Hustler nation: The definition of homegrown political ideology

Narrative scaring the elite is that of dynasties, fat cats, inherited wealth vs the vast numbers of struggling, down-and-out go-getters

In Summary

• Hustler nation is a sociopolitical movement of hardworking Kenyans from all walks of life desirous of a better Kenya despite one’s background or social status.

• Thus the mantra of the hustler nation is a government of the hustlers, by the hustlers and for the hustlers.

Deputy President William Ruto whering a cap emblazoned with and 'H" for Hustler.
HUSTLERS' CAP: Deputy President William Ruto whering a cap emblazoned with and 'H" for Hustler.
Image: DPPS

Of late, a new and robust debate has emerged of what exactly is the hustler nation and what this stands for. This is because for 57 years since Independence, our politics has been defined by tribal sentiments used to mobilise Kenyans on various matters, especially elections.

Proponents of the hustler nation are clear on what they stand for, others have tried to distort the meaning to create an us-versus-them scenario.

This is to therefore clearly state what this political lingo stands for in our Kenyan context.

The hustler nation is a sociopolitical movement of hardworking Kenyans drawn from all walks of life who are desirous of a better Kenya despite one’s background or social status.

It is anchored in the spirit of shared prosperity, respect and dignity, since ‘every hustle matters.' Those to whom God has given a higher status in society have a responsibility of working, associating with and helping those considered to be lowly.

The hustler nation believes in a commonly shared heritage and inheritance by all Kenyans, rather than a colonial privilege inherited by a select few. As Abraham Lincoln said, "Things may come to those who wait but only the things left by those who hustle."

Thus the mantra of the hustler nation is a government of the hustlers, by the hustlers and for the hustlers.

This new homegrown political ideology is anchored in four main pillars.

First, equality for all in that one’s background doesn’t determine their destiny in life. Second, it's time for the youth to lead but under the wisdom, guidance and experience of the senior citizens.

Third, that Kenya is one indivisible and united nation, rejecting tribalism and ethnic balkanisation. Fourth, the hustler nation believes in 'Wheelbarrownomics', a bottom-up rather and a trickle-down revolutionary economic model since "Success is never owned, it’s rented. And the rent is due every damn day. Hustle beats talent when talent doesn’t hustle."  (Kobe Bryant)

To begin with, there is an emerging phenomenon in Kenya that one cannot make it in life unless one comes from a certain ethnic or family background and that certain positions or opportunities are a preserve of a certain group or calibre of people.

The existence of this invisible ‘glass ceiling’ has led to many people being denied equal opportunity despite their talent and potential. It has also contributed to the general under-development of the country. This is because  since the best talents and resources are never put to maximal use, leading to indolence and incompetence within our national psyche and fabric.

The hustler nation thus believes that through daily hustle, anyone can rise from nowhere to somewhere and become somebody. A boda boda rider can rise to own a matatu. A mama mboga can rise to own a supermarket. That indeed, we should celebrate the hard work of each and every Kenyan since ‘every hustle matters’ and all dreams are valid.

Secondly, the hustler nation believes in a Kenya beyond tribal and ethnic origin. For a very long time, the potential of the country has been held back by tribal sentiments and ethnic balkanisation that have been used to rob us of both of our present and future as well as our collective sense of purpose.

This has obstructed Kenyans from attaining their highest potential despite having many resources, talents and potential. Ethnic mobilisation has been used to deny Kenyans good leadership that can enable the country to attain a first-world status.

The hustler nation. therefore believes in a united Kenya, and that each and every one should have a ‘fair chance’ despite their tribe, region, religion, age, gender, disability, color, race, social or economic status. As Martin Luther King Jr put it, "We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."

Thirdly, Kenya’s median age is 19 years, meaning that half of the country’s population is below this age. The time has therefore come for the young to lead this nation in order for them to determine their future collectively.

A better more prosperous Kenya will thus be achieved by combining the passion, energy, ambitions and creativity of the youth with the wisdom, counsel and experience of the old, towards making Kenya a successful first-world country. Isaac Newton aptly put it that “If I have seen further, it because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.” The youth are thus no longer leaders of tomorrow but today.    

Finally, the fourth pillar is Wheelbarrownomics: a practical cost-effective approach of building the economy by empowering the bottom millions to ‘spring up’ into prosperity, rather than sharing the spoils from the ‘trickle-down’ economics, after the big people and companies have already taken the lion’s share.

It provides a practical departure from the mega business macro-economic environment that has created a big gap between big business and their benefactors on one hand, and the masses on the other. The Kenya of the 21st Century cannot be a country of five dynastic billionaires and 50 million beggars.

Wheelbarrownomics focuses on empowering the common man and woman who works hard daily to put food on the table; from tuk-tuk drivers, boda boda riders, mama mbogas, shoe shiners and all hustlers through.

The idea is to engineer an agrarian revolution by empowering the small- scale farmers in coffee, tea, maize, sugar, potatoes and other crops as well as livestock by removing cartels and middlemen. This will ensure the farmers are empowered to maximise their produce and also gain maximally from their sweat, thus putting money in their pockets.

This shall be done by equipping the youth with technical skills through vocational training to power an industrial revolution through cottage industries, away from the theoretical and managerial approaches. We will ensure at least one industry in every county.

Further, technological innovations that provide practical solutions in solving day-to-day challenges faced by hustlers through platforms such as mobile apps to increase access to markets, health, social and community organisation and information sharing.

The hustler nation is thus a homegrown political ideology that seeks to address the day-to-day realities that we face in order to bring a new dawn for Kenya!!!