I was watching my Twitter timeline intently on Monday evening.
Reports that a bomb had gone off in the CBD at the OCL bus stage and that there may have been deaths, definitely ‘tens of injuries’.
It wasn’t shock or fear that immediately overwhelmed me; moreso confusion and malaise. My first question was obviously “Does this have anything to do with the ongoing efforts in Somalia?” If so, this was a clear escalation and warranting of some concern. If not, it meant yet another problem – threat, perhaps – had befallen our country.
“When thousands of peoples is riled up to see you
That can arouse ya ego, we got mouths to feed so
Gotta stay true to who you are and where you came from
Coz at the top will be the same place you hang from
No matter how big you can ever be
For whatever fee or publicity, never lose your integrity”
– Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones (aka ‘Nas’)
Long hours on the campaign trail, packed and charged rallies, meetings with campaign donors, countless election strategies and counter strategies all culminating in the announcement of the win and the swearing in ceremony. It’s all usually glamorous and inspiring to most people looking in from the outside. Although the campaign period is extremely stressful and draining on the candidate the really hard work begins once that candidate is sworn into office.
Just ask Barack Obama. After his ‘landslide’ win he embarked on achieving some of his campaign promises and he was successful in some most notably healthcare and Wall street reform. However, there is the big issue that has dominated news in the States these last 6 months (not Osama) have been the budget deficit. Make no mistake, the U.S debt is a serious global issue. While the risk of the U.S defaulting on its debt may be a bit farfetched, given the close linked global economy, it is crucial that they sort out their debt issue. As most economists will confirm the two ways to cut a deficit are either reduce spending or increase taxes. However, both options are politically risky for any American president. (There’s also the increased tax receipts/collections option as a result of economic growth but this is more long term in most cases and highly dependent on economic growth).
Sometime in the last decade (’97 to be exact), former president Moi rhetorically asked, in one of his infamous road-side declarations, whether filling the vacant position of Vice-President (by either re-appointing Saitoti or appointing someone else) would add plates of ugali to Kenyan homes.
Unfortunately, I’ve heard this same ‘ugali’ phrase being used by some of the politically apathetic/cynical/indifferent/non-voter’s-card-having folk I hang out with vis-a-vis the proposed constitution. If I understand them correctly, this constitutional making process is nothing more than another political game of wits that has nothing to do with creating a new legal and social order for Kenya. Therefore they argue that the proposed Constitution, if it passes, will not make a difference to: a) their lives; and b) to the average Kenyan.
Of course I beg to differ with those propositions. How it will make a difference to all these naysayers depends on them. Does the proposed Constitution provide an environment for them to set up and run their businesses and hence get more ugali? I’d argue Yes. But that also depends on how it affects the ordinary Kenyan.