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Kajiado Central by-election loss a good lesson for Jubilee

By Alexander Chagema | March 21st 2015

I vaguely recall reading the story of a man serving a jail term for a crime he did not commit. No amount of pleas, not even a credible alibi could exonerate him.

While behind bars, his wife wrote him a letter detailing the difficulties occasioned by his absence, but of greater concern was the need to till their land for the planting season.

Despondent, but having had time to reflect on his predicament, he saw the opportunity to have his revenge. In reply, he asks the wife to be a little patient because he had buried the ‘stolen’ money in the garden.

Prison authorities opened the letter before dispatching it and believed they had cracked the case. The next morning, policemen arrived at the man’s home armed with hoes and went to work looking for the loot. A few days later, the garden was fully tilled at no cost, but no money was found.

The lesson; most people, institutions and governments do not think through things before acting, they are conditioned to react mechanically. This brings me to Kajiado Central where, to paraphrase Karl Marx, the oppressed were allowed to decide which particular representative of the oppressing class was to represent and repress them.

It was presumptuous of the Jubilee government to contend the Masaai community would reward it with the Kajiado Central parliamentary seat in the just concluded by election on the basis of confirming chiefs in appointment and a ministerial appointment of a resident from the constituency. High powered campaigns from the government side achieved zilch.

Three people were arrested with bags of money allegedly bribing voters and since many of us have heard Raila Odinga’s detractors deride him as being mean and stingy, it is not hard to guess the source. After the anti-Narok Governor demonstration debacle in which one person was fatally shot, Jubilee lost the plot, and had it listened to the voices of the irate Masaai’s, it would have realised it was courting embarrassment and changed tact. When you have the likes of National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, notorious for rubbing people the wrong way and Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi ‘Sonko’ who believes money can do anything spearhead a campaign, my take is that you have a guaranteed losing combination.

On reading news that Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria partly blames Jubilee’s failure on not having been part of the campaign team, I lost a giant yawn to a grin.

The people Jubilee was dealing with in Kajiado are not just any Kenyan tribe; they are the Masaais. These are proud people with an affinity for their culture. They have managed to strike a perfect balance between culture and modernity but maintained their unique identity. Their culture enables them to function as a cohesive and orderly unit; the elder’s opinions are valued and often adhered to. Sometimes back, it was the wrangles inside URP that gave the Masaai’s second thoughts about blind allegiance to government.

The people of Kajiado have had time to listen to their elected leaders articulate the injustices the Jubilee administration had subjected them to despite their overwhelming support for it in 2013. The intrigues of hurt pride might also have had a hand in Elijah Memusi’s win. Whereas William ole Ntimama had warmed up to Jubilee sometimes back, the party gave him the cold shoulder. Luckily, he had not overtly burnt his bridges with ODM and when he showed his bias for the ODM’s candidate, his choice was as good as an order.

I was tickled to no end when the gallant warriors gave Sonko marching orders. The Masaai’s have a lesson for other communities; don’t let seed money and false promises cloud your perceptions lest you get saddled with unpopular leaders. They have shown that in unity and purpose, we can always achieve our goals. Kenyans can come together and demand their rights from the government if they refuse to be misled by false promises.

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