Monday, March 20, 2017

Bent, twisted or broken?

There are no saints in politics, not even political saints. In politics, as in life, unsavoury characters are the principal actors in the acquisition and allocation of political power, including State power. Honest and idealistic individuals are the ones that often pay the price for their honesty and idealism. The few who have somehow managed to ascend to political sainthood are very rarely remembered for their effective political leadership; more often, they are remembered for "fighting the good fight" as opposed to winning it.

Boniface Mwangi, the acerbic-tongued, idealistic, PR genius, civil society knuckle-bruiser and a few of his fellow-travellers has launched a "new" political party, the Ukweli Party, as his vehicle of choice to persuade, among others, the good people of Starehe to elect him to the twelfth parliament on the 8th August. One of his more ardent supporters calls him the best candidate she knows. If she elevates him to political sainthood, she is likely to suffer the same heartburn as the rest of us who have been disappointed by the political heroes who turned out to have feet of clay.

Whether or not Mr Mwangi and the other aspiring parliamentarians of the Ukweli Party are successful at the hustings in August, we must remember that they are human beings, with human flaws and human impulses. Mr Mwangi is famous for highlighting the deep human flaws in Kenya's parliamentarians that have led these men and women to commit crimes, great and small. Mr Mwangi and his cohort must be prepared for the same degree of scrutiny and the harsh judgment of an ungrateful electorate, one that takes a perverse pleasure in sweeping out almost three-quarters of the elected classes at every election.

His fans and supporters must be prepared to be tarred with the same brush, if tarring is indeed done, should Mr Mwangi fail to live up to the hype. We are notorious for our short memories but we are also notorious for burning hot in our passionate hatred of the political class. Mr Mangi is now a politician and it is only a matter of time that political needs challenge his ideological impulses and thereafter the people will get the chance to witnesses which of Mr Mwangi's cherished principles will be bent, twisted or broken.

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