Wonder why middle class folks are broke and corrupt? They drive toys they can't afford
I hosted my old school and college pal Bobby Mkangi at my place on Saturday. The plan was to pick his mind up about the Katiba (for a book on Constitutional Law we’re just completing, now that BBI and plots to Change the Constitution as we dance to reggae are all the radical fad).
After he’d parked, he told me: ‘Ye finally cracked to societal pressure and bought a moti?’
The chap who is telling me this drives a Toyota 100 (you can get one for even 250 K), yet is one of the most sought after constitutional law experts in the region, even having advised both the Sudan and Southern Sudan states on the same.
Bobby Mkangi was of course the youngest member of the Committee of Experts (CoE) that delivered our current Katiba as a brand new legal baby ten years, one month and a week ago. When every Wannabe got to know that long word ‘Promulgation,’ at least for one week.
Mkangi still own(ed) that old model Toyota 100 before, during and ten years after Promulgation. As we walked to the lift, he amused me with a story about ‘The 100’ as he affectionately calls it.
‘There was a security guard at Bomas where we often met (to deliberate on the Constitution) who used to watch me drive in with consternation, yet we seemed to be on very warm terms. Then one day, he just lets it all out: ‘Mdoss, kwa nini unajiaibisha na aka ka-kari ka-msee, na wale Commissioner wenkine wanaingianeko hapa na makari masuri makupwa kupwa kwa haina ya Pima, Pence, Brado na Rench Rofa?’’
The guard then offered to ‘broker’ a deal between his older brother and ‘Poppy.’
‘Yeye ni driver wa taxi, na kama unausa pei nsuri, anaesa nunua aka ka-kari.’
We agreed with Mkangi that one of the most fundamental shidas in Kenya is this tie between class and cars, just to use the most superficial of examples, that will make middle class folks (who otherwise aren’t even that interested in motor vehicles) take out expensive loans.
We recalled the true story of a chief magistrate alumni who happily drove a small Colt for years – until he went to preside over this court in a certain province where their reserved parking lot was full of much bigger cars, all belonging to staff subordinate to him.
He eventually gave in to the ‘pressure’ and got himself a big ass Benzo for Shs 3.8 million, the source of which cash would be the start of his fall from grace (and eventual transfer to a hostile environment, not in a literary but literally, like huko Mandera, where Law is for the camels, lo)!
Just think about it – how many of our supposed public servants become corrupt, because they have been corrupted by the idea of big toys, or told how members of a certain class should live?
I recall being in Munich six years ago, and being hosted in the house of Goethe Chief, J.Hossfeld.
Being in an affluent neighbourhood, you’d see the usual suspects of car models, made in Germany, but the thing is they would barely move from their designated parking places, especially on weekdays.
Turns out that because of the efficient transport system, from the clean underground trains, cute trams, timely buses and safe bike paths of Munchen, it’s become a bit of a nuisance to drive to places like work. Where I stay, ironically near a driving school, is a mere two and a half kilometer walk from town (going over the Railway Bridge), or a nice half hour stroll into the CBD, which we do.
For anywhere else, there are Ubers and scooters – and returning from the CBD, the matatu drops me literally at a stage next to my doorstep.
So over Heineken and Katiba talk, I tell ole buddy Bobby how one day a few years ago, in the ma-three back from town, this pretty young lass plops herself next to me, and even as I bury my head in a novel, I’m aware of her Wannabe glances, as if she’s also trying to read my book. Anyway, I alight, she alights.
Then calls me by my name, looking distressed as she says: ‘You inspired me to do journalism.’ Turns out she is/was a student at KIMC, and was anxious about her chosen career coz I had no car. Six years down the line after importing one, still haven’t gone to Driving School. It has never moved from its parking space.
You’ve seen wannabes issues with class and cars, but where do the ‘cooks’ come in?
Ku Klux Klan!