WIZI USIOKUA WA KIMABAVU
In my sophomore year in campus, there rose a candidate for the post of secretary general. He hailed from the slopes of Mount Elgon, as he liked to put it in his introduction. He was a very charismatic orator; top notch camaraderie that embellished his demeanor. He was like those ‘karata’ guys at the market corner. He had wedged himself into the hearts of the students. He knew what our ears craved for; the desires of our hearts. Cometh the hour cometh the man.
I remember one point in his manifesto was to legalize cooking in the hostels— which he did. On his swearing-in ceremony he asked the VC to allow the students cook from the hostel. Every student was on his feet, clapping and whistling in celebration. After his term, I met him with a couple of comrades. He would explain his knowledge that the cooking bill would not even make the second reading in parliament. But it’s what we wanted to hear.
I voted for the guy. I can’t and I don’t want to remember the reason why, but you can guess. I don’t even recall whom his closest rival was, neither his achievements. He won the hearts of many.
Politics makes people go into oblivion. Both the politicians and the voters. Voters dive in first, forgetting themselves. They disregard religion, values, ethics, economics or anything that conforms to reality. The politicians follow, forgetting every promise they made. Let me draw the picture for you.
Guy comes and makes a romantic promise for his first week in office as SG— to ensure a damage fee charged after a strike would be refunded, terming the fee as 'wizi usiokua wa kimabavu’— failure to which he would resign. I must have first been struggling with getting water to shower in his first week in office. I wasn’t mentally available to keep tabs on his success or resignation.
It reminds me of yet another small scale game played in the matatu industry.
Am waiting at the clayworks bus stop (sorry for those who haven’t stepped on the 32B carpet) with a fine fille. She won’t let me go,
“Naenda na gari next by the way” I tell her
“Gari haziishi…” she retorts.
I don’t know why people say less or remain silent when you meet and seem to have endless discussions as you leave.
A mathree heading to Tharaka Nithi (I presume) makes a stop. The guy comes over and asks the rhetoric “mnaenda?” He charges a hundred to Kenol, the Njuguna in me tells him 80 bob to which he agrees. I hug my missy goodbye and get aboard the Ameru Sacco. After he has given me a long enough ride, the tout asks for my fare. I hand him a hundred shillings note. I have done my calculation, get to kenol buy credit with the 20 bob balance and call my missy saying am home and dry.
We get to kenol, the tout is the first to alight. He rushes towards some potential passenger who turns out to be comfortable walking. I approach him after finding myself in limbo.
“Boss! Change yangu”
“Kijanaa pesa yako iliiisha kitambo” He says.
“Si ulisema ni 80 bob” I ask in surprise
“Nimekuambia pesa yako imeisha babaa”
I won’t confront a tout about twenty shillings because of my ego, and plus he’s not my size, rather am not his size. In my head am bothered because amenibeba wana after alighting (hope you got that pun). I start wishing I was Bruce Lee. But am a slim guy and am also the only chance I got. So my chances are very slim (another pun). I give up over half a kilometer from the bus stop. Wizi usiokua wa kimabavu!
To be honest, I have been avoiding this political topic for long. I felt Maina Wa Muturi was the guy best suited to delve into the topic. It comes with unbridled hatred and travesty of any sober school of thought.
Fast forward. I feel and I know I have been cheated. I have also cheated myself. It’s barely two weeks after the Supreme Court made a ruling on the presidential election. I have no problem with the ruling and at this point I don’t intend to find any at all. Am doing just fine. I will wait for the culmination of 21 days, read the full ruling and satiate my thirst for knowledge; the proverb, ignorance is bliss, is a cast of aspersions.
I have always restrained myself from making commentaries on social media about politics especially at such times. What do I know? I know people will quote the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Rosa parks and Malcom X. I admire these people. In fact, next in line I have Conversations with Myself after Rogue Lawyer. We all don’t have to be political activists. I hate to be wrong where am supposed to right and right where am supposed to be wrong. I will say I have been robbed. Robbed of opinion, joy, peace, friends, dignity and perpetuity.
A week ago I had a side, I felt I had a right to have a side and stand for my side. One is either in NASA or Jubilee. There are those sitting on the fence sipping a sundowner or smoking Cubans. My best friend voted from across the divide but that didn’t break us. We mocked each other for our side’s losses and wins for fun; no gloating. We laugh and take our political stance to be a personal choice which should be respected. In that same week I felt my side was right, I had a right to be on that side but gradually that right has diminished. That side, all sides have made me relinquish my right to have a right to have a side.
Whenever you stand to speak, people want to know which side you are speaking for — even when the topic lacks a political affiliation. Truth has become a matter of whom is telling it. If they are not from our side, then they are lying. We have become gullible, not being able to tell that politicians are giving us their opinions which we take to be facts. Juliani says ‘ukitaka kakitu utapata kakitu, ukitaka ka tshirt utapata ka tshirt, vote wisely’. Politicians work with PR firms— we bring knives to a gun fight, they are trained on what to say in order to win and if they lose then you know what happened in Kajiado before the elections. They don’t want an opinion quoted as a fact. They are political opportunists. Even clergy men have come out with their opinions and facts because they also want to be quoted as politically right. Am tired of the mtu wetu syndrome. An attack on Maraga is an attack on Kisiis, a statement by Moses Kuria shows the stand taken by Gikuyus. Right now, it’s no longer about the citizens or the manifesto. It is a matter of ‘let us beat the other side then we can decide what to do next’.
Five years we will continue kuvumilia crying serikali saidia. Sirisia MP, John Waluke admitted to taking bribes. Again Juliani said, ‘complain ufisadi, kwani ulidhani tshirt, 50 bob, leso siku ya campaign ilikua free. Ni five year loan investment utalipa akiingia parliament’
I can’t talk politics with a Kamba or a Kisii friend because Uhuru said something and they think I support it. Biasness has corrupted our souls, one can’t even make a joke. There is no cake to eat, leave alone having it.
It’s tiring coming home to find the same cliché on the television. Political gerrymandering, the pot calling the kettle black, Us Vs Them, passing the buck. I wouldn’t even say I have seen any top notch journalism in our local reporters and anchors. Watch CNN and Al Jazeera or ask CS Amina Mohammed how that interview with Mehdi Hasan felt like. Then you will realize our journalists are innocuous— a storm in a cup of tea. All TV interviews have a happy ending.
Am not sure am for a side. Am not even on the fence. Maybe UN should vet me because I want to observe from the stands till my opinion, joy, peace, friends, dignity and perpetuity are restored. The war is between two chameleons which have changed color am not even sure which was first mine.