Sunday, December 23, 2007

Electioneering and Corruption ....

Now I’ve got a bit of ‘food for thought’ for all you chaps and chapesses out there.

To give you a bit of background – we have 3 main contenders vying for the Presidency of Kenya right now. There’s Mwai Kibaki – current president – political party PNU, whose slogan is “Kazi Iendelee”, which basically means “The work continues”. Then we have Raila Odinga – political party ODM (Orange Democratic Movement) whose slogan is “Raila Tosha”, which basically translates as ‘Raila, That’s it’ or ‘Raila is enough’, and whose party is symbolised by one orange. He’s a fellow who used to be in the same party as Kibaki and played a very significant part in getting Kibaki elected 5 years ago but got himself fired from government a while back for going against the president in some issue or other. Then finally we have Kalonzo Musyoka – a very well educated, well spoken fellow who used to be in the same party as Raila but they parted company when they couldn’t agree on who should vie for the top job so he’s now the ODM Kenya party symbolised by one and a half oranges and hasn’t got much hope of getting in as according to the polls, his rating stands somewhere round the 10% mark so he’s not really being counted by the masses as much of a contender.

We’ve got serious campaigning going down with the run up to elections on the 27th December and in our “honest” see through electioneering that we have around here, basically there is a lot of cash changing hands.

You can get paid as part of ‘rent a crowd’ at any campaign rally, which is great for all those out of work slum dwellers who generally have nothing to their name – they rush from rally to rally picking up cash and a new wardrobe of whichever party nominees t-shirt they may be handing out, plus a bunch of posters they can use as wallpaper in their shacks – so it’s quite a worthwhile job really, (although sadly after the 27th it won’t last, and the rich will keep their money, and the poor will continue to be incredibly poor.)

The other way of making yourself some money is to turn up on election day for a bit of a vote where they will be loads of goons hanging around every polling station, handing out money to get you to vote for their party.

Talking to a bunch of people today – not your wealthy ‘drive cars and live in nice houses’ types but general ‘wanainchi’ – which are your everyday fellows – bit of a job, (if they’re lucky), probably a room goes with it and they earn around 8 to 10 thousand shillings a month – which is somewhere between 70 to 90 Euros. Anyway I wanted to know the general opinion with regards to how they think the election may go as according to the pollsters it's a very tight race between the top two. Turns out most of them are on Raila’s side as they think he’s the ‘Robin Hood’ type and will be the best for all those on the poverty line (and very much below it). There’s a few that say they would rather Kibaki keeps going for another 5 years and continues with whatever work he has started, because no matter how much we wish to complain about the current president, there is no doubt that he has done quite a lot of good for this country – he could have done a hell of a lot more that’s for sure, but at least he has made some few beneficial changes.

The argument between the two (as Kalonzo seems not to feature in their books), is that Kibaki is a Kikuyu and being the largest tribe in Kenya is seen as holding all the money for himself and his fellow Kikuyu’s and for that reason is creating tribalism. Raila, on the other hand, has been rushing round making friends with all the different tribes (and seeing as we have 52 different tribes in this country, it is probably a very wise strategy) and he has already slotted a few of them into his clique – known as the ‘Pentagon’ and is promising to install them all into prominent parliamentary positions.

I can understand how this distinction has come about between the two of them, but I’m not sure that it’s entirely true and here’s the dilemma …….

A lot of the fellows I spoke to say they are god fearing Christians and for that reason they will not take the cash to vote for someone that they have no wish to have in parliament.

But what I say is ‘Why not take the cash – see it as a Christmas gift – then go and vote for whoever you believe in.’
– Is that wrong when you have nothing and people are willing to hand over bank notes even though they cannot follow you into the polling booth and see who you really stick your cross by? Would you still call that corruption or just a case of taking from the rich if they’re so intent on handing it out anyway??

Now, there’s some food for thought wouldn’t you say!


Gorilla Bananas said...

If they take the cash, they'd have to lie to the people handing it out. I thought Christians weren't allowed to lie. Or was that Superman?


Ah but surely if you just say 'Thanks for the cash' and do not mention whether or not you will vote for the one handing over the dough or not, you are not actually lying but perhaps not quite telling the whole truth?
- do you think that counts or are we going to have to get Superman in to adjudicate this one?

Gorilla Bananas said...

It might be OK if they said "Thank you for this gift" on taking the cash. If the person handing it out then said "It's not a gift, it's a bribe", they'd have to hand it back.

Anyway, these God-fearing Christians should get into the car maintenance and repair business. A garage that charges honest fees would be swamped with customers.


You're probably right Mr Bananas so best take the cash and run before anyone speaks to you I reckon is the key!
Do i detect that you have had some few issues with some dodgy mechanics there hon? Give me a call - I'll put you in touch with some great 'jua kali' guys our end who have decent rates and .. if you're lucky even fix the car!
Hope you're having a fab Christmas X