Sunday, July 09, 2023

We once aspired to national greatness

It is pointless to ask, nay, beg, Dr. David Ndii to sympathise with the political plight of Hon. Raila Odinga and his political orphans. Dr. Ndii has, time and again, stated for all who care to hear that he is a political harlot; loyalty, in the Kenyan political combat, is meaningless to him. It no longer motivates his political choices. He is willing to serve whatever regime that is willing to pay his price.

It is also pointless to try and shame Dr. Ndii into "doing the right thing". He is not a teenager from a middle class family for whom right and wrong are in stark relief to each other. He is an adult man in full charge of his political faculties and he is playing the game in the only way he knows how: with eyes wide open and an exit plan in the back pocket. Morality, or Kenya's political version of morality, means nothing to man who has been witness to chicanery of the highest order from Kenya's political saviours for nigh on thirty years.

Kenya's politics, and fealty to constitutional values, has been reduced to its basest, crudest elements: one will do what one must do in order to win an election, and form the Government. The whys and wherefores are irrelevant so long as one can claim electoral victory against all the other hyenas in the feasting of the carcass. Dr. Ndii listened to the promises of the "Official Opposition" for twenty five years. He watched as those promises were betrayed. He saw that neither the needs of the people on the street - Wanjiku, et al - nor their political values held much sway in the minds of the likes of Hon. Odinga. Not even Hon. Martha Karua could persuade Dr. Ndii that there was a light at the end of the tunnel of darkness.

So Dr. Ndii did what he thought he needed to do: he got himself a long spoon and sat down to supper with the devil, and in the bargain is now sitting in on Cabinet meetings where, maybe, perhaps, though probably not, his voice is heard when it comes to national economic decision-making. The recent toing-and-froing over the price of petroleum products might be proof that Dr. Ndii may have been bamboozled once more and he is one among eleventy-seven other men, women and scallywags of all stripes that have fallen prey to another spate of promises that shall not, will not, could not possibly be kept.

It is pointless to feel sorry for Dr. Ndii - or to sing praises to his political acumen. His bed is his own to lie in, rosy thorns and all. Ours is to choose whether or not we wish to engage in political harlotry in the pursuit of our own political objectives, and fuck the constitution in the process. Or are we willing to do the necessary and difficult work of building a political culture that tries, and perhaps succeeds, in rooting out entrenched political betrayals, lies and constitutional sabotage.

Once upon time, before Mwai Kibaki showed us what betrayal looked like, Kenyans had faith that "One Man could change things". That the "One Man" was not just one man - George Anyona, Masinde Muliro, George Nthenge, Charity Ngilu, Martha Karua, James Orengo....they all come to mind - is neither here nor there. What is important to remember is that there were Kenyans who stood for us, and helped us stand for something, who led the way, paid steep prices, sometimes ultimate prices, and who inspired us to rise above the petty pecuniary needs of the one home, one family, one individual. We once aspired to national greatness. Today, the vast bulk of us are willing to get fucked in the ass without the courtesy of KY jelly if it means that when we retire to our Runda palaces, out bank balances have as many zeros as a telephone numbers and our passports are accepted in all the major capitals of the world.

We once aspired to national greatness. Today we are all David Ndii. Broken, broken-hearted, having forgotten the KY jelly, bent over the proverbial barrel, our pants down around our ankles, our knees akimbo, metronomically chanting to ourselves "at least bank account iko na dough" over and over as our sphincter muscles are loosened for all eternity such that we will need adult diapers till the day we die.

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