Friday, 25 July 2014

The Birthright



We arrived at Kangemi social hall early enough. Like many other youths, this was one opportunity I did not want to miss anything; especially registering early enough to be around when tea is served. By ten o’clock the organizers called all to attention and after prayers, the seminar began. The first speaker was the moderator from the NGO that had convened us. She spoke softly but firmly. She started by explaining that they were an NGO keen on empowering youth. In response to this some youths could be heard murmuring “where are the jobs, we have papers”. She continued and pointed out that life is what one makes it and that if we chose to make ours great, it was all within our making. “Normal motivation crap”, I quipped under my breath. She introduced the speaker of the day and as she sat down she added, “I hope our speaker of the day helps you think without a box, all wealth and happiness and freedom awaits you”.
“Nature and nurture can be used in the same sentence without contradiction”, Mzee Maembe began speaking. “That is quite a statement”, I thought to myself. “Ladies and gentlemen, the more we forget nature, the more chaotic, loathsome, grueling and despotic our lives become”. A youth close to me leaned towards me and said “sounds familiar, crap about environment and sustainability, right?” Mzee Maembe looking in our direction and seeming to address me continued, “I was just like you”. What? How could a man who owns a leading manufacturing company, retail chains and hotel chains have been just like me?
“This area, this slum is very close to my heart” said Mzee Maembe. “Many of you know me as the owner of multi-million businesses. Yes, I own businesses that fulfill my joy and excite my life every day. Every day I wake up and the joy of seeing people finding livelihood and fulfillment fills my heart. How I wish all humanity would feel such joy. How I pray that today marks a new beginning for you young men and women such that 20 years from now, you will be telling others a story of joy and fulfillment”. By this time, I was hooked. That is exactly what I wanted, that was my dream; to live a life that blesses others and enables them find meaning and value in their existence.
“20 years ago, ladies and gentlemen, 20 years, I lived in this Kangemi and I was a pauper. Just like you, I enjoyed the stench, insecurity and helplessness that slum life can offer” continued Mzee Maembe. “I remember my turning point very well. I was 32 years old, a diploma holder and had done all odd jobs in this great city as a sales person and a merchandiser. I enjoyed my work but then one day my employer lost the merchandising contract. Without savings and a job, it meant whiling away time in the ghetto and looking for menial jobs, especially on construction sites for survival. Let me tell you how my journey to where I am today started”, Mzee Maembe said with a firm tone and to this, I could see every youth in the room shifting his or her sitting position.
 “My journey to the top started through some unfortunate circumstances. On this particular day, I did some heavy work on a construction site  and as usual received my wages. Like it was our norm, we decided to pass through Kawangware to say sorry to our bodies. Our normal style of saying sorry to the body was to pass through Mama Safi Hotel for cow leg delicacy then we would proceed to Mama Pima’s joint to gallop down Busaa or Chang’aa until the body felt sedated. The day was calm as usual, the Mama Pima environment way. There were hordes of us in every corner and I could pick out the voices of the regulars as they belted their broken English and assured the world of how learned they were. Everything was going right but no sooner had I taken a swig at the contents in my glass than I heard murmurs “this chang’aa of today is not good”, one said. “It has a funny taste, but it is catching me well”, another one said. “It is not the normal one, Mama Pima, hii chang’aa ina nini, uliongeza mkojo wako?” another one joked.
I ignored what they were saying for normal drunkards’ talk; the chang’aa had a funny smell yes, but it tasted good, it had the kind of toughness that makes one close an eye before swallowing a gulp. I took a swig and another and another until I was about to empty the contents in my glass. I was drinking fast because I needed to get back to Kangemi and address something before it was dark. Just then, I heard a man groan and say “hii pombe ni mbaya bwana”. Before his words could settle, I heard more retorts to the same effect and immediately felt a dizziness beginning to creep up and my eye lids becoming heavy. My brain ran very fast, and quickly the thought struck me “another case of illicit brew poisoning?” There had been numerous such instances but like we the drunkards used to say, it is insane to stop drinking; only alcohol can reject me.
Not wanting to take chances, I sprung to my feet and staggered out of Mama Pima’s den. I spotted a motor bike guy, beckoned him and ordered him to rush me to the nearest hospital. Rush, he did, riding mad like motor bike guys love to do and I clung on him as I bit my teeth together trusting that I would hang on my dear life no matter what happened. By the time we got to the hospital, I was already frothing at the mouth and my breath was belabored. As I was being helped into the doctors’ room, all I could feebly matter was, ni pombe inaniua. I do not remember anything else but I came to, a day later to the news that thirty fellow drinkers had died and I was among the few survivors.
A well wisher took care of our hospital bill and I was discharged. However, ladies and gentlemen, I had lost all capacity to do the usual construction site work. I was emaciated and did not know where the meal of the day would come from. I went to my rental room and for two days I was confined to my room; feeding on porridge and nothing but porridge. I knew I had to do something if I was to survive. I took my phone and called a friend. In a condescending tone, he told me “Kama Nairobi imekushinda, rudi mashambani”. Those are the most hurtful words I have ever heard but those are the words that turned my life around.
After a few days of relying on my neighbors for something to eat, weak and tired, I made the decision; to go back to the village. This is the most difficult decision to make; going back to the village signifies accepting failure and giving up on the dream of finding a great job and being wealthy, which is what I felt as I rode the bus back to Western Kenya. Immediately my clansmen heard I had arrived, they came knocking; as usual expecting handouts from the city. However, upon seeing the skeleton I had been reduced to, they quickly found an excuse and left. It did not take more than two days before the verdict found consensus among villagers; and the verdict was: I was HIV positive with full blown AIDS. In a good village like ours, that verdict meant none was keen to associate with me. I was left to the care of my mum, poor mum; her eyes were always filmy with tears whenever they met with mine. From the fear in her eyes, I knew she also believed what the other villagers believed, her son was going, and death was beckoning.
My mum was born again and she strongly believed in miracles. I guess that is why she invited him; the pastor I despised most because of his ever nagging behavior. He was always on my case whenever I would visit my village; always making pronouncements about how all pursuits are vanities unless done in the spirit or when tuned to GOD fm. I used to argue with him and dismiss him but now that I was weak and bedridden, I skeptically listened to him pray and rant about God’s power. He prophesized that I would not die, I would live. Of course, I was not terminally ill and I knew that with mother’s good care I would be strong and ready to go back to Nairobi in no time.
After the long prayers, my mum left and returned with a big kettle of tea and a plateful of arrow roots. As we munched away on the delicacy, the pastor turned to me and said, “Son it shall be well with you”. To this the assistants and my mum quickly rejoined with “Amen”. The pastor then fished his bible and read a verse in 1 Samuel that was to the effect that scion was to emerge from the house of Jesse. And what followed was an animated sermon by the pastor on the scion that was to emerge in the house of Jesse. This talk kind of melted my heart because I needed all the assurance I could get. Then there was dramatic silence; that deep silence that ensues after someone has been shouting in a room for a while. I looked up and gazed into the eyes of the pastor who was looking straight at me. “Son”, the pastor calmly started, “I want you to reclaim your birthright. You were not born to fail, you were born to win. You are not a looser; you are a gainer in Jesus’ name. You are not the tail, you are the head, trust in God and reclaim your birth right”. The pastor went on quoting bible verses about God’s faithfulness and nearly lost me when he veered into some arimashaba bagala kararaimabala raswamathakani, all in the name of speaking in tongues.
The pastor and his entourage left but I was left thinking and for a number of days I thought without any clear answers. What did that pastor mean by I should reclaim my birthright? Hope he does not mean I get born again as to be walking around with a holier than thou gait? As I started to regain my energy, I visited my grand father and mentioned the idea of birthright. My grand father quickly pointed to land; “you want your dad to give you your share of the ancestral land?” he seemed to ask himself and continued as if talking to himself “Now what would you do with that. Land has shrunk; you should go out and look for money where there is money. Even if you were to be given the quarter an acre that may be your birthright, what would you do with it?” I quickly, excused myself and left because getting a share of my dad’s land was far from my thoughts.
I was unsettled and knew I had to get some money and return to Nairobi. There was a village mate who had dropped out of school in class eight and was doing very well; he was the rich man in the village. I went to him to request for a loan. Rudely he told me that he would not give me any loan but if I chose to, I could work with him on his farm for pay. He was lucky; I thought to myself, his dad had left him a two acre piece of land. On that piece of land he had a dairy unit, maize, tomatoes and vegetables. I started helping him on the farm and I got a rude surprise. Every day my friend could sell crates of tomatoes, vegetables and milk from his dairy unit. From the four lactating cows he had, he had at least 40 litres of milk daily, which assured him of at least 1000 Kshs per day. By village standards, this was a lot of money. I helped him on the farm and he gave me 200Kshs per day. One day as we were sitting below a mango tree, resting after spraying the tomatoes, three mangoes came down by themselves from the tree and fell by my feet. As if in succession, I became aware of other thuds not far away from where we were as avocadoes fell loosely from a tree.
What? I asked myself. Are these the same fruits we bought at 20Kshs each in Nairobi? There and then, I knew what to do. I went to our local town and walked around, scouting to determine the supply of mangoes and avocadoes in town. I saw a few fruit stands and some women hawking fruits but I knew there was untapped potential. My uncle was a bicycle repair in some corner of town near a primary school. I went and asked him what I had to do if I wanted to start a fruit stand close to his bicycle repair stand. By the next day, I visited my friend not to help him on the farm but to collect mangoes and avocadoes. Just on the first day, I was mesmerized by how people grabbed the clean and well arranged mangoes and avocadoes at my stand. The mangoes and avocadoes were in plenty in my village, so I could buy many and started selling to hotels for juice making. Before long, I had to employ someone to take care of the initial fruit stand as I did supplies to schools, hotels and even offices. As my clientele grew and became loyal, I began to notice other things they used such as vegetables, tomatoes, cereals, onions and I supplied. At this time the knowledge acquired in school came in hand; I registered a business name, printed invoices, receipt books and delivery books. Without knowing it, I was becoming the preferred supplier of cereals and grocery items in town.
I had no choice but to open my first cereals store and a grocery, adjacent to each other in town. As the work grew, I employed more young people to help me. Then with more capital than I needed, I ventured into the hotel business. I did not start big; I simply started a milk café and focused on giving extra-ordinary service to my clientele. I went to the villages and collected milk, which I either served as tea or prepared sour milk that was served with ugali or mandazi. Before long, we had to introduce other foods like chips and main course meals. We looked for bigger space and our model of dealing directly with farmers helped my hotel to offer very competitive prices on things like chicken.
This is how my mega businesses started my dear friends. It started with me realizing the value in what God had given our people in abundance. The more I dealt with farmers from my home town, I realized the challenges they faced marketing their products. I realized how much they were exploited by middle men. I also realized how seasonality of products also meant seasonality of income for them. As a consequence of seasonal income, my people were embroiled and trapped in a certain poverty cycle. I sought to find market for most of their produce and to give competitive prices to them. I started taking their produce to new markets. With better returns, my people increased their productivity on the farms. For instance, my suppliers of tomatoes were increasing the production every year due to my assured buying of their product. I kept supplying markets like Nairobi but soon realized I could even make more money if I processed the tomatoes. I ventured into agro-processing and I have never looked back. The profits keep flowing in. I visit supermarkets and I am happy to see my products smiling at me. I have worked on a model where my production is retail chain driven. I have retailers all over the country who pre-order my products. Most critically, my other businesses are the greatest movers of my products. My hotel chain and retail stores are an assured distribution chain.
As I conclude my friends, you have choices to make. The choice to embrace your birthright or you will continue searching for Holy Grail. I was more like you; I thought success will come my way if I stick in slums in urban centers and do odd jobs waiting for the lucky break. Little did I know that in basic things availed to us by nature, we can grow some gold. Now I have friends and they mesmerize me. I have a friend who supplies firewood; but unlike those who rely on forests, he gets his firewood from his tree farm and from others who have planted trees. To ensure there will always be trees, he liaises with farmers and encourages them to plant fast maturing trees. I now have suppliers to my hotels. They have poultry farms or they buy eggs and chicken from farmers, among other commodities and supply to my hotel. Agribusiness my friends, agribusiness is the most assured route to comfort in life that one ever discovered. You do not need to own big lands. You just need access to some land and engage in farming activities that excite you. You do not have to go to the farm; just help solve the problems farmers face and you will be blessed with great returns” concluded Mzee Maembe.
As the vote of thanks was made by a youth leader, as the moderator thanked all and declared the seminar over and as people milled out of the social hall ready to go on as if nothing happened, I remained fixed on my seat and staring into space. There was fear in my heart but I knew the decision I had to make. I have to claim my birthright!



Sunday, 20 July 2014

Understanding Tribalism in Kenya



At the heart of tribalism in Kenya are two evils; victim mentality and Self Aggrandizement. If there should be any national cohesion minded president or commission in Kenya, these are the issues to work on. These issues are somehow discussed in my book “the spirit of understanding” but for those who may never have the liberty to read my book, here are my opinions on tribalism in Kenya.

Self- Aggrandizement
We all belong to an ethnic group and naturally we are inclined towards self aggrandizement. This basically means we are inclined towards feeling we are great or better than others. Tribalism in Kenya is accentuated by a certain primitive feeling; remember every child thinks his father or mother is better than all the other fathers or mothers. There are many of us in Kenya who have not accomplished much hence our only sense of pride are primitive attachments to family names, tribal legends or the tribe at large. I have no doubt in my mind, many unexposed Bukusus feel a bukusu man or woman is superior to all other men of other tribes or races. A kikuyu in Kenya feels he or she is better than the other just because he or she is kikuyu.
How lucky I was during those days in primary school, I was introduced to legends in Kenya. We used to learn about Luanda Magere, Kotalel Arap Samoei, Mekatilili, Oloibon Laban, Dedan Kimathi, Martin Shikuku, Elijah wa Nameme etc. Unfortunately, the story of Kenyan heroes has been skewed and it might appear that other narratives have been replaced with only one; MAU MAU. Maybe a cohesion commission that helps us celebrate the rich heritage of different communities, their heroes and their contribution to nation building will help us go beyond self-aggrandizement to acknowledging our nationhood.

Victim Mentality
The other ill that is most vitriol and threatens our nationhood is victim mentality. There is no better way of indoctrinating and inciting others than making them feel like victims suffering a heavy injustice. In our good country, talk of historical injustice has been used to justify hate against others. Without looking at the facts conclusively, we all believe Kenya is unfair to our lot.
The people of North Eastern Kenya are victims; they believe subsequent governments have often intentionally refused to take development to them. Luo Nyanza is one of the poorest areas in Kenya; save for a few pockets of affluence in urban areas. The Luos believe they are victims given the subsequent governments that have been sidelined them and marginalized them due to political reasons. The Luhya in Kenya feel the government has not been interested in the welfare of the region. They point to poor road infrastructure, failing industries and limited appointments into government and cry foul. The Kalenjins recount how the first president settled or his regime facilitated settling of the Kikuyu community on their ancestral land. The people of coast see lack of development in their region as caused by skewed regimes and unfair allocation of resources.  This kind of thinking cemented the 41 against 1 strategy by ODM in the 2007 elections and the results were a massacre that we all regret.
This narrative is championed by leaders from those areas; most of whom have been in power i.e. serving government for many years. Question is; why haven’t local leaders done anything for their people? Does this narrative take into account the development path and dynamics of the nation? Are these leaders privy to the development narrative of Kenya as a player in the international system? Do they know of how Mzee Kenyatta did well not to antagonize the whites upon independence leading Kenya to a developmental path that made it the strategic country in Africa; a status that we enjoy today? Are these leaders privy to the dynamics of the aftermath of the world oil crisis in the early 1980s? Do these leaders know that the whole of Kenya was not growing and our economic growth rate was negative until Kibaki took over in 2003? Do these leaders know that the Kikuyu just like any Kenyans were in Opposition for the entire time Moi was in power? Now with devolution, are these leaders keen to ensure that every penny going to their counties is being used for the good of the common mwananchi? What a tragedy it is that while we are crying foul about the national government, we have left wolves to plunder resources meant for alleviation of poverty at the grassroots. How do you explain a county government using 5.8 billion on projects that are not tangible and that have not put a penny in the hands of any poor local man or woman in a financial year? But no, our leaders especially those in the opposition only want us to believe we are victims of bad national regimes.
A new narrative is emerging where those deemed to have enjoyed regime support are now victims crying foul. Do you know that our Kikuyu brothers and sisters have faced much negative profiling by the rest of the nation? We all believe Kikuyu are thieves, they are selfish and they only eat with Mundu Wa Nyumba. We believe they are selfish because they have never voted for another presidential candidate who is not Kikuyu. We believe that the elite Kikuyu with theire economic interests are currently holding this country at ransom and using the ordinary Kikuyu as a shield. The ordinary Kikuyu is dismayed at this narrative. They like any Kenyan are struggling to make ends meet. Some of the Kikuyu are somehow lucky to have owned chunks of the white highlands and through tea and coffee they have built some wealth. The proximity of the like of Kabete and Dagoretti to Nairobi CBD advantaged some Kikuyu. The proximity to city advantaged some of them to get into the urban hustle; they are the majority landlords for Nairobians. Some of them are children of Land Lords and seem to lead privileged lives in Nairobi. But why would anyone feel bad towards them just for being priviledged?

There is the ordinary Kikuyu who suffers and has suffered the throes of poverty like any other Kenyan. The colonialist unsettled many of them and the Kikuyu elites took over the shambas of the colonialists without considering original owners. Since independence, the land less Kikuyu had to find somewhere to settle. Wherever, they settled they have had to work hard and build a future for loved ones. Despite the genuine efforts, they walk around and feel like people with a mark on their foreheads. Many feel animosity started when Kibaki consolidated power around the so called Mount Kenya Mafia. However, what followed was victimization of every Kikuyu just because some elite somewhere was deemed unfair. In all this, the young Kikuyu hustling on the streets of Nairobi wonders how he is the problem to Kenya. Elites as usual want to exploit this scenario. Words like Kenyan Jews are easily used to incite the Kikuyu nation and emphasize the point that they are a targeted community. In order to survive as a community, they have to defend the status quo or regimes like the current one with their blood. They are haunted by the victim mentality and truly believe that if Raila were to be elected president of this nation, we are finished as a community. They have demonized the likes of Raila and believe Raila and Jaruos are very unruly people. They are lazy bums who want to reap where they have not sown. To survive, such hyenas should be anywhere but not near the seat of power.
As all these dynamics play out successfully, the opposition tosses with glee; they are keeping the government ruffled and have maintained their tribal constituencies intact. On the other side, the state and its leadership feel very angry given the opposition is disturbing their peace and interfering with what they are entitled to. Their sense of entitlement make them do whatever they want e.g. appointing senior officers of government from only two tribes. Some will want to quickly rebut this but that is petty denial; think of any senior position in government that was filled recently and tell me if it was not a Kikuyu or Kalenjin given the position. The impunity of “we are in government so shut up and wait for your turn” tears into the hearts that feel the last two elections were marred in electoral fraud. It also cements the feeling that unless our own is in power, we have to shut up and wait for morsels falling from the dining table.

Yes, we need a sober national dialogue. But beyond that dialogue, we need sober action from our leaders. If our leaders stop the victim narratives, Kenyan will begin to focus on issues affecting us as national issues and not tribal issues. If our leaders deliberately demonstrate they are keen to see an equitable Kenya, Kenyans will follow suit. If the rhetoric of our leaders will be in line with building our great Kenya, devoid of impunity, threats, gerrymandering and arrogance, Kenyans will be proud and a sense of national pride will grow. Slowly, self aggrandizement and related tribalism will be replaced with patriotism and ultimately humanism. As patriots we shall be proud of all Kenyans and as humanists we shall have compassion towards all humans and creation in general.


Saturday, 5 July 2014

AFTER SABA SABA, WHAT NEXT FOR RAILA?



Saba Saba is here with us and I doubt our leaders are interested in blinking; each of them is likely to put on the straight face and hold ground, of course as the ego dictates. Uhuru Kenyatta is doing well so far; by remaining silent and appearing to ignore he hopes to wear Raila out. Such an approach is described in social psychology as tanking. It simply means you put pressure on your opponent through inactivity or passive response.
Uhuru Kenyatta enjoys the privilege of state control and thus state bureaucracy gives him room for impunity. Raila has no option than to raise stakes and force those that enjoy state power to yield to his influence. From a purely power game point of view, Raila has done well so far; he has characteristically managed to raise the stakes. Uhuru may choose to ignore, but the stakes are too high, just a simple miss step and Kenya could be on the precipice again. All it takes is a simple rumor that what has been doing rounds on social media is actually being implemented. Imagine, what would happen in Kisumu if they got wind that actually their kin are being evicted from Naivasha. We hope that fear of ICC and reprisal will keep all of us sane, even as emotions boil.
Raila is doing what he does best, he is mapping his constituency. In 2005 it was the referendum that helped him map his political constituency. In the run up to 2013, the ICC provided ground for others to map territory and in countering he was able to map his territory. Moving towards 2017, Raila is again raising the stakes. In a high stakes game, herd mentality wins over any other rational consideration. The “us” against “them” syndrome is accentuated when stakes are high. When everyone is polarized, it is easy to indoctrinate to cultivate the hate and to get ultimate allegiance.
What are the likely scenarios? Scenario number one is both Uhuru and Raila become losers. In the most unlikely event, Kenya could go to the dogs again. How this Saba Saba thing is handled could in the unlikely event lead to civil unrest in Kenya. State control over much of Kenya is questionable. With oil and guns in the Wild Northwestern part of Kenya, I would not be surprised if a simple fracas leads to some level of anarchy in that area. In the North Eastern Part of the Country, local clans’ political stakes could also lead to anarchy in those areas given any excuse. At the Coast, Pwani Si Kenya was already declared. Jubilee government handling of land issues and recent imprisonment of Lamu Governor coupled by feelings of marginalization in the area are good enough excuses for anarchy incase of grand standing at the national level. Central is ready to defend their presidency to death and they do not shy away from war cries. Nyanza is always ready to prove that they are not a shove-over; imagine what would happen if say the Saba Saba Rally goes wrong and Raila is hurt? Western Kenya is peaceful but there are pockets of areas where any excuse is desired to lead to evictions. Rift Valley has the presidency and may want to protect it at all costs; however, local communities could easily turn on each other incase of anything going awry. Nairobi is always a battle ground and in this metropolis, we can only hope it does not get ugly.
The seconde scenario is Uhuru winning from the Saba Saba activities. The best scenario for Uhuru Kenyatta is if Raila get to have his Saba Saba Rally without any fracas. After the Rally, it will be Raila on the spot to demonstrate what his politicking has delivered for Kenyans and especially his supporters. Uhuru will have been handed a life-line and can blame all his failings on Raila’s distractions. Should there be chaos, on Saba Saba day, whether caused by Uhuru team or Raila teams, that are quickly contained, again Uhuru will be the winner. The line of Raila as a murderous and chaotic guy will be reinforced from such an outcome.
What is the best case scenario for Raila? For Raila, he could win by Uhuru, which is unlikely, choosing to settle for some form of dialogue. This will embolden Raila and his lieutenants in their demands. Raila could also gain if the rally goes through and the whole nation comes to a stand still. However, this would only be a gain if the after rally process is even more encouraging and promising for Raila supporters. What Raila hopes to gain is to create that wedge, where those not in government feel not just marginalized but agitated enough to want to stand up to the government and demand for their rightful place in the Kenyan society. This works in favor of Raila given it will have mapped out his opposition constituency going into 2017.
Raila stands to loose more than gain if the rally happens smoothly without disruption. Some supporters have the believe Raila can actually force Uhuru out of government. If the rally goes through and nothing changes, Raila supporters will be begin to question whether he still has any real strategies up his sleeve. Additionally, Kenyans are getting tired of empty politicking that leads to no transformation in livelihoods. If the rally goes through and Raila does not get to force some changes out of government, his supporters will sense an early 2017 defeat. The CORD house is likely to begin experiencing cracks as critics question party leadership tactics. Those in favor of Raila stepping down and supporting a new face are likely to be the winners. If such agitation causes a splinter in CORD, then JUBILEE will enjoy a 1st round win in 2017. But the break up of CORD could also spell doom for Jubilee given the ferocious power brokers will have found new Pons by which to raise power stakes.

Friday, 20 December 2013

A DOUBLE EDGED SWORD FOR WETANGULA

To our Senator! As you go to sleep with a smile on your mind, we join you in celebration. However, as good supporters, we will not let you sleep and just sleep. You fought a good fight in the by-election and now you have been handed a honorary sword; a double edged sword.

The sword handed to Wetangula glitters with pregnant expectations and high public enthusiasm. This is great and worthy celebrating but a few issues have to be written on a tablet and laid before our eyes daily as we chart the path to tomorrow

1. In the general election, many of us supported Wetangula simply because he was CORDED

2. In the by-election, Wetangula trashed Kombo because of good campaigns but largely due to the anti-jubilee sentiment

3. The Luhya nation wants a leader or coalition that will give them a rationally practical opportunity to be in government and enjoy the fruits of being in government

4. The Luhya nation has suffered enough from lack of singular direction as witnessed in the late political life of Wamalwa Kijana

5. The Luhya nation strongly desires a leader with charisma and dexterity to take on other national leaders in a way that Luhyas are not seen as a weaker political constituency

6. Wetangula was voted for in the by-election on grounds that he will bring home the bigger things Mudavadi and Eugine could not

Therefore, as Wetangula relishes the great win, the overwhelming support received, this is his greatest political trap. He has to die to himself and be reborn.... this means that he will have to forget himself and with all his passion, all that he has, seek to work in the interest of the populace.

Wetangula is in a fix because

1. Raila might be going for another jab at presidency in 2017 (Wetangula and other Luhya leaders in CORD have to work tooth and nail to prevent or prepare for such an eventuality)

2. Mudavadi and AMANI camp will either go for presidency or join with TNA or URP should Ruto Bolt out of Jubilee (Ruto bolting out at the end of term and seeking an alliance is highly likely, if he has hopes of becoming president of Kenya)

3. CORD may want Line Up to remain as it was in 2013; given Kalonzo Musyoka may not have practical chances away from an alliance with Raila and yet Luhyas expect one of their own on the presidential ballot
4.Mudavadi is now too bitter to consider working with Wetangula; ego battles

All in all, politics is dynamic and scenarios change every day. In the murky political waters, one can never rest but has to keep on scanning the horizon and laying down strategies and counter-strategies. Majority of voters in 2017 will be dot.com generation like me and digital generation like lads born in 1997 when I was in class 8 at the 'famous' Talitia primary school.To the dot-com or digital generations, telling them about heroics of Raila is like telling tales of Ludwig krapf. The stories are interesting and to some entertaining but they just do not mean anything tangibly moving. The dot.com and Digital generation want a dream, a vision or a big picture they can hook in. They want to visualize the great life a head of them and how politics would deliver that. So, Wetangula should not count on Raila brand remaining the big thing in Kenyan politics; save for political history classes.

Away from National Political Considerations, Mr. Senator, I hope you do not confuse things. It is the people of Bungoma County that have elected you and they want you to represent them. So far, they youth are crying that their voice has been neglected when it comes to county programs, county jobs and county strategies. The governor is great, and we still kind of trust he will surprise us. However, a lot remains to be desired. Therefore, do your national dance but just remember to always connect with the grassroots; your stronghold. Be a unifying figure rather than a divisive figure. Lest it happens again that Raila comes to drum up support for you from among your people rather than you being Raila's point man.


Thursday, 5 December 2013

Team Weta, Battle on Numbers in Home Stretch

I chose to support Deam Weda mpaka kwa Tepe in this by-election. This was informed by the realization that what the gods have ordained, it is not for man to Judge. Like him or hate him, the gods have conspired and it is Weda's (read Weta if you are not a bukusu like me), to reign supreme in Luhya land or at least in Bukusuland.

There are those, TeamMakali, who claim they need fresh blood. They are jilted in their beliefs because they do not appreciate reality as it is. In thinking, we should always be careful to reconcile the ideal with the real. This election was not for a first comer like Makali.

TeamKombo and sympathizers claim we should be in government, but they fail to demonstrate what we will get from government by voting in an old NFK senator. We have an NFK governor but we have not seen any surprises or anything to write home owing to that. They accuse Wetangula for tying us to a man who has killed Luhya unity and politics. These accusers  are not so well informed people  and they do not appreciate history. Our history is such that Bukusu's only support their leaders and to a large extent we have been supporting Kikuyus. We voted for Wamalwa in 1997, Wamalwa and Kibaki in 2002, Kibaki in 2007 and were split between Raila and Mudavadi in 2013. Moreover, we are currently tied to Raila because UHURUTO have made the Jubilee government a two tribe thronged government.

TeamWakoli and TeamKombo claim that Weta is a Raila Project. They claim he is responsible for the NFK governor being a non-starter. Among them, there are those who argue that Voting for Wetangula does not gurantee him of being on the presidential ballot in 2017 but is that not jumping the gun? It is funny that TeamWakoli could even dream of splitting the vote to deny Team Weta a win. Wakoli is just spoiling for himself any opportunity of getting back into elective politics by choosing to do Jubilee bidding; he joins the likes of Eugine and Mudavadi whose association with Uhuru has rendered them useless. We forget very easily what Raila has stood for and what many who value the status quo has always feared him for. We forget that Mudavadi, after being wasted by Moi, became a force in Luhya politics and national politics through association with Raila. We forget that Wetangula is now a man to reckon with due to his going into coalition with Raila. Therefore, Raila does not dimminish Luhya but rather he props them and they should blame themselves for not using given platform to higher political standing. As to whether Wetangula will achieve that, it is too early to judge. However, given he is our only option at the moment, shouldn't we give him a chance?

Therefore, as it stands,  Team Weta or Deam Weda has largely and logically so won the propaganda war. Weta is so strong that even with Lusaka supporting the Team Kombo, they still have no more hope than to garner about 40% of the vote come 19th December. Why do I believe that Kombo will only manage at most 40%? Kombo enjoys support in Webuye, Kimilili and Mt.Elgon and some minimal support from across the county. Mt. Elgon, many tend to assume is Sabaot only. Even as Kimili considers following their son Lusaka to support Kombo, there are some that will be wary of not being in the winning team. Webuye will be split due to Kombo's Record in the area. Even though we should expect Kombo to get some votes in Wetangula  strong holds, this will be minimal due to support given by sitting Mps in the area to Weta. For example, one would expect Weta to loose votes in Sirisia but due to local leaders supporting Weta, the losses will be minimal.

This win is awaiting Weta but as we move into homestretch, focus should be on by what margin. Team Weta has to focus on mobilization of people to vote. We have to come out and vote to the last man. This battle has to be won by the diligence of the foot soldiers. I suggest the adoption of a nyumba mia moja strategy. Let every Weta leaning MP have clear targets. Let every Weta leaning MCA have targets. Let every MCA subdivide his region and usual political brokers  from villages be assigned an area of accountability and targets. Let the brokers at each polling station be assigned responsibility and be held responsible for given targets agreed upon through consultations with them. If this is carried out well in the final stretch, the turn out may just exceed the general election turn out and we shall have given our man Weda, an unequivocal mandate. Whatsoever he does with that, we shall be waiting........ and in the sidelines, Team Makali can be laying down strategies for a real political duel for senator-ship in 2017. I also think Juma wa Mukhwana would have some practical chance if he gave the possibility of becoming our governor in 2017 some consideration.