Weep not, ‘child’
“Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” Mark Twain
Politics is a dirty game. I hate dirt. Therefore it follows that I hate politics. But once in a while, I roll in the ‘mad’ just to confuse my enemies. Just like at times I watch Tom & Jerry cartoon or other times I sit through ninety minutes of football not only to see grown men cry (Arse ‘n all), but mostly to confuse my enemies.
I love the circus and comic relief that politicians provide once in a while and so I try to milk it dry. Kenyan politicians are full of theatrics. Some will speak horrible sheng in the spirit of connecting with the youth and post a video on youtube. Then you ask yourself, who is their target audience because most people who have internet access can indeed understand, even speak English! Others punch walls in ‘anger’ or spill maize flour in full view of fellow hungry Kenyans. We laugh at them only because we don’t want to cry.
Yesterday, as I flipped through the channels to sample the news headlines one story caught my eye. “27 year old joins bid for presidency” – this I had to watch.
“My name is Kingwa Kamencu, a 27year old Kenyan studying at Oxford University….” That’s all I got from the response she gave when one journalist asked who Kingwa Kamencu was. She talked fast like in a bid to prove something-maybe the fact that she could speak without thinking twice. I hoped that she would talk slow, sift through her words. Pause once in a while. I was disappointed.
Ok. Then she is asked what party she would be affiliated with. “I am not affiliated to any party. I am running as an independent individual” THAT’S IT, I didn’t finish reading the constitution when it was still in draft but correct me if I am wrong; shouldn’t someone who vies for presidency be affiliated to a political party?
In desperation (yes, I could sense some desperation) she was asked what she had done so far to champion development in Kenya “I have always blablablabla…” (who is chasing this girl, why is she talking so hurriedly) Then I caught this “We were involved in a clean up exercise in Eastleigh in….was it…20..03?” I look around. Who is she asking? She can’t remember? A CLEAN UP exercise? What am I doing? I should be running for presidency too!
The channel I was watching never showed her shed tears but had I seen that, I would have joined her in crying. WHAT WAS THAT?!
This morning Capital Fm hosted her in the morning show and Chris asked where they would get funding for campaigns. She digressed totally not answering the question. Janice raised the same question and Kamencu went round and round on how money was not important…then she finally settled on “We have enough money to see us through at the moment” Pocket money? Savings? WHAT? It has to come from somewhere, innit?
Coincidentally, I had watched Martha Karua being interviewed barely two days ago by Debarl on NTV’s morning show. I caught the show while it was just winding up and it appeared that they had over run it and were therefore cutting short the calls that were coming in. But when the host tried to hurriedly wind up Martha goes, “Wait. You haven’t’ asked me about my presidential bid. I was waiting for you to ask me about that” Debarl mumbled about lack of time etc etc. Martha goes ahead to make her plea “I would just like to briefly tell Kenyans that ….” And she goes ahead to say why she should be voted in as the next president! Debarl could not stop her and she took up a few more minutes of his time to plead her case.
In those few stolen minutes, she actually pleaded for votes. In fact she almost groveled which made me feel so powerful. I never got to listen to the whole plea but she took a tone that I had never associated with her before. A tone that seemed to say “Renee, I need you so much. I need your vote. Please let me help you make this country what it has never been. I can do it. Others have stolen from you and used and abused you without caring how you will make it through this tough life. But I can do all that and more. If you let me, I will make things OK again. I am capable of turning things around. Please?”
If I had to pick the appropriate tone used by Kingwa Kamencu, this would fit her bill “Hi (scratches her head for a name), I think I can be your next president. I really don’t know how we will hack it but WhatsHisName insists that I can do it; after all I am in Oxford University. At 27years old I am mature enough and willing to push my way to the top. In fact, I…eeh…WE once did a clean up exercise in Eastleigh, was it? That was in….in…2003 was it? Yeah. That’s how much we care about our country. We need change from bad leadership. Where we get funding for our campaigns is not important.”
I did not know a thing about Kamencu until yesterday, so I consulted my BFF google for more about this very gutsy individual. From what I found, I respected her more for what she has been doing as opposed to what she wants to do. I respect the fact that she has written a book “To grasp at a star” – I hope to read it soon too. I am impressed that it won the youth category of the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature, Kenya’s most prestigious literary prize. Being an only girl in a family of boys, I believe Kamencu has had to prove herself quite a lot and that could possibly be the reason behind her resilience. You have to commend her for that.
But she cried. Why? Weep not Kamencu. Because when you do that, you try to grasp at a straw and therefore, you don’t do yourself or your book, any justice. Don’t do that because it automatically makes you a side show and not a serious contender (unless that is what you really are). Don’t weep because when you do, you insult our intelligence. Don’t weep because your tears will not fetch you the votes you need. They instead make you fit perfectly into the stereotype of a young woman – weak, emotional and inexperienced.