Letter From a Ugandan with Advice to Kenyan voters

Seeing that we are just two years out of an election here in Uganda, it is only prudent for us to impart some words of wisdom to you our Kenyan brothers and sisters as you make the most important decision for your country in just a few weeks.

Hullo warafiki, I hear that a few weeks from now you will be making the most important decision for your country—choosing the next cabal of politicians to basically rip you off as taxpayers.

In the last few months, you have been bombarded by all manner of campaign messages, promising you all manner of things. If you have been having a single meal a day, I guess some politician has told you how once you elect him, your meals will, without explanation, multiply to thrice a day.

In semi-arid northeastern Kenya, I will not be surprised if another politician has promised to convince the climate to become friendlier and assured you how if elected, the long-dry seasons will be replaced with the rainy ones.

Those are politicians for you. Don’t think yours are any different. Just the other day in the UK, the MPs were clamouring for a salary raise when their government is struggling to cut costs. I am told your waheshimiwa before they ended the last Parliament made a raft of demands—including a state funeral whenever they died.

It is a pity President Mwai Kibaki denied them this wish—I could see some crazy chap walking into that House strapped with some explosives and granting them this wish en masse.

But away from sinister thoughts, I felt I should share with you some tips as voters, seeing that we are just two years out of an election here in Uganda.

Rule Number One is that you are a darling in this courtship season. And like a woman who is being chased before settling and becoming part of his “property”, you should squeeze whatever you can get from your suitor at this moment.

This is the moment a candidate should fix your leaking roof, pay your children’s fees and where possible ensure weeks of free-flowing booze. Do not hesitate to milk the candidates dry because in return, when they make it to office, they will loot your dry.

As Ugandan voters, we are very proud of ourselves. We pushed the politicians so hard that they even raided our Treasury just to ensure we were happy. Had the election dragged on for even an extra month—I think the economy would have crumbled. That is what a good voter does- milk a candidate so hard that if there is no milk, he produces blood.

Secondly, forget this sijui Jubilee sijui CORD alliance. Those alliances do not put bread on your table. Your vote should go to the highest bidder. The party that drowns your village in changaa is the party to vote for. Truth be told, for the next five years, you will crave to see these Honourables but unless you have money to buy newspapers or buy a TV, it will remain that—a wish. Don’t be fooled by the choppers criss-crossing your skies and how each candidate is willing to shake your hand however dirty your palms are. It is a ritual they know they must go through as they wait to dip their soft fingers in warm towels during breakfasts at five-star hotels as they get rid of the stains you left in their palms.

Thirdly, by now you must have heard of things like investment and savings. The politicians have told you how when voted they will grow your economy by increasing investments while managing savings.

Of course they are lying. What they exactly mean is when voted, they will ensure your taxes solve their personal problems or grow their personal investment profiles. Some bit of selfishness is therefore called for here. You should practice these things starting with yourself.

As the sugar, paraffin, OMO and other goodies do the rounds; just know that after March 3, none of these will be as easily available as they are now. It is therefore wise to ensure you stock some of these in your bedroom.

Do not consume like the elections will not come to an end. And this being a Kenyan election, if 2007 is anything to go by, it is not over until it is over. The stocks might come in handy just in case some chaps decide to make the place ungovernable for a while as they dispute the results.

Kura yako ni haki yako, enjoy the season and vote wisely!

By Don Wanyama


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