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Trading in futures is Kenya's politics new style

By Gerald Kithinji | Published Thu, April 20th 2017 at 08:50, Updated April 20th 2017 at 08:51 GMT +3

We have all witnessed the phenomenon. Politicians are trading in futures.

They are telling us now that they will be gunning for even greater offices later in the hope that we will re-elect them in the coming elections.

This diversionary tactic is likely to work in one or two cases.

In the majority of cases, the electorate will have sensed the lie and will hold the affected politicians to account.

It is good to be ambitious and to let people know the extent of your ambition. That way, those who want to run in your shadow can start off early.

Those who wish to have nothing to do with it will equally start early in the opposite direction.

But I think it is better to let your deeds do the advertising.

At the opportune moment a whispered word or two will suffice.

Your reputation will have preceded you.

Drums of war

If it were the candidates with a good reputation telegraphing their intention to run in 2022, it would not raise any eyebrows or provoke a backlash.

But now it seems like more of the leaders who are doing not so well in their current dockets are the ones beating the future drums of war now.

A lion cub does not does announce that it will be the future Lion King lest it be marked or eliminated by the many contenders that are there, including a good number that are stronger than the cub.

Many years ago, no leader would come out to announce that they were interested in any high office.

They just did their best in the roles they played. It was the public that presented or proposed the name of their representative to authority.

They knew their leaders and where convergence of opinion led, that was the man or woman they rallied behind.

I remember local leaders waylaying Bernard Mate and later Mr Njue and demanding that they stand for Parliament.

In 1965, they sent a delegation to Kilimambogo Teachers College where Bernard Mate was teaching and demanded that he take a sabbatical.

They paid all dues and campaigned for him and ensured that he won the Meru Central seat.

In the early 1980s, the leaders from Meru South bought Njue a new suit and shoes and tie and paid the fee that was needed for registration.

They supplied a Land Rover and campaigned for him and he won by a landslide.

Marketing oneself

I have heard it said that many a great leader were reluctant to promote themselves as the future leaders of the people.

That is now totally anathema and unacceptable. Leaders have to blow their trumpet, not once, not twice, but as long as they harbour that ambition to lead.

And if the people act deaf first time, the ambitious leader must buy some more and newer and louder trumpets and blow them even more persistently. We have made a huge transition.

Politicians no longer have to rely on their standing in society.

The society has to rely on the politicians’ telegraphed future importance.

The people must never sleep a wink but must be constantly bombarded with appeals and reminders of the candidate’s sacrifices in the recent and not so recent past.

No mention may be made of their past blunders.

Indeed, the people have to be encouraged (even with envelopes of various sizes and bulges) to selectively remember the past, obliterating any negative deeds and magnifying certain heroic deeds of the candidate.

No other candidate (they will be reminded) ever surpassed this future candidate of higher office, especially in the area of sacrificing for the people.

That mantra must be the daily anthem for the people for, indeed, without that candidate’s sole sacrifice nothing would have been accomplished.

These are the futuristic leaders that we have. Embrace them. Or reject them. But remember they will not just walk away.

They are not like that. They will constantly (even irritatingly) remind you of their sacrifice.

And if you are unconvinced, they might even unleash more verbal weaponry (often laced with a hint of intimidation) to alter that equation.

 Mr Kithinji comments on social issues


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