in

Will the real politicians stand up?

At the time of writing this piece, I am not feeling actual
cabin fever yet – I’ve been to a few yoga classes down the road (my
irrepressible yoga buddy Segeni even declared a ‘YogaYa34a’ session), and the
doggirl needed walkies around the neighbourhood because she can’t read. It’s an
odd mood: one of the Facebook friends described it as ‘Christmas with anxiety’,
which I found quite accurate. At the time of writing, I also anticipate Mr
Kenyatta to be the next president, as had been my forecast all along.

Typically, politicians around here go into elected office
for private enrichment – or, in the rare case that they didn’t and still won (a
bit of a unicorn to start with), align themselves with that motive quite
quickly once they realise that resisting the offers for enrichment might not
actually work out so well for their health and well being.

So being re-elected has, obviously, the benefit of continued
access. Except there’s also the drawback of continued homework, at least in
principle: That interest rate cap and the resultant collapse in lending to the
private sector? Well, it’s of your own making. The surge in public debt is also
still there, as are the grudges in the healthcare and education sector. A
famine that should have never happened .Yes, the big infrastructure projects
are mostly still there. Maybe not that bridge that fell apart, but the others.
But these also set new standards in eating (precisely why others wanted in,
too). Still: The good – great! – thing about Kenya is that the country has so
much inherent resilience and hustle, probably from not having relied on donors
to the same extent as a lot of other countries in the region, that it will always
come out alive and kicking. Twisted, unequal, often hard – but alive and also
kicking.

What I’m wondering: How many of the parties in that
ridiculous profusion of parties, and any of the people who rocked up with grand
promises and a garbage-load of posters, will actually move beyond their
access-to-the-trough objectives? I find that profusion of parties still
worrying, and the silly number of independent candidates just as much: there is
now even less pressure or incentive to coalesce around issues. When it comes to
issues, none of even the current larger parties (and their existence, too, may
be relatively fleeting, until the next election) has researched, thought-out
policy positions. Copy-pasted manifestos aren’t policies. I would love to see
Boniface Mwangi and likeminded contestants build a proper party around issues,
challenge the government on issues, develop organisational strength and
governance despite their loss – and then try again. Something will have to give
eventually, no?

Sofapaka ambitious

Kenyans fall victim to fake news on violence