Do you know how much a presidential campaign costs? Not the actual amount but a rough figure? A round number that you can use to put things into perspective. No? Well it costs about 1.5 billion shillings. Not one, but 1.5 Billion. That is around nine zeros after the 2 with three commas. That’s how much that money is. It needs 3 pauses just so you can say it one breath. That is a whole lot of money. This was in 2007. Can you imagine with inflation and interest rates just how much this figure has gone up in ten years? You cannot even imagine what you can do with that kind of cheddar. Your dream car? Buy three. Then buy a Nakumatt branch just to park them in. All in different colors. Just for the sake of it. Your dream house? Buy 3 of them. One for each city in Kenya. Designer clothes? You never have to wear the same clothes ever again. Forget your favorite t-shirt. Forget your favorite jeans. Ladies; forget your favorite bra. In fact forget bras. You can get an uplift every time they begin to sag. That is just some of the luxuries 1.5 billion shillings can buy you. I cannot make this shit up.
So when I log onto (is it onto or into?) social media and see these chaps yapping about their favorite candidate it gets to me. These chaps that have gone a step into changing their profile pictures with bold and profound statements claiming their support for a particular candidate. It makes me wonder. What goes through their minds when they make that decision? At what point in waking up do they decide “you know what let me shout my support from the roof tops”. Is it when they are making tea with overpriced milk? Or when they are painfully adding two scoops of sugar that cost as much as 23 grams of cocaine? Or is it when they are buying prepaid units to facilitate their hot bath in the morning? Or maybe it is when they are standing at the roadside waiting for a bus that is at least 20 shillings cheaper because overnight fuel process went up and with them up went fares. Or is it when they are coming home in the evening and can’t find a single packet of flour for their evening meal? I don’t know. Explain to me like a 2 year old kid. Actually no. Explain it to me like you want to ask for my hand in marriage at a chicken joint along Moi Avenue. Please.
Recently we were treated to a spectacle. A development project that supposedly cost almost the same as a presidential campaign collapsed. Literally. It was a bridge that did not look like its book value. Word on the windmill is the figures were peppered, put in a fridge, marinated for 24 hours and then cooked. We have had a lot of this happening lately. Cooked figures. But what is more sickening, in my opinion is the blame being thrown around. Leaders, no fuck that, politicians are busy throwing blame around. Everyone has been showing their teeth coming for their pound of flesh. The blame goes round in circles. No one accepting responsibility. And soon enough the whole fiasco will be forgotten and will be water under a (fallen?) bridge. You know who suffers? You. Yes you. Regardless of what presidential candidate you were so vocal about on social media. No matter who you thought was to blame. You will end up being the victim. You always end up being the victim. I mean unless your candidate has one of his six maybe twelve choppers at hand for you and your whims. You lose.
Look, I am not saying you should not be incensed that public coffers have been raided and invested in shoddy projects for the sake of reelection. In fact you should be livid. So livid that you ask your preferred candidate what next. After the name calling. After the blame game. What next? The bridge has already fallen. That is a fact. Clear as day. What will they do so that future bridges will not continue falling? Can they tell you? Can they prove it? After al a successful career in politics and leadership is a track record. If they cannot back up their claims shout NEXT. Move on to the next person. You do not owe anyone your loyalty. They owe you their loyalty.
I do not like how this whole election period has degenerated into something from the medieval period. I do not understand how politicians despite the drought we’ve been facing can afford to sling mud at each other. It is quite clear where their interests lie. And it is not you.
Look again. Look at the social media you are so fanatically using to sing praises and throw shade at candidates. The same timeline is punctuated with pleas of help from people dying of different ailments. People that whose bodies betrayed them and then had the government betray them as well. A government that promised healthcare for all. It just looked at them, maybe with disdain, and dipped into their coffers even deeper and came out with a chunk load of money and laughed at their faces. You will blame the government and we will support you. But back to basics; what is a government? Wikipedia says it is a system by which policy is enforced. You know who is in government? I bet you do. It is not just the president it is the opposition as well. So when you see baby x or lady y asking for funds from a pay bill number and you quickly turn to condemn the government condemn all of them. Condemn that Member of Parliament that sits in a cushioned chair all day for nothing more than to earn an allowance. Condemn the vocal opposition leader that did nothing but make noise. Noise they will leverage on to get your votes the next time they run.
Or do you believe them when they too said they could do nothing? When we have a judiciary and a legislature in place? Forget the executive for now. That is the arm they claim has been overrun by the cancer of corruption. An arm they have the power to cut but up till now have done nothing. This is the same person you will pledge your support for? A person who claims that by being in power (the irony since they are elected) will bring change. What change exactly will they bring? Open your eyes. Do not be an affiliate of rumor mongering, propaganda and side shows. Put your guy on the spot. Do not read through the manifesto and be happy that it covers what it should. Even a bikini covers what it should but you will not see anyone wear it during winter.
All these guys have given us is a toxic relationship. Abusive at the least. We need to break up with them. The whole lot. Even the so called promisers of change. Their track records show nothing in the effect of change just switched alliances and changed interests. Do not be a party whore. Evaluate individual capacities. We’d rather have a cocktail government of people willing to work than cock blocking parties out to safe guard their own interests. Of opposition leaders that use (mis)information to hold us at ransom for our votes.
As much as you support them so they support you?
Disclaimer: These are my opinions. Should you feel the need to air yours rinse them of political affiliations, fanaticism, and sycophancy. Then make sure the grey matter between your ears functions optimally. Then bring it on.