Tag Archives: Kenyan voter

The Wanjiku Phenomenon

The Member of County Assembly (MCA) post has attracted a huge amount of aspirants and it is proving to be the most fatal of seats one can go for in the 2017 General Election.

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This is surprising given that according to the Kenyan constitution the MCA seat is practically that of a diligent public-spirited person in a ward who basically acts as a linkage between the public and county government.

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However the perks which include a salary in the neighborhood of half a million shilling, a potential to hold a governor at ransom and the possibility of running the unconstitutional ward development fund has brought out the savage and greed in Kenyans.

An MCA ticket is seemingly a chance to get a lot of money for doing basically nothing.

This captures the essence of a Kenyan’s quest for public office.

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This post is inspired by a conversation between radio presenters Nderitu Waihura and Professor Ngugi wa Njoroge on their show Gukera on Inooro FM on the night of May 22 2017.

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Nderitu began the show by alluding to a conversation that had taken place earlier on Inooro TV’s show Kimuri which he co-hosts with Michael Njenga. The show had included former and aspiring MPs among them Lewis Nguyai, a former MP for Kikuyu. The show had focused on the life of an MP in relation to a Kenyan voter.

Nguyai had stated that given his Kikuyu constituency was near, when he was an MP he would be in his constituency office 4 times a week and every time he would be there he would be forced to give voters forty thousand which would translate to one hundred and sixty thousand a week and then to six hundred and forty thousand a month. At times this would see him take home only twenty thousand a month from his salary.

Another former MP Jeremaih Kioni stated that he often adviced young people getting into politics and intent on staying on the straight and narrow that they surely had found a sure route to poverty.

Based on these politicians’ comments, the two hosts began dissecting the Kenyan voter: ‘Wanjiku’.

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It appears that Wanjiku does not care about a leader who provides an oversight role on the government, does not care about a leader who passes good laws or a leader who is honest and stays on the straight and narrow.

Wanjiku’s view on leadership is money. Following towards her. Why does Wanjiku presume that a leader is an ATM bank? Why does Wanjiku presume that a leader gets into leadership for their own enrichment and thus they should milk the leader dry before voting for them? How is it that a leader is expected to pay maternity fees, funeral costs, school fees, etc? Who even knows why exactly does Wanjiku vote? Who benefits from Wanjiku’s uninformed voting?

We are currently on the eleventh parliament and from the first parliament voters have been conditioned or have conditioned themselves that a leader is as good as the money they give and imagine the damage done over the years.

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Professor Njoroge then gave a story of a donkey. The donkey was tethered and well-fed and a lion was salivating at the donkey. The lion then sent a hare to tell the donkey how much he loved her and wanted to be with her. The donkey despite knowing the perils of a lion agreed to be wooed. Once the donkey was in the lion’s den the lion went for the donkey’s neck but somehow the donkey managed to run away. So the lion once again sent the hare to tell the donkey that the lion was not seeking to bite the neck but rather it wanted to hug the donkey due to love. The donkey bought the story and returned to the lion’s den and shortly thereafter the lion tore it apart. The hare which was present then ate the heart and the liver which are soft and sweet. Once the lion had struggled with the tough donkey’s meat it sought to eat the soft heart and liver but found they were missing. Upon asking the hare, the hare said that the donkey had not had a heart or a brain because if it did there was no way it would have accepted to go back to the lion’s den.

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The two contended that Wanjiku like the donkey was quite stupid and every five years accepted the lies on offer from both sides of the political divide and every five years was lied to without fail but still went back for the lies.

A case in point is the maize story. The opposition had made it a campaign tool not because they cared for Wanjiku but because it would help them push their vehicle to Statehouse.  As for the government their solution to the maize puzzle was not to ensure that Wanjiku had affordable food and to ensure that it would not happen again but rather to mint money and to deflate the opposition’s momentum.

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Currently there was no 90 bob maize available on the shelf but that was not what Wanjiku cared for. Wanjiku was more interested in if their MCA, MP, Govenor, Presidential candidate had submitted their papers to the IEBC, whether or not independent candidates were good or bad and other political issues of the day. For both Jubilee and NASA Wanjiku’s their hunger can be seemingly be postponed until after elections.

Clearly Wanjiku is deserving of a PhD thesis as a phenomena.

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The two also spoke of how right now ‘everyone’ knows that for you to get public office all you need is money, it does not matter where you got the money from. Once you have acquired money from legal or illegal means then no one can touch you, you can hire lawyers to frustrate the legal system and Wanjiku will cheer you and brand you a hero or heroine for being the ‘true Kenyan’ who is a hustler.

Then Nderitu, sought to look at Wanjiku away from the political prism: Wanjiku in a matatu.

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When Wanjiku is in a matatu in the morning or in the evening they are a cheering squad to a bad matatu driver. They are very happy when the matatu driver breaks all laws and gets them from point A to B in shortest time possible. However, if Wanjiku is driving then they are very much against matatus and they see how reckless and law-breaking matatus are.

From the perspective of Wanjiku in a matatu and away from matatu clearly Wanjiku is her leaders and her leaders are Wanjiku.  Everyone is seeking for their chance to eat and they only complain about eating when they are not doing the eating.

Little wonder President Uhuru Kenyatta famously once asked…”sasa mnataka ni fanye nini jameni?”

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At the end of the conversation the agreement was that the value system in Kenya is broken but no one has any idea how to fix it.

Therefore we shall keep performing democracy every five years but never addressing our root problem.

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Food for thought…

GOD BLESS KENYA.

There is a perception that vernacular radio do more harm than good by just blowing the trumpet for the tribal lords but seemingly sometimes they also pause and smell the coffee.

A lovely touch was playing Eric Wainaina’s Nchi ya watu wadogo song as well as in the famous quotes segment playing a timely sound bite of Tanzania’s First President Julius Nyerere.

PS: All images courtesy of Google.

 

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