T here is a sermon doing rounds on social media by a Preacher from one of our neighbouring countries about a man who suffered a cardiovascular incident and tumbled to the ground with an irreverent thud. To all intents and purposes the gentleman was clinically dead as his pulse was a nonentity. For a few minutes, his essence was suspended in the ethereal realm as paramedics frantically tried to resuscitate him. While his body was mostly catatonic but within the throes of rigor-mortis, he took an unwarranted sojourn into the afterlife. In the horizon from a vantage-point of a hillock, he decried a drab-looking castle on the right side, dilapidated with pale, slovenly looking creatures manning its gates. On the diametrically opposite side, he espied a delectably glamorous palace with virtually no one guarding it. The path serving it was well-paved, more like a thoroughfare, beautiful streetlights adorning all the way to a magnificent drawbridge with wide gates. So many high-end, top of the range mechanisms of conveyance made a beeline for that bedazzled, marble abode that it was inconceivable a proposition not to go to curiously look at what was within the confines of that glimmering house on the hill. The man sauntered in and true to form was welcomed by a tall, lustrous & aesthetically-pleasing nobleman into his ‘humble’ abode. Needless to say the noble was dapper of dress, a dark, silk suit to boot. “Been expecting you! Welcome to Hell my son, Lucifer is the name if you may please,” bellowed a balanced, calming baritone from the host. After dispensing with the salutary courtesies he was ushered into the cavernous megastructure of domicile and blown out of his socks, the gentleman was by the opulence he witnessed. In his heart of hearts he told himself he could potentially live in that palace for an eternity. “Righteousness is overrated anyway.” Just when he had almost taken his seat at the table, the paramedics on terra-firma made a breakthrough. The man got his pulse back, was stabilized and carted into the ambulance. He lived to tell his tale, of course after making a full recovery from his medical misadventure. Based on this new evidence, the man lived a wanton, corrupt, decrepit, unscrupulous and deceitful life like never before. In between slurps of the beverages of Ruaraka extraction and surrounded by a bevy nay coven of females of questionable character, he told his story ebullient of voice to all and sundry. Of course, egged on by his inebriated contingent, his tongue rolled over integrity and temperance with ruthless abandon leaving a bloody carnage in the mind of the gullible and impressionable.
As with all mortals, this man had an encore performance of the dance with destiny, this time becoming an inadvertent victim of the most egregious of the certainties in life, Death. It was final this time and a heavy gloom descended everywhere. His spirit got to the bluff he knew only too well and he cast his gaze upon the horizon. Something looked sinister. The castle on the right side had more swaddling lights than he remembered but the path still straight, narrow and unassuming. The castle he had previously seen on the other side was nonexistent, in its place a lake issuing a pungent smell, ostensibly a whiff of Sulphur dioxide & Hydrogen Sulfide. Being neither too intelligent nor too intellectually bereft but still cunning, he attempted to get into the glorious, crystalline edifice on the right side. He was stopped by one of the guards, more diaphanous than he remembered. They asked for his name, took the precursory look down the book of life before revealing the absence of this unfortunate character’s name on the list. Dejected, he looked to the other side and saw his previous host, less than glamorous but with the same inviting smile beckoning him to the side. He begrudgingly went but with less of the enthusiasm from the earlier trip. “What happened to your majestic castle?” queried the forlorn bloke. In no time a retort shot back from Lucifer, “There was no castle! That was just an optical illusion to make my Political Campaign credulous & inviting.” The duplicitous hunter had been ensnared by his own trap! In antipathy to the straight & narrow cattle track to divine glory, the boulevard to hell is paved with nothing but good intentions and sweet nothings if I may add. But I digress.
In paying homage to sentiments by Prof. Makau Mutua in his article in the Sunday Nation of the 18th day of October 2020, Political Campaigns are oft lofty on propaganda, innuendo, half-truths and pandering to populist sentiments but short on hard-core policy. And in years gone by we haven’t had a shortage of slogans to paint the lionized candidate as some sort of messianic character. Turns of phrase and puns with words albeit double-entendres have been used by Machiavellian campaign strategists to convey their message. From “Kibaki Tosha” to “Raila Tinga – Agwambo Nyundo”, “Akaranga atakaranga Musalia msalia KANU” to “Mimi Najib Balala, Sina Swali Nina Jibu”, the array is kaleidoscopic in its variety. Slogans are an opiate derivative to the disenfranchised masses not just here in Kenya but further afield. Indeed with the American elections a week away at the time of authoring this piece; one candidate – the incumbent, has been effusive in his promise to apparently “Make America Great Again (MAGA)”, Red-hats to boot as supporting memorabilia. I was not aware that the American dream had lost any of its allure, but we soldier forward. For his opponent; Joe Biden, the message is slightly more sedate but an almost poignant, “Restoring the Soul of America as our best days lie ahead & eternally we are 2nd to none. Anything is possible no Malarkey (BS)! Build Back & Better Unity for a greater America.” Though the intent from both parties may be nothing more than clever use of catchphrases, at least the messaging gives hope of a better day.
In Kenya; slightly less than two years to the General Election, a sitting Deputy President who took an oath to execute his mandate until the end of his political term has woken up from 7 years of slumber & intransigence to coin a rallying call to his constituency who he has christened ‘The Hustler Nation.’ I must aver with unabashed certitude that this particular turn-of-phrase exists in the realm of the aforementioned ‘malakia’ from Biden’s narrative in lieu of the fact that it comes from a man charged with creating policy for poverty alleviation. ‘Malakia’ the stock from which the English word ‘malarkey’ was propagated is the ancient Greek word for the by-product of bovine metabolism. Former AC Milan veteran Midfield-enforcer, Gennaro Gattuso knows everything about ‘malakia’ & suffered few fools gladly during his time coaching the team OFI Crete in Greece.
It is pathologically perverse for a man who has been the principal assistant to our Head of State for 7 years to now stir up to the realization that there are poor people in Kenya. But this is nothing new as we are at the mercy of a bloke with an innate hero-complex but who unfortunately hasn’t the chops for altruism. This new found narrative sits at the heart and soul of this psychosis as it merely panders to public disaffection and popular despair with their poverty coupled unfortunately with the illiteracy, ignorance, naїvety and gullibility that is the inadvertent product of youth for the uninitiated. Gracing our podiums is a demagogue who merely panders to public opprobrium, prejudices & sympathies. Were this narrative concocted by the disgraced, lame-duck Nairobi Governor H.E. Mike Gideon Kioko Sonko, it would be partially plausible in my eyes for I have seen pictures of the governor as a dirt poor lad struggling through the streets, actually hustling till he made it. I will never be convinced that a man who left the University of Nairobi and was almost immediately incorporated as the Secretary-General of YK92 which was afforded a bottomless pit of exchequer funds to ensure the re-election of Daniel Moi in the 1992 polls will now turn around to become the voice of the “hustler.” And in the interest of full disclosure, I have an axe to grind with the disreputable and unscrupulous man that has bestowed this unsightly moniker upon conscientious, hardworking and enterprising men and women who are making their way through life primarily because of their humble beginnings. In this particular blog there are days where I have bemoaned the contagion of the ‘big-man syndrome’ and a posting and a half ago the conundrum of populist politicians as leaders. The problem with our politics as currently structured is the affliction of personality cults as opposed to authentic leadership based on principle & policy to the polity. To the eyes of the undiscerning, our Deputy President looks like a master-schemer and matter of factly, what better way to polish up your image than to create an illusion of piety around yourself, cordoning your persona with all sorts of religious personalities and a plethora of celebrants? Not to be lost on us was one who was not sure if it was David or Solomon who felled Goliath with a pebble to the temple but that is what you get when you allow charlatans and all sorts of snake-oil-salesmen into your bandwagon. Before I forget to remember, a particular politician in this country held court with a group of traditional elders of his ethnicity of extraction one chilly morning before the crack of dawn ostensibly to get “blessings” and be consecrated as the tribal kingpin. Surely, it takes all sorts to build a village. If the aforementioned leader is as pious as one pastor whose name ‘Pius’ Muiru is in assonance with the ‘pious’ of heart, why then didn’t he become a priest? Such deep religious conviction, faith and dexterity in quoting Christian religious text is wasted on the dastardly vexation that is politics and would be more at home spreading the good news of the gospel to the Gentiles and the nations of the earth, but here we are.
Charlatans who hypocritically quote scripture after heinously incinerating tribally-analogous Christians in a Church within their political jurisdiction in early 2008 notwithstanding, let’s delve into discussing the etymology of the object of my umbrage today, the word “Hustler.” From experiential and academic linguistic engagement, this word has blackguardly and nefarious connotations to it. In the description that is deemed sacrosanct in most of the Commonwealth who take great pride in proper use of the English language, this word is associated with drug peddlers, con-men, fraudsters, cheats, the disingenuous, pimps, hood-rats, swindlers, hooligans, hoodlums, rabble-rousers, sluts, gigolos, louts, grifters and other reprehensible iterations of infamy. If called upon to bestow this moniker upon myself, I will give the convener of that task a hard pass. But far be it from I being considered too backwater with regards to know-how in street lingo. That is why periodically I throw in one or two words from the digs to touch base with my pips from the hood! In the urban dictionary a hustler is a guy who in the industrial complex created by capitalism, has been shunned by the conventional sources to earn upkeep and so has been forced to deal in narcotics and other illicit substances for sustenance. This has become a byword in gangsta rap videos as young men and women in their own form of rebellion to the man try to showcase how they started from the bottom to mercurially rise to top. One of the popular Hip-hop artistes of the early 2000s called 50 Cent has a track called ‘Hustler’s Ambition’ from the aptly named multi-platinum selling album ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin.’ Indeed true hustlers out there are willing to do anything, and I reiterate anything for that next coin. Another rapper called Cassidy in 2004 released the song ‘I’m a Hustla’ where to quote one of the lines verbatim from among the lyrics, “I am a hustler, I could sell salt to a slug!” I am in conjecture whether the narrative of a man so duplicitous as to be able to peddle salt – a mollusc-vitiating agent to a slug should possibly be held up to a pedestal in my eyes, so ladies & gentlemen I struggle. The exalted but dearly deceased Nipsey Hustle did good for society despite having this deleterious tag associated with his name but that is just one outlier in the Gaussian curve of ‘Hustlers’ & Associated conduct. In lieu of the former description of the word, I have to exist in a state of epistemic ambivalence over this paradox in no dissimilitude to a spectator-ion for those well-versed with Chemistry in my quest to understand how the same man can ride in the same boat with hustlers all the while taking a bath with pastors in holy water, all in one go. But that is Politics 101 for you. The game where you leave your cerebral cortex on the kitchen counter and for the rest of the day reason with your heart and apparently other body parts not tooled for that purpose in simpleton fashion. Let’s be honest with each other.
It pricks my conscience when I see intellectuals shrouded in their professional garb as Legal Experts (learned friends) – Jurisprudence to boot, Communication Experts, Economists, Political Science Professors, the 4th Estate practitioners, Men of the Cloth, Social Media gurus debasing themselves in the unavailing endeavour of pandering to the Lowest Common Denominator in extolling the non-existent virtues of this ‘faux-hustler’ at par with how we Catholics venerate Mother Teresa.
At the current juncture, it is becoming increasingly difficult to pick out the sensible from among the dipsomaniac singing balderdash lying in the ditch after taking 10-for-the-road, the slurry-in-speech drug junky begging for 30/- for ‘chapo-dondo’ on the village path and the pseudo-professional innundating our TV screens perambulating the ‘intellectual-distinction’ of wheelbarrow-nomics pertinent to the 21st Century scene! Methinks somebody is trying to take Kenyans for a ride for minuscule pecuniary gain. In the backdrop of one of the most highly-erudite and skilled population in Africa, it is no doubt a hard slap on the face when presented with wheelbarrows, hoes, rakes, mutura-roasting grills, motorcycles, bicycle rims, sewing machines, hairdryers among other crude implements of trade when the rest of the world is engrossed in innovation, nanotechnology and software development. The same esteemed populace who immersed themselves in industry to invent & nurture M-PESA, the world mobile-money transfer frontrunner in the era of so-far our most progressive Head of State H.E. Emilio Stanley Mwai Kibaki, will now in sound comportment vote in a man whose vision is to retrogress them back to the mediocrity of making utility out of a one-wheeled jalopy in no variance to Adam and Eve!
What if Hon. Tom Mboya gifted Prof. Wangari Maathai and Barrack Obama Sr. with wheelbarrows in 1960 as opposed to scholarships, would Kenya have a Nobel-peace laureate today? Would we have bequeathed America their seminal Black President? In plaintive sentiments given voice by one of our most distinguished and enlightened legal scholars, Prof. PLO Lumumba, “I struggle!”
The use of the dastardly word implies that someone lifted himself by his bootstraps from the doldrums of society to make something of himself. This paradigm is fallacious especially in the context of being vociferated by the master of double-speak who has suckled from the nurturing bosom of mother opulence, privilege, largesse, that old-wench ‘Dynasty’ from the first day he cut his political teeth and stepped onto the rostrum to ‘greet wananchi’ to this day when he stands a heartbeat away from the proverbial ‘house on the hill’. This glib operator tries to cipher a class division among Kenyans by trying to portray the suffering of the working-poor, the underprivileged and hoi-polloi as the fault of some ‘Dynasty’ or ‘System.’ The term Dynasty is the branding that DP Ruto’s campaign apparatchiks have bestowed upon the ostensibly exploitative and parasitic political, commercial and ruling elites who exist in great disdain to the hapless, oppressed serfs. In this scheme of things, Premier (emeritus) Rt. Hon. Raila A. Odinga and his father now resting in Eternal Glory Former Vice President Hon. Jaramogi Ajuma Oginga Odinga, despite their full immersion into the soul-sapping, perilous and torturous struggle that bore forth the 2nd Liberation and indeed multiparty democracy and many of the civil liberties we now enjoy (e.g. writing this piece without fear of reprisal) will now enter the ignominious annals of eternal notoriety as a ‘dynasty’ merely to massage the egos of narcissists and sadomasochists. That is simply atrocious, the sheer effrontery of this man! Who gave Mr. Ruto the authority to label our national paragons of nationalism and patriotism as the ‘dynasty’ whilst men and women who haven’t sacrificed jack-shit for the sake of our political progression now sit all hale and hearty in the pantheon of national heroes a.k.a hustlers? I call bullshit! Sacrifice is the essence of leadership and in my discerning eyes, anybody who shriveled when real men worth their salt & nut-sacks went out to battle against despotism, autocracy and kleptocratic rulers has lost the moral authority to be called a leader and should henceforth stop trifling with the collective conscience of Kenya! My characterization of this man as a glib operator stems from my appreciation of his gushing with linguistic flair and charisma but absolute reproach to his lying, chameleonistic and manipulative persona. For a man who is as articulate as he, it leaves a lot to be desired when his speech is light on not just anti-corruption initiative but also sound, ‘hustler-empowering’ policy. Distinction based on class and castes has the inevitable potential of setting off a conflagration in the form of a class war similar to what was witnessed between the Hutu & Tutsi in Rwanda circa 1994. Are we the harbinger of Peace as a precursor for progress in all of Africa going to turn back and emulate conduct unbecoming from the annals of historical infamy of our younger brother, Rwanda? We are better than riffling through our neighbour’s refuse for victuals!
It should not be lost on anybody that when the progeny of ‘Papa-Hustler’ graduate from institutions of tertiary education, none is bestowed with a wheelbarrow or hand-cart by their doting father to do ‘all that pertains’ to the use of that one-wheeled abomination. Instead diplomatic appointments to Poland beckon, high-grade tenders from the Kenya Meat Commission to the next & for the struggling, a posting as Rapporteur and Consultant in the August Office of the Deputy President – Kshs. 500,000 remuneration to boot for engaging in sinecure. Aren’t there better qualified Kenyans among the multitudes that take pride of place in the great ‘Hustler Nation’ for these postings? It is a case of ‘Kidneys for the King’ and Wheelbarrow gimmickry merely for the sake of ostentatiousness for the clowns and stooges nay stool-pigeons propping up this house of cards! That is exactly what was witnessed nearly a month ago in Murang’a when two young men quite tragically lost their lives in the course of needless political upheaval for the gratification of a bog-standard feudal lord. May their souls Rest in eternal Peace. I must take my responsibility as a patriotic and hard-boiled son-of-this-soil to state unequivocally, that no nation that ever became a world power was built on the substratum of implied-generosity, philanthropy, charity and donations of alms. It was all sound policy and sacrificial stewardship from men limpid and visionary enough to see deep into the future, a task too herculean for a retrograde politician whose crystal-ball of half-truths can only presage the next election!
With current events, I am reminded of the Biblical story of King Saul & a shepherd boy called David. In the course of Saul’s regime, David was identified by Prophet Samuel and anointed by the Lord to be the next King. When King Saul learned that his beloved, firstborn son Jonathan was not in the line of succession he was indignant. Jonathan on the other hand struck a bond of strong familiarity with David and they became inseparable. Soon came David’s moment of glory when one particular day his father; Jesse, sent him to the battlefield with lunch for his older brothers, he chanced upon a Philistine behemoth; Goliath, who was calling for takers brave enough to challenge him in a duel. The entire Israelite brigade was catatonic with fright. To take the pressure off, his eldest brother chided David for his conceit in leaving the sheep untended in the hinterland. David was not ruffled and decided to take on the uncircumcised Philistine in front of them. In one fell swoop, David whacked the giant with a stone, slaying the champion in the eyes of all and sundry. His stock rose tremendously. It was then beyond a shadow of a doubt that David was blessed by the Supreme Deity and was now fit to sit at the table of Kings. He suffered great tribulations in the household of King Saul, indeed in one hairy incident, he eschewed death by the width of a mosquito’s proboscis when the violent King launched a spear at him in a fit of rage. Perhaps it was extra-curricular activities (will consult with theological scholars on that one)! In his odyssey as a fugitive running through the wilderness to avoid the ruthless hand of King Saul, David found favour with the Lord and one night he chanced upon the King’s camp in the dead of night, everybody reveling in REM sleep. David thought of killing the King but rescinded on the decision and cut off a piece of the king’s garment. The crisp morning continence was broken by David shouting from atop a hill about how he had the opportunity to end this diabolical monarch’s life and spared him but not his robe. When King Saul glanced at his robe he was bemused. However, in gratitude for his salvation, King Saul blessed David abundantly and abandoned this quixotic search for another man’s life. The rest as they say is history. So revered is King David among the Jews that even today the national insignia on the Flag of Israel is King David’s Star. In hindsight, were David our faux-piety merchant here, would he have spared the life of the King now that he’s already ‘castrating’ his brother from another mother in the public domain with his treacherous tongue?
The defining characteristic of a hustler in the authentic sense of the word is to steal from the public then beguile the same constituency that they are his brothers-in-hustling. Real hustlers successfully pull it off but in the sentiments of one of the most highly revered American Presidents; Abraham Lincoln, you can fool all the people some of the time, others all of the time but you cannot fool everybody all the time. For our scripture-meme-lord, another story that comes to mind is one of King David’s grandson, King Rehoboam. This was a pampered, porch prince who grew up in relative comfort, devoid of the turmoil his grandpa had to contend with. His father was the wisest man albeit King who ever walked the face of the earth but incidentally, his own genetic make-up had the recessive gene for this trait. This loosely translates to a daft king! He took over power quite young and had plenty of lackeys and hangers-on in his court. In antipathy to his sagacious father; King Solomon, so imprudent was this young man that when people moaned pitifully about their travails to him he was the least bothered. In fairly cavalier fashion he consulted with the old royal advisors and they counselled him to treat the people with kindness. He was less than impressed and sought a 2nd opinion, tragically that of his peers, surrogates and acolytes. “Tell them that though King Solomon chastised you with thorns, I will chastise you with scorpions. If he chastised you with whips I will use snakes!” The poor, witless lad vocalized that opinion to the suffering multitudes. A riot was fomented and in the aftermath the Kingdom with split with King Rehoboam keeping only 2 tribes and the palace in Jerusalem with his new kingdom called ‘Judah’ while the other 10 tribes kept the name Israel under a new King, Jeroboam with a spanking-new palace in Samaria. What a price to pay for listening to the injudicious advice of dastardly characters who do not know better! I see W. Ruto falling into this trap.
The father of the aforementioned monarch who lost a critical mass of his throne; the sagacious King Solomon postured in the Book of Ecclesiastes 1:9 – What has existed and been done will be repeated as there is nothing new under the sun! Our DP thinks he is the first to break bread with the fellahin but as per Kamau Ngotho’s article on the Sunday Nation of the 25th October 2020, there was a predecessor politician who took advantage of the struggles of the wretched to seduce them with material goods and earn favour. This was the flamboyant, articulate and equally charismatic politician Hon. Josiah Mwangi Kariuki. He unlike William here was the unfortunate guest of the colonial state during our fight for independence. At ‘Uhuru time’, he was enlisted as President Jomo Kenyatta’s private secretary. His journey to wealth accumulation started here. In no time, a classified security dossier landed at the President’s desk detailing how JM had used his name to illegally acquiesce largesse. Jomo was less than amused and in a passive-aggressive move reshuffled his deck of cards taking JM to head the National Youth Service (NYS). In stratagems that bear similar hallmarks to what has precipitated at NYS in the modern-day, JM profiteered greatly from that gold-mine! Another dossier was forthcoming and JM now got axed from NYS & deemed persona-non-grata in public service. He used his acquired wealth to join politics and was elected as MP for Nyandarua North. He was back in Mzee’s fold and was soon appointed Assistant Minister for Tourism and Mining. Because old habits die hard, JM used his posting to dabble in the illegal trade in ivory and gemstones. Soon he started casting aspersions on Jomo Kenyatta’s leadership, accusing him of creating a nation of “10 millionaires and 10-million beggars.” He had stirred a hornet’s nest! Soon he formed his own outfit, “Maskini Nation.” Talk was rife that he even founded and bankrolled a clandestine armed organization, Maskini Liberation Movement. He became a prime dispenser of cash donations, hoes, gumboots & mattocks to the hoi-polloi of Central Kenya. About 3 weeks to the man’s 46th Birthday, a chain of events occurred that were to throw the country into mourning. Kariuki who intended to travel to Mombasa, acting on a tip-off at the last minute cancelled his trip after booking a bus ticket. The bus he was to use was rigged with explosives and detonated at the OTC bus terminal, Nairobi killing 27 people. JM had cheated death but not for long! 48 hours later he was declared missing and soon enough a cadaver turned up in Ngong Forest, partly decomposed but still suited à la mode in his trademark green suit and polka-dot scarf. It was JM Kariuki. In typical fashion, the hyenas had gormandized one of their own! The more things change, the more they remain the same. Empirical wisdom dictates that those who fail to learn from history will repeat its foibles and unfortunately similar consequences may be their comeuppance.
The unfortunate incidents with the wheelbarrows notwithstanding, there are far more transformative alternatives our Deputy Presidents would have unfurled to the ‘sufferers’ and ‘mbogi’ of the Republic of Kenya as opposed to this farce with the one-legged conveyance and stop-gap measures:
- Sound Policy on Agribusiness – as opposed to doling out barrows willy-nilly, a smarter move would be to create air-tight policies to support agribusiness. By support, I mean both policy and political will. Rather than having farming as a port of last call when youthman fails to secure employment, let’s have agriculture as a career option for the youth with curricula from early childhood to the tertiary-level colleges. Fund the sector properly to make it lucrative and attractive to the youth. For those engaged in horticulture for export, you will back me on the fact that it’s lucrative.
- Policy on Industrialization – I have heard eerily nonsensical pronouncements that wheelbarrows are useful even to the ‘jamaa wa mjengo’ which begs the question, who ever sauntered with what the Swahili call ‘Likwama’ into a construction site to ask for employment? This is no forum for jesters, my Fren! As per the strictures of the newly-unveiled BBI Report, labour-intensive manufacturing astride automation and software development will rapidly increase job creation. An empowerment model that builds both systems and the human capacity to run it is much preferable. In the life-long mantra of Former President; H.E. Mwai Kibaki, dishing money to individuals on the streets merely to earn approbation is akin to sowing the seeds of dependency, beggar-mentality and inimically poverty. Give a man a fish & you feed him for a day but teach him how to fish then you feed him and his family for a lifetime.
- Accountability on acquired funds – the 1/3 of exchequer funds lost annually to fraudulent tendering, grossly inflated contract prices, pilferage and outright theft could do wonders for our nation were it instead to be channeled into a development budget. If only our ‘Mr. 10-percents’ would tame their libidos for kickbacks from diabolically-inflated tenders, Kenya would progress and hustlers would be to a bare minimum. The articulate Dr. William Ruto should make his speeches longer on counter-corruption initiatives and actual policy as opposed to monkey business!
- Support Existing Businesses to thrive not just survive – Keep the surviving businesses afloat in appreciation of the fact that 80% of start-ups don’t live to see their 3rd birthday. The more surviving enterprises we have, the more they can potentially absorb the highly-skilled but unemployed youth we have. Yes, some of you will tell me that the ‘Mkokoteni’ rickshaw thing greatly improves the quality of life of the man selling groceries on your street corner. There are people with Bachelor’s and Masters Degrees now engaged in this venture. This is just objectionable as the potential of our skilled manpower critical to the attaining vision 2030 adjunct to playing our part in the SDGs is being grossly under-utilized. However, as Ezekiel Mphahlele puts it in his short story, “Man must live.”
- Create & Promote Endowment funds to support business – Encourage the co-operative spirit and table banking (which your spouse H.E. Rachel Ruto launched somewhere) among the youth as a route to fund mobilization for business as opposed to handouts. Capital and business expansion loans are easy to acquire here as you will be advanced a proportionate share of your contribution as a loan. Give the ‘mbogi’ a choice and intellectual input rather than merely shoving wheelbarrows down their throats as a cheap publicity stunt!
- Push for Subsidies & tax holidays for fledgling enterprises – You are the Deputy President, you can verily do this!
- Push for Building Technical & Software Innovation hubs – Leave that wheelbarrow narrative alone, my friend. It is way too old! Graduates teem jobless with IT-based degrees who can be gainfully-engaged here. Push for what we have at Lakehub, Nailab, iHub, Akira-Chix to the ward level countrywide to enhance our quest for industrialization.
- Business Incubation Centres – Not everybody was born an entrepreneur; consequently, we need mechanisms to shoehorn them into it. Youth is a time of bustling with youthful exuberance, energy, enthusiasm, innocence, proactivity & the audacity of hope; surely the best time to mold a human being into a steward of industry to run their own enterprise to profitability. If not you will brook despair that cascades to the dependency culture now on show at the theatre of the absurd bankrolled by our Deputy President!
- Push Sports as Business & Complete Building the Stadiums – Sports business is a massive global venture. The aforementioned youth full of energy and enthusiasm are within their window of life to ably engage in sporting activity as a means to sustenance. In the backdrop of our world-beating athletes winning Grand Prix the world over, we have no reason not to promote sports as a path to wealth creation. It pains me that a whole decade after the first Kenyan footballer; Macdonald Mariga won the Champions League with Inter Milan, I still have to be encouraging a senior state functionary to have the promotion of sporting ventures among his repertoire of youth empowering activities. Even he, you tried to use as a pawn in your dirty political machinations in Kibra. Utterly opprobrious! Today we have Victor Wanyama, Dennis Oliech among a myriad others decking the Halls of Fame as sporting luminaries worthy of emulation by the current generation of young Kenyans who have made it in life through sport and should no doubt pique the collective conscience of the Kenyan state to avail this opportunity to more of our youth. Closely tied to this is the issue of stadiums. Those not shackled with selective amnesia heard it from the horses’ own mouth that we were supposed to have 9 stadiums by today but instead, 9 excuses are all we can show for our troubles. Oh Jubilee Government, how low your estimation has gone among throngs of your adoring supporters!
- Mentorship programs are pivotal to tie it all up – If a man became a billionaire by selling eggs & chicken then it behooves him in appreciation of his high calling to mentor the rest of us to replicate that feat. To whom so much is given, so much will be asked back. Avail stewards of industry, business leaders and all who have made it in life to mentor the youth if you are really interested in their best interests. And keep away the clowns who say they started their multi-million shilling poultry empire with a single feather! We’ve already had too many funerals this year & don’t need any more. Moreover, Civic Education is key on the availability of empowerment opportunities and eligibility ought to be universal and not just in a politician’s voting stronghold.
The only saving grace for our Deputy President, for which I tip my hat is in creating hubbub around the plight of the underprivileged in society and forcing the entire state machinery to now sit up & take notice of their existence as a major bargaining chip in the Presidential succession equation. State President Uhuru and The People’s President Rt. Hon. Odinga were forced to launch endowment funds to support practitioners in the boda-boda sector which is admirable. In Kenya apparently, if you are not at the table then you could well and truly be on the menu. However, “Hustler Nation” narrative or not, we cannot explicate Dr. Ruto from the failures of the 10-year Jubilee kakistocracy. You cannot eat your cake and still have it.
In closing submissions, I urge our DP to brush up his know-how on a book I am almost certain he has read, ’48 Laws of Power’ by Robert Green. The principal precept is to ‘Never attempt to outshine your boss during his day in the limelight.’ More grievously; our Supreme Deity is unlikely to hold anyone blameless more so a Sunday School tutor of yore, for as iniquitous a transgression as trifling with his mighty name in vain. Take heed.