The people of Tetu Constituency in Central Kenya have distinguished themselves for not reelecting any of their MPs for the past 34 years. One might extrapolate the picture further and say this is not unique to Tetu, as 90 per cent of our politicians do not get reelected. It’s all been touch and go.
This means a few things: one, that voters are not learning from their past mistakes; two, they tend to be attracted to a certain personality; three, their measure of a leader’s performance is constantly high. The latter is a particularly good element, although it is fraught with risks.
Are the performance imperatives clearly spelt out? Is it about contributing to motions and crafting Bills in Parliament? Is it about launching nursery schools or cattle dips in one’s constituency? Is it about contributing money to churches or donating hearses for bereaved families in the area?
Let’s refine the question further and ask who, in the voters’ considered wisdom, qualifies to be a leader? Is it a well-heeled individual, the chopper-riding elite who dispenses campaign merchandise from air, or is it one of the residents, someone connected to the grassroots?
Even more crucially, is it someone from whom they extorted kilos of sugar and leso for kina mama, beer for the elders and Sh200 for every youth in the locality? If the latter is the more likely scenario, then they forfeit the right to complain.
The politician invested in the seat; it’s only fair we let them recover their investment. The only difference is that we accept a pittance. Let’s demand enough to last five years, not just one meal.