Last week, was an important week for Kenyans and it seems the whole world was waiting with bated breath to see how events would unfold. Like every other Kenyan, I was caught up in the election hysteria and drama, but I also must say that my heart was in London with our athletes with their indomitable spirits that reside in their fine bodies. For those who have been following the IAAF World Championships in London, you will confess that the games have had their fair share of disappointments.
So, here are a few lessons from the championships that our election winners and losers can use going forward.
Always deliver the show
There has never been an athlete quite like Usain Bolt and I doubt there will another one like him for long time.
The man not only fills stadia, he sets them aflame with his presence, his antics and funny faces that go beyond his 10 seconds run. Let’s face it, Bolt when compared to other sprinter is not exactly the perfect eye candy- he is a bit too tall and heavy and I personally find his facial hair looking a bit too rough (it looks like it would scrub and shine a Sufuria).
Yet, we overlook all this when he waves his magic over the stadium, so much so that somehow the crowd was willing to forgive the fact that he lost his most important race in London.
Hallowed and hallow
Any politician wishing to stand out in the very crowded Kenyan crowd must borrow a leaf from the Usain Bolt handbook.
He or she must quickly learn the art of grand appearances- that go beyond and above the oft-misused grand chopper utterances. He must deliver in terms of oratory by being a bit more comical than Wakoli without sounding too sodden with eloquence like PLO. If all these fail, then murky, ugly controversy is bound to do the trick. For a politician to make his or her mark, the show must go on.
Once a villain, always a villain.
I have a soft spot for Justin Gatlin the new world 100m champion mainly because he is dark, has a good body and he is greying well. I also like the fact that he has been trying to overcome his doping tainted image.
Therefore, I was happy when he dethroned Bolt in London. From the sound and look of things, I was clearly in the minority since the whole stadium and most of the world found it fit to boo Gatlin instead of salute his achievement. Very few people wanted to give him some credit for overcoming his own demons, his shaky self–confidence to make another stab at being a champion. This same self-righteous human behaviour also applies in politics.
Some freshly minted politicians are now basking in the glow of public adulation and so they think that we mere mortals have forgotten their sins. They have shaken enough hands that they imagine that we have forgotten the grease that lurks beneath their shin. Woe unto those who imagine that now that they have become honourable, they have become hallowed and hallow.
They must forget that their enemies and even the public that claims to adore them will use their sins to bring them down at the right time. So there is no need to try and position yourself as a saint, accept and embrace your villain status. That way no one will be shocked when your inevitable ugly side comes up. Trust me , no one even your mother believes you when you say, “I have turned a new leaf.
Know when to call it a day
We all love Ezekiel Kemboi, he has done us proud over the years and we have even forgiven his rather scandalous transgressions along the way. Somehow he mysteriously found himself in the 3000m steeplechase final in London as he hoped for one last go at glory.
His performance was so lacklustre; it was not even worth noting. Now instead of having the halo of respect that comes with retiring at the right time, he now appears like an ageing rock star. The world of athletics is a bit more efficient and brutal in terms of weeding out athletes who are now past their expiry date. The political field can be deceptive and that is why a number of fossilised politicians still took the gamble and tried to compete younger and more energetic politicians. Of course the signs that one needs to call it a day are always there and thanks to the media they are always available on camera.
Any politician who gets caught too often dozing in public, or who struggles to get up after the chini kwa chini dances or whose speech tends to get a bit too blurry needs to review their retirement date.
Yes there are times the spirit ( fuelled by adoring fans) might be willing, but once the body starts getting weak, then you need to call it a day, pronto!
The end result was embarrassment and humiliation in their sunset years thus emphasising the need for one to know the right time to quit.
Be camera and media ready
Faith Kipyegon ticks all the boxes when it comes to athletics. She has been bagging all the right awards in the 1500m women and was just going to London to try and capture the only one missing from her cabinet. She was resilient in her running and delivered one of the best races of the championship.
The best part though is that she is a good-looking girl, her hair looked good (not those nasty braids some athletes usually have on), her nails were well done and she knew how to pose for the cameras. It is not enough for one to win in politics, one must also make it look good and effortless. The politicians who will stand out will be those who like Faith Kipyegon, will display resilience and will be perfectly coiffed and media ready all the time. This means have the right look and sound bite to complement the new found status.
So let us see what the next chapter unveils – now that both the elections and IAAF World Championships are over.