The Registrar of Political Parties, Anne Nderitu, has a sense of humour. She says some 14,000 Kenyans will need counselling in just under two weeks.
This lot, she said, have invested emotionally and materially in their quest for about 2,000 available elective posts. So, it’s logical that out of the 16,000 aspirants, some 14,000 watakula huu.
If the term sounds as though they will be eating something, the answer is no, they will have nothing. Some have quit their jobs, mortgaged homes, sold cars and land, to raise enough money for campaigns.
Others have stolen to fund their campaigns. Once upon not too long ago, a friend of mine approached a group that purported to have a grassroots network in a city slum, where he was considering running to be their kanjora.
This was before the devolved governments came into being.
This group of individuals would pass for what we now call “influencers” in pre-internet Nairobi. They met my friend at a tavern and ordered choma, washed down by alcoholic drinks.
Why bother about being a kanjora when we can make you our MP, they posed. Sisi ndio kusema, they gloated. We have the people behind us. They will vote where we direct them…
By the time my friend left the pub, he was kaput, having parted with some Sh10,000 in the few hours of “deliberations.”
This is called the trickster tradition. And since Kenyans look approach politics as a business, as opposed to a service, it’s rightful for them to suffer heavy losses. But they shouldn’t lose their mind in the process.