RESUME OF A SUCCESSFUL POLITICIAN

Modest manual on how to rise politically in Kenya, no deed beneath you

The politics of the stomach of the voter himself reigns supreme, that's your ticket

In Summary

• The appetite for handouts and freebies corrupts the political environment for good leaders  who earn an honest, principled living.

• Amass wealth, give your community handouts, attend all functions, bribe journalists, free jailed boda boda operators, be a comedian, lecture on good governance. It's easy. 

Wonder how corrupt politicians 'made it'? Here's a small manual.
HOW TO SUCCEED: Wonder how corrupt politicians 'made it'? Here's a small manual.
Image: COURTESY/PULSE.NG

It is clear that a lot of leaders' poor judgement stems from the manner in which the voter makes his or her choice.

Chesterton quips, "The average man votes below himself; he votes with half a mind or a hundredth part of one. A man ought to vote with the whole of himself, as he worships or gets married. A man ought to vote with his head and heart, his soul and stomach, his eye for faces and his ear for music; also (when sufficiently provoked) with his hands and feet. … The question is not so much whether only a minority of the electorate votes. The point is that only a minority of the voter votes.”

This means there is a greater responsibility on the part of the voter to self-determine and to be involved more deliberately and conscientiously as he/she takes such an important and life-determining position. In doing so, the voter should heed what Aristotle advocates: that those who rule should be those who are able to rule best.

 

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

Edmund Burke, a Anglo-Irish statesman and philosopher, 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."

Certainly, ours is a society whose appetite for the public coffers — be it through electioneering and the attendant avenues for siphoning or wanton wastage and pilferage — is buttressed by our value systems that glorify the thief on the cross rather than the saviour besides him. It is important to understand how these corrupt fellows get into the system, capture it and own it.

This is, therefore, a small manual of how to rise politically in Kenya.

The first thing is to amass a lot of wealth and use it to win the support of your community. Give them handouts and attend all functions. Fix the roads and come up with projects of all sorts. Intervene when the police arrest 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 to act as a local militia. Line up people during public meetings and give them handouts from Sh100 to Sh1,000. Bribe journalists to cover you even if you are saying nothing of importance. Be a comedian in public rallies by saying the most outrageous of things to keep you trending on social media. Have a team of bloggers that push your content and abuse real or perceived detractors or competitors.

Get sworn in and come up with looting strategies in preparation for the next elections. The voters will regret their choice of you but who cares? You have a name, a bodyguard, a big office and if the BBI report sails through, your party leader can even make you minister.

Make sure you look available to would-be sexual suitors so that they can share in both your loins and your 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, more so, the police. Stuff the ballot boxes with pre-marked photocopies of ballot papers and have your Returning Officer declare you the winner.

 

Assign your competitors fewer votes and bribe the party machinery including party leaders for the all-too-coveted certificate. Wait for the general election for the 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 washed away unless they have a strong brand or deep pockets.

Get sworn in and come up with looting strategies in preparation for the next elections. The voters will regret their choice of you but who cares? You have a name, a bodyguard, a big office and if the BBI report sails through, your party leader can even make you minister.

Start lecturing the members of 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 ends justify the means. It’s the rule of the jungle and everybody must survive. You now have your eyes trained on governor in the future, 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. When a motion or bill comes to the floor that aims to protect the interests of corporates, seek rent from them and also you can provide legal or other political services.

You have arrived and your children now have a surname. People laugh at your stale jokes and your erstwhile competitors who stood for moral values are now lobbying you to help them get govt appointments. The not-so-lucky have been reduced to paupers after spending a fortune during the campaigns and nobody wants them anywhere near them. Others have fled the country for greener pastures only to end up working in home cares or doing menial jobs.

You have made it, vanquished your opponents and your name shall appear in the list of those who were. You have amassed wealth and the lives of your children and grandchildren are secure but  you will not improve the lot 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.