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Editors Choice
Of Kindiki, mud-walled classrooms and a chopper
By Mwangangi Sabastian | Updated Feb 22, 2018 at 16:47 EAT
Prof. Kindiki builds mud classrooms
  • Prof Kithure Kindiki’s pictures emerged online while participating in plastering classrooms with mud in a community charity event
  • Kenyans were wondering why he couldn’t finance the building of a permanent classroom

Last Saturday Kenyans on Twitter were on fire. Social media was abuzz with reactions from all walks of life after the 2022 Ruto sure-bet Deputy and Senator for Tharaka Nithi Prof Kithure Kindiki’s pictures emerged online while participating in plastering classrooms with mud in a community charity event.

Kindiki was captured mixing mud in Tharaka Constituency. Kenyans were wondering why he couldn’t finance the building of a permanent classroom.

The school is in my sub location and I understand the intrigues better. Kamutuandu Primary was recently started by locals. The school is yet to be registered thus can’t easily attract normal government funding.

With no roof over their heads, children invaded and converted newly-constructed police houses next to their school to classrooms because officers were yet to be posted. After cattle rustling intensified and police were deployed to the camp, makeshift classrooms were needed pending the construction of permanent ones.

Kenyans on twitter could hear none of this. Hashtag #ShamefulKindiki was raging like a swollen river. Social Media commentators didn’t appreciate that on the same day, Senator Kindiki laid a foundation of five permanent classrooms. They even retrieved from archives a chopper photo of an April 2017 event and tagged it along. The reality is that Prof Kindiki had used his car.

It said that in politics there is no such thing as bad publicity. The rationale is that as long as people are talking about you, it’s a good thing. Even if they’re saying awful things about you or your company, the publicity is supposed to still be good because your name is on the top of people’s minds, keeping you relevant.

Some economists aver that even in general trade negative publicity can increase sales when a product or company is relatively unknown simply because it stimulates product awareness, so it is for Senator Kindiki who is billed by many as Ruto’s running mate come 2022. This suggests that whereas the negative impression fades over time, increased awareness may remain, which can actually boost the chances that Kindiki the brand will be purchased easily to be the Kenyan Deputy under Ruto.

The big question is, is some publicity, however negative, better than none at all when it comes to the national image?

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Some believe that even if you get a bad review or a scathing editorial about you, it will thrust your brand into people's minds. Some people will not care about the bad article, so you'll gain customers and followers at the end of the day. It's much better for a bunch of people to hate you but have a few others as customers than have nobody knowing about you at all.

Last Saturday, to Prof Kindiki, it was a Community Service Day, similar to Rwanda’s Community Service Day called "Umuganda" where leaders and the led come together in common purpose to achieve an outcome like mudding the classrooms.
It’s a culture Kenyans can borrow from the Rwandese. In traditional Rwandan culture, members of the community would call upon their leaders, family, friends and neighbors to help them complete a difficult task.

Prof Kindiki’s inauguration of temporary classes for Kamutuandu Primary projected his humility. Only a few leaders can be so touched by the plight of the people and decide to engage in such activity.

When contacted Kindiki said: "Great leadership does not mean running away from reality”. Prof Kindiki also said he believed sharing difficulties can inspire people to take action that will make situations better. 

Locals see Kindiki as a great source of inspiration to all while to KOT, he is a show-off.

We need many Kindikis for this country to grow.

As keyboard warriors criticise Kindiki, Kamutuandu and 60 percent of similar societies across Kenya are loudly saying: “God bless you abundantly Kindiki Our Gallant soldier Number One”.

(Mwangangi Sabastian comments on emerging issues and can be reached via [email protected])

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