Politicians are being friendly again. They are as we are; walking amongst us, eating at local vibandas and high fiving every mama mboga they can lay their hands on. It’s like we’re at the club and we, the voters, are the girl every man at the club wants. Only that we tend to make the wrong choices over and over again. We can’t seem to identify the guy that 3 years down the line, will take dowry to our home. We seem to have a knack for deadbeats, the ones that spoil us all night only to sneak out and leave us the ugly bill.
The ability to elect your own representatives into Government is so underplayed most of us have never really understood its gravity. Every 5 years a couple of ambitious individuals run campaigns to convince you why they’d represent your interests best. In as much as voting is the engine that runs democracy, the voters themselves aren’t always rational. Some value their tribal allegiance more than they do health care and infrastructure, others would rather pocket a few coins during campaigns then have their Mp spoil himself to the bursary intended for their children, the list is endless. To say that all voters know what is good for themselves and their country is fallacious, so as we near our general elections, the need to understand the forces and thought processes influencing most voters’ decisions increases.
For most voters in this category, politics may as well be the air that they breathe. And it’s not because whomever they support is visionary, no. For this voter, their tribe ties him/her to whoever is at the top. They probably will vote for “their person” till kingdom come, and no promises or persuasion will ever shake their allegiance to the tribal kingpin, unless the chosen one chooses to point them in another direction, of course.
‘For sale’ voters
If your money talks, this voter will listen to you. Not only will they listen to you, but they’ll also follow your entourage to the ends of the earth just to get a piece of your piggy bank. Their main concern isn’t that they’re voting for a competent leader who deserves it. You only deserve their vote if the Ksh 1,000 they’re planning to get hammered with came from your pocket, and even then, you just have to trust that they indeed voted for you. They’re as sly and manipulative as the politicians themselves. The biggest bidder is this voter’s weakness.
The Apathetic voter
They honestly don’t care what goes on in the political sphere. They watch political news mainly because their dad would strangle them if they changed channels, but if it were up to them, fail videos on YouTube would have been a better option. Most of these voters are young adults with a vague narrative of what politics in Kenya entails. They registered as voters after they came across an empty station behind their local supermarket on a lazy Saturday afternoon. They lowkey want to vote for Prof George Wajackoyah because he’ll probably make today(4/20) a holiday by legalising marijuana, but even then , it doesn’t matter who becomes President, they just want the elections to end so they can go back to their mundane lives.
The Woke voter
They’re as rare as gemstones. Most of them are tired of poor governance and cheap propaganda. They understand their responsibility as a voter and they exercise this fundamental right regardless of the outcome. They’ve probably had a close brush with political science, or, they’ve binged on Karl Max and Malcolm X since they were eighteen. They seek structural changes to our mode of governance and would rather be the only one that votes for a competent candidate than be part of the bandwagon that elects thieves and quacks into Government. They probably also know what tear gas feels like from all the times they’ve been on the streets protesting.
You may not fit in any of the above categories, but I believe it is necessary to understand why we have dynasties and cartels in place of a government whose primary objective should be to improve the welfare and living standards of its citizens. Kenya is almost uninhabitable right now. Inflation has brought us to our knees because a few people are running our country like you would a Kindergarten. Your role as an active citizen is to prioritize your interests and the interests of those coming after you. Maybe don’t take that demeaning bribe this time. Maybe don’t vote for that politician just because his shags borders yours. Vote for someone sane and proficient enough to cater for a society’s needs. Not their own needs, or their kins’, but their community’s. And oh, Happy 4/20, hope our economy will one day be as high as you’ll be today, if you will at all.