We are used to ‘straight’ politics based on good PR, moderated persuasions, advertising through theme songs and speeches, and to the worst, negative campaigning and soft propaganda.
This was before the presidential candidate, Professor George Wajackoyah of Roots Party, landed with a promise to legalise marijuana, overthrow the Constitution, oversee the rearing of snakes, and exportation of hyena balls, among other rousing ideas in his ten-point manifesto.
Wildlife experts agree that since hyenas are too weak to kill their game, they target loose parts of other animals such as testicles and tails. Probably, the professor is targeting the vulnerable parts of the country’s political architecture. Isn’t it sinking too wild to think that hyenas’ testicles are worth millions?
Surprisingly, with his queer politics of tingisha mti, a ‘phallic’ political symbolism meaning, “shake the tree”, Wajackoyah is likely to force a runoff in the coming elections. Let me explain why!
So far, the highest turnout in Kenya post millennia general elections was in 2013 at 85.91 per cent, with 2002 recording the lowest turnout of 57.2 per cent.
The 2017 and 2007 recorded 70.44 and 69.09 per cent, respectively. Therefore, on average, Kenya's post millennia general elections record an average voter turnout of 70.66.
Of the 22,120,458 registered voters, we assume that the turn up will be an average of 70.66 per cent. It means that the projected voter turnout will be 15,630,316. Thus 50 per cent of this will be 7,815,158. With the small margin that Raila Odinga and William Ruto are polling, we are warming up for a repeat election. I have reasons for this line of thought.
First, the 4.4 million undecideds, according to various opinion polls, are young people aged between 18 and 34. The majority of these young people are deluded by the extreme stress courtesy of the high cost of living.
For the last two years, there has been an outcry that Kenyan youths were sinking deep into predatory lenders, predatory gambling, and illicit drugs—including marijuana.
From this population, Wajackoyah is likely to frisk away a big chunk of the ‘deluded' votes.
Politics of the absurd
Secondly, Wajackoyah is a well-schooled Kenyan with 16 degrees from reputable universities worldwide. It will be challenging to convince jobless, educated youth that the law professor is wrong on his ludicrous political arithmetic.
His education accomplishments and clearance by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to contest the presidency are deceptive. However, he is likely to take away a significant portion of voters who identify with his attention-grabbing queer politicking.
Third, Professor Wajackoyah is playing the politics of the absurd. He seems to be speaking simplicity into what is orthodoxly complex. He’s offering a solution to the country's debt in simple yet absurd ways.
The debt burden is flagged as the lead cause of the country's myriad problems. Yet, while the two frontrunners complicate matters, he assertively sees money in cobra venom, hyenas’ testicles, and cannabis.
Finally, Wajackoyah relies on the art of numbers. He says every Kenyan can get a check of Sh200,000 annually accruing from marijuana grown in Nyeri County alone. That translate to a monthly income of Sh17,000 per month compared to the Sh6,000 that Raila Odinga promises needy Kenyan if he’s elected.
He also says growing marijuana in Nyeri County alone can “have 10 per cent of IMF's total cash reserves” and “we will never have to borrow a single coin in future.” Isn’t he lying? Well, in Kenya, the prime political propaganda is that numbers do not lie!
All said, Wajackoyah’s 'street' politics is opium for youthful voters who are hankering for the ‘feel good’ politics of delusion and absurdity. The youth are likely to plunge the country into its karma for ignoring them in the past.
A repeat election will be costly. In 2017, the taxpayer parted with approximately Sh14 billion. Eish! Why and how did the IEBC clear Wajackoyah in the first place? Aren’t we a country of the absurd, delusion and political disposition?
-Dr Ndonye is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Music and Media at Kabarak University.