2022 election year is around the corner and the political rallies seem to be in full gear amidst a pandemic and a health ministry push for social distancing. The narrative this time round is Hustler or Dynasty. You are either one of those. Let’s do some definition to understand what the terms mean. According to Merriam Webster dictionary, a hustler is a person who hustles such as a) one who obtains money by fraud or deceit: scammer, swindler b) one who lures less skilful players into competing at a gambling game c) an athlete who plays with alert energy and aggressiveness or d) a male prostitute. If you were to ask me, I am none of the above and especially not a reflection of the last definition. As a verb, hustle can either mean to swindle someone or to hurry them, or to work hard. You can hustle someone out the door. If you hustle, you can earn good tips as a waiter. To the Kenyan political class, the word hustle means work hard. What then is a dynasty? It can mean any of the two a) a succession of rulers of the same line of descent or b) a powerful group or family that maintains its position for a considerable time born into a powerful political dynasty. The current political agenda is to box us into either of the two. Which one am I? We will get to that in a bit. In the meantime, walk with me through the countries various elections with the help of Africa News
The Kenyan African population voted for the first time in 1957 during the country’s legislative elections. The first elections in the British colony took place in 1920. This led to independence in 1964 and Kenyatta became the first President. Kenya was transformed into a one-party state in 1969 and KPU was banned leaving KANU as the only party that won all seats in 1969, 1974, 1979, 1983 and 1988 elections led by Kenyatta. Kenyatta died in office in 1978 and the presidency was continued by his vice president Daniel Arap Moi who became the second president. In 1992, President Moi restored multiple party politics after democratic pluralism swept through Africa. He won that year’s elections. President Daniel Arap Moi won the 1997 elections and groomed current president Uhuru Kenyatta to take over the presidency and continue his father’s legacy in 2002. Moi stood down in 2002 for Uhuru Kenyatta to stand. He led KANU to its first defeat to an opposition coalition led by Mwai Kibaki. The coalition fell apart and Uhuru backed Kibaki to win the 2007 elections against rival Raila Odinga who had unsuccessfully contested for the first time in 1997 after he returned from exile to take part in the country’s multi-party politics. The 2007 elections saw some 1,300 people killed and more than 600,000 displaced after violence that saw Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2011 for incitement of the ethnic violence against Odinga’s supporters. Elections were held in 2013 under the new constitution in 2010 that was approved after a referendum. Uhuru Kenyatta defeated Raila Odinga, whose party won the most seats in the National Assembly. Kenya’s Supreme Court cancelled the August 8, 2017, presidential election on September 1, 2017, citing electoral irregularities after accusation of fraud by the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) party led by Raila Odinga.
I would like a politician who truly believes they are not a dynasty by the definition above to cast the first stone. Your guess is as good as mine. One or two if none will be left standing.
From the above analysis, you can conclude that Uhuru comes close to being related to a dynasty since the family has occupied the presidential seat for a longer period but is it a correct assumption? There are 44 sovereign states in the world with a monarch as head of state, of which 42 are ruled by dynasties. There are currently 26 sovereign dynasties and Kenya is not amongst them. So, let’s call a spade a spade or at least what everyone is thinking, dynasties in the Kenyan English dictionary means someone who has stolen from the citizens and amassed wealth without regard to the well-being of those he or she is meant to serve and a hustler is he who has been stolen from. The Bible in the book of John 8:7 says “But when they continued asking him, he lifted himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” I would like a politician who truly believes they are not a dynasty by the definition above to cast the first stone. Your guess is as good as mine. One or two if none will be left standing.
The recent happenings across the country as a result of this narrative have been pure vandalism and terrorism. I cry when I remember the happenings of 2007 because we killed each other in the name of a tribe. Families were displaced and sent into hiding because of tribal hatred. Do we want to go back there with such divisive politics? Isn’t the bigger responsibility to hold the political class accountable for their promises which by and large are to protect and build this nation to greater heights? That is the narrative we need to fight for each day not who is a dynasty and who is a hustler because the answer to that question we already know.
This is why my answer to which side I am on is none. I will do my solemn duty of holding the leaders we elect accountable for the promises they make and using my rights as a citizen to elect the right leadership based on their capacity to lead and not whether they are hustler or dynasty or they support the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). We should not allow ourselves to be taken down that road because at the end of it we the citizens suffer. Haven’t we already had enough of this? The ball is in each and everyone’s court. Vote wisely when the time comes.