She lost elections again...and thinks it was rigged

For the past two years, Pudd’ng has stood for elective posts in her school but to no avail. Each time she loses, like the little local politician that she’s morphing into, she gives me a litany of excuses and complaints. One time, she swore that the election was rigged.

But I give baby girl one thing; she is the never-say-die type. She gets up, dusts herself and throws her hat in the ring.  

This term, once again, baby girl stood for an elective position. Like many other institutions that are seeking to inculcate the culture of democracy in the student body, their school has moved away from the habit of teachers having the sole prerogative of choosing prefects and other student representatives.

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Teachable moments

In many matters – good, bad, to downright ugly – our children learn from us. We may not know that we are modelling behaviours, until, if it is something bad or ugly, it is too late.

General Election and, generally, politics usually bring out our true colours. And, try as we can to be on our best behaviour, being the Kenyans that we are, sooner or later, we cannot hold it any longer and we give our kids a sneak peek of who we really are inside.

Pudd’ng still remembers what happened in the past two elections. And sometimes she reminds us of the dumb things we said. Which makes us to turn them into teachable moments, and we teach her – and we also learn - among others, the importance of love and tolerance.

How to game the system

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Even in Pudd’ng’s school, the candidates for various offices took it a notch higher by having posters, some which were done by hand.

“There’s a candidate who likes sharing his snacks with other pupils,” Pudd’ng said, adding that this pupil always wins.

(What I heard: can I have a campaign budget, which will include snacks?)

Snackson has figured out how to game the system. Snackson has seen our politicians dishing goodies to the electorate and has decided to read from the same script.   

“And what did you give the pupils?” I asked.

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“I promised them that I would fight for their rights and make sure that their grievances are addressed.”

Pudd’ng told me about the candidates’ different promises. Which were all taken from Kenyan politicians. Snackson promised that he would talk to the teachers so that homework would be reduced and there would be more time for extracurricular activities.

Pudd’ng’s “manifesto” has always been the same: fighting for rights and grievances. From the look of things, this “electorate” is a microcosm of the national constituency.  

Same old, same old

Last year, Pudd’ng narrated how an elected pupil “changed” once she got this new position.

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“She was my friend,” Pudd’ng complained, “but she does not want anything to do with me anymore.”

“Are you sure that you’re not the one who has changed?”

Pudd’ng does not realise that, by virtue of her friend’s new status, the nature of their friendship has changed. If they used to hang out a lot, this friend now has to balance her new responsibilities with the friendship; and the latter is bound to suffer.

“The pupil who promised that there will be less homework and more playing time for pupils, also changed and now says that it is not possible to change the curriculum,” Pudd’ng said, lamenting that this same pupil has been elected twice and, each time, he “doesn’t deliver on his promises”.

Snackson has not picked this ploy from the blues. He has seen and heard it from the best. I won’t be surprised if, a couple of decades down the line, Snackson will pull this stunt and grin all the way to the August House.  

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