To Presidential Hopefuls, It’s About Us; Not You


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No matter where we look in Kenya today, there’s someone somewhere who wants to be President and at the very least governor. The nutcases talking about senator haven’t read our constitution. The President and running mate ticket is one as is that of governor and senator. Read the relevant parts of our new election law before you open your mouth and kill your chances of even being elected village clown.

That said, the way Kenyan politics and media works is that once you make utterances with the words President, governor, senator and what have you, you start getting press mileage. Doesn’t matter that your chances are slim at best, you’re officially on the map. Anything you say or do will make news and in months to come will be used and held against you. Good luck.

I appreciate the spirit of the people who have declared interest in being President of this great nation, but I think they need to distance themselves from their bootlickers for two minutes and speak to people who have nothing to lose or gain from telling them the truth.

More than 90% of them haven’t a hope in hell. I know there’s a belief in a “surprise” candidate, there’s the hope that the hand of God will be seen and since there have been visions of the same, surely this presidency is only a heartbeat away? No.

I’d like to try and save a few of these people a lot of money, time and heartache by simply laying out the parameters that put them in the “unaweza”, “uwesmake” and “jive” clusters. I’m not going to name names – not yet, but I think the sooner we put some of these people on notice the better.

You see I categorize our current presidential hopefuls as follows: Those who want to be President as career advancement. They believe the electorate owes them a promotion. They are few and are worth listening to from time to time. There are those who can’t believe the sheer intellectual deficiency of the current political class and they are running on a platform of intelligence and action. Someone needs to tell them, that’s all fine and dandy, but this is Kenya; you must find the X-factor even when you have the smarts. IQ isn’t enough, you also need EQ (Google is your friend).

Then there are those who are running because they are so self-loving, so full of themselves they can’t see how we won’t elect them. With this lot, I urge you to eat all their money – all they have to offer is their egos for stroking. Stroke and eat, stroke and eat. And then there are those who are just plain delusional and probably unwell. These are the people who when they say they want to be President, even cab drivers want to know “of what?” Category Jive!

Yes, yes, I hear the voices of eloquent, smart, cultured people who think they have that Obama factor – allow me to clear the air of the misconception of an Obama factor – Chris Rock put it so well in the lead up to the last US election. America was so fed up they were willing to elect anything but another white man and an old white guy for that matter. They would have given it to a woman, a giraffe and even a black guy whose name rhymed with Osama. We are not where America was.

Personally, I know what I’ll want to hear in the days and months to come: a person who is in the moment, who is present and adaptable to what we want and will want in the future. Too many of these presidential hopefuls have a script from seven or eight years ago that they have been dying to put out. The problem is, the script needs an update and they can’t seem to update it. It’s like the person who comes to a radio station and says “good morning viewers”. He has wanted to say that all his life and the fact he was on radio was lost on him. Others are stuck in a music video while others are still re-hashing Obama’s Presidential campaign.

 To those trying to borrow too heavily from that model allow me to stop you before you make absolute arses of yourselves. Moments like Obama (not men, moments) come once in a lifetime. For Obama, the heavens, the planets and even the sheer telepathic power of people who couldn’t vote for the man were focused on his win. You cannot recreate the sheer cosmic power of that moment, what you can do is be tuned to what really matters to Kenyans, hit the ground and sell them back their dreams, not yours. Right now, most of our presidential hopefuls are talking about their dreams. We don’t care what you want; it’s about what we want. Get with the programme or get out of the way.

By Caroline Mutoko






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