitors who stood for moral values are now lobbying you to help them get government appointments. They have been reduced to paupers after spending a fortune during campaigns and nobody wants them anywhere near.

Others have fled the country for greener pastures working in home care or doing menial jobs. Your name shall appear in the list of those that were. You have amassed wealth and the life of your children and grandchildren is secure. You haven’t improved the welfare of the masses. You leave them more impoverished than you found them. For if you were to do so, they wouldn’t vote for you again. They must remain poor. Wajinga Nyinyi