​Democracy Is Expensive 

But What’s The Alternative?

Ps: Am at my best of trial to approach this aspect from neither of the political divide diehardness but your usual guy looking at democracy.

Democracy happens to be a game of numbers where the majority sail through their wide path as the minority play underdogs. Come to think about it. It might not necessarily be the right answer but since the verdict reads “may as many as are of this opinion say YES. The yes have it!” See it ends there. No one talks about the ‘No’ anymore. You guys remember the infamous ‘tyranny of numbers’ by a one Mutahi Ngunyi?

Across the world we’ve different systems of governance. I will mention them in a quick summary; Dictatorship, Mornarchy, Republic, Totalitarianism, Communist state, Autocracy, Democratic Republic, Federal Republic, Unitary state, Islamic state, One party state, Despotism, Emirates, Two party States, Federal Mornarchy, Devolution, Democracy, People’s Democracy. And I choose to stop here otherwise the list is endless.

Why I started all the way there is I want to bring you home to the fact that Kenya, rather ours is a democracy. I wanted to insert the word ‘young’ then it clicked that it’s been fifty four years of experience! You can’t be young at fifty four. Or can you? Fifty four to me sounds like it’s prime. That age at which Jack Ma says reflect on the beach back down stomach up. I am toying with the idea of turning this into a history lesson to bore you with stories of triumphs amid scars of historical injustices but I choose to hold my horses and spare that for another gloomy day.

We have has elections every five years since independence. Elections that have seen regimes recycled and rebirthed. A story of if you like, same monkeys different forests. Most important of them all I pick the 2002 elections that stamped out Moi’s long regime of dictatorial reign. Why and how? The opposition had morphed into a harmonious family baying for change. Moi having ruled for 24 years had in his own wisdom declared that his outfit KANU would rule for a hundred years. How that is possible on a democracy open with freedom to choose I still can’t comprehend. Personally I have participated in two elections 2013 then 2017. The later guides our today’s democracy Narrative. Perhaps we calculate the cost of democracy by first and foremost looking at the cost of elections.

IEBC is the body mandated to run elections in Kenya. IEBC as a parastatal has 937 employees across the state. There’s being a national mandate, covers a national geographic meaning 47 counties breaking down to 290 constituencies (otherwise know as take centres  in their terminology) That further breaks down to 40883 polling stations across the country. Now think about the human resource requirements. Think about the training needs. Think about the logistics. Think about the material requirements planning and the overall procurement oversight and you will bear witness that this needs budget. Budget that is taxpayers money.

Moving on with the election process and the campaign season sees the biggest of expenditures across the political divide. From party nominations. To campaign posters and signage. To political rallies. To grassroots mobilization. To political parties and candidate agents logistics. It’s such a spend you will not want to imagine. I will not fail to mention the Widely publicized peace campaigns by vested parties and stakeholders that obviously cost money!

Talking of peace and If you ask me I will boldly tell you that Kenya is such a peaceful country. In fact the second most peaceful Nation after heaven. Is it peace we need? Naa. What we need is justice for peace we have it already only that it’s being threatened by the mushrooming injustice. The perpetrators and orchestrators of injustice have been hiding behind sneaky calls for peace in a peaceful country. Let’s call a spoon a spoon and face the real elephant in the room. Otherwise history will judge us on the wrong side of things.

See there are unscrupulous chaps in this city. Like ‘business’ people who will sell you land. You part with your hard earned chums only to realise, to start with, they are squatters themselves. But most often there are Jamaas who are pharmacists dealing in drugs. Not the usual ones though. So everyone gets to ask what do you do in this town? And I delve into a paragraph answer; “Am Tony. Am a BRAND Enthusiast. I blog and lately am a Social Entrepreneur. I write about big life ideas and give branding advice that doesn’t suck. Some people say am funny yet others ask we meet over Coffee then it’s a different Narrative”  then they rephrase that question to “boy what exactly do you do in this town?” Then I get this feeling that life has more urgent stuff to mind that explaining all day. How is this relevant anyway? I own and run some enterprise that’s all about brand building spotlighting the areas of sales, marketing and advertising. We primarily help other brands grow. So this year business is been decimal low. Why? You ask? Democracy. Democracy because it’s been  an election year and you write contracts to chase business and everyone of them says “can we talk about your proposal after Elections?”  (Just to remind you guys who said we talk after Elections that it’s about that time. How about coming Monday?) You choose to sound like a cool guy and say “yes” When back at your mind you are renting “but I have bills to run!” Am not alone in this I bet. But elections make everything else slide into a stand still. Come on we can’t do anything else because we are bound to vote?

If you happen to have some chunk of time left out of your busy day and read me as often, I wrote about the 2007 elections_the Post Election Violence (PEV) school disruption. Then the 2013 elections_my ghetto based shop. Fast forward 2017 and the electioneering period is been here. The nation has been disturbingly barricaded into two facets. One side composed of the NASArites angling for the statehouse. The other camp was Jubilites clinging on anything but to remain in power. So we exchanged nasties on Facebook, went to sleep and woke up to count days like would a pregnant teenage. We voted. The air smelt of animosity. People preached peace. Results hang somewhere between reality and hope. A president was announced. Some areas broke into mimi_violence. Police descended on civilians. Media played a seat on the fence. Baba talked. (I don’t know but the thing with Raila, he speaks when he speaks. But in his silence still he speaks.) Calmness peeped. Now sales is part of what we do at TWIC. My team had distributed out there merchandise to the tune of $2000 awaiting pay collections. In case violence broke loose, we stood to loose all that as an enterprise. They were on the verge of losing a livelihood. So I feared standing trial at Kibera law courts as soon as it cooled off explaining to men in suits of how am planning to pay off their godamn debts. Such is the fate of a youth finding his own different Narrative in a country under political capture. Such are the Sorry prospects of democracy. This will thus guide some write up on FEAR and a separate one on RISK.

This time around, we refused to play naughty. We refused to chest thumb and declare we know our rights. We didn’t really want much (rather I didn’t) . Those trusted with conducting the election affairs, we only needed that you give us a real winner. Because we are coming from a past of asking “who really won?” personally I  really didn’t want to give myself higher than life expectations because well, elections will mostly disappoint. My bet rather was, whatever the outcome, let peace prevail. But sorry peace with a tagline of some pint of justice if it couldn’t be served in full.

Not that am being envious of his ‘overnight celebrity’ status. Why should I anyway? But there’s more that meets the eye with that #GitheriMan Narrative. I mean it started reading stage_managed. The timing. The overate. And him being on all media channels acting like eating Githeri in public is the greatest thing that happened in history after sliced bread. There has to be something media was hiding from us with this fallacy. After all I was queued all day at Kilimani Primary chewing on my Juicy fruits like a she_goat and no one bothered to take a pic of me. I voted and stayed away 400 meters away from the polling station despite my house being 40 centimeters away. Am I the only one feeling shortchanged?😢 shortchanged because local media for ones refused to play their maiden role of educating, entertaining and informing in as far as election matters were concerned and instead slid into political meddling. Like the above Narrative of githeri man was totally of wrong timing. Some sort of delay tactic. Swaying public from the real issue at hand; election results. Kenyans thus slid into a self imposed house arrest that was threatening an economic sabotage of a kind.

For the government; one thing every citizen hopes for is the independence and the aspect of separation of powers to the instance that state organs are concerned. If by any chance the IEBC conducted it’s affairs without first hand intervention by the executive as its been vehemently raised by the opposition and other players, may be we could not end up at the place we are between a rock and a hard place. Yes we know across Africa seating governments bask in the glory of incumbency but that should not mean transparency is compromised. You sailed through. Now the uphill task which is the elephant in the room if I might say is healing the political wounds.

The opposition and fellow leftists, as things stand, you lost. Sorry but yes you came second and democracy only seems to give hearing to the majority. Your place and position earns you the minority tag. Unless you have a well articulated fighting back plan that does not involve us going to the streets to run battles with the police who are at liberty to shoot to kill and since you declared court is no option judging from the past, save us from the whole menace.  The school of hard nocks says “When democracy fails, apply force” but No! We don’t want to go down that route. Not when the fresh scars of 2007 still linger in our memories. Not when we know am eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind. For that’s the spirit that force breeds. Infact I want ramble. Ramble because initially you’d told us to play our part which is turning out in numbers to vote then leave the rest to you to handle. You even reiterated that this time around, there’s no crying foul over stolen votes as its been in the past. We played our part. Why the old beaten Narrative?

Democracy being a game of numbers is about galvanizing as many as one finds fit. This unfortunately most of the time is used wrongly. Like politicians especially use the numbers to front their own bargains or settle personal scores. 2007 Kenya fights. Kofi Anan and team mediates. We get a new baby girl. She’s hurriedly baptized grand coalition Government. Power is shared out half for president. Half for the premier. We endure the most ballooned government of all time because it’s two regimes in one. We have issues with our maize. A one prime minister fires a one Ruto as agriculture minister. The president restores him citing lack of consultation. I think notes down. He jumps ship from ODM to space first then URP. He’s out to teach Raila a political  lesson. Years go. ICC happens. 2013 an political marriage brews between Ruto and Uhuru clinching statehouse. It’s how partly we end where we are.

But people there is hope. There’s hope at the end of the tunnel for the dynasties are serving their last. We are all but about to do away with them. Let’s face it this election thing here is been an ego issue. A supremacy war of a kind pitching mostly the Kenyattas against the Odingas. And us the proverbial grass suffering in their deadlock disagreement. Uhuru serves his last. He’s no option but to retire. Not unless the power gods coerce him to extend the president term limit which will be one word ‘disaster’ As it is, we don’t have a definite government in place pending election disagreements over presidential results. Raila on his side maybe he pushes on with his out of the ballot revolution. Or peaceful mass action against autocracy. Better still being the statesman he is, calls it quits with life and hangs his huge political boots. Then slips let’s say into philanthropy as the elite westerners do. And slides away from the glaring public limelight traversing the villages of Asia perhaps talking to chaps about democracy in Africa and it’s misdoing. Asia because back home comics will keep licking his political wounds. Come next election, we will no longer have Kenyattaism or Odingaism to mind. Just new names fighting same old war! 

Perhaps not wholesomely proven but someone might be tempted to say and based on the concluded election: 

1. Kenya belongs to two communities. Majority of members of the two communities are constantly seeking to rejoice in atrocities meted on the other communities.

2. In 2007 the clergy buried itself. In 2013, the Judiciary committed suicide. In 2017, local media successfully poisoned itself

3. Parties, national sport events etc are just an ‘adhesive’ that ‘bonds’ ‘friends’ and reduce magnification on the angst that separates us. If you want to know who your friend truly is, have a contrary political opinion to theirs & later on have guns traded at you. Your ‘friend’ will justify every reason for pulling of the trigger

4. According to election statistics, 46% of the nation thinks otherwise. And 54% won’t care

You will not maybe understand democracy and to what effect politics not unless you have participated first hand not just as an observer or voter but a candidate who happened to lose. Have a look at a case in point. Be the judge;

“I’ve had a front seat to an election defeat.

Nay…not just one…

I watched my dad lose 3 elections. 

It wasn’t funny. He spent hours outside in the yard reading his Bible. I guess he really wanted to find out if God was still with him. 

We suffered too. The third defeat was especially bad. Every polling station he lost at was announced with mockery.

Our house was sold because of campaigns,we went back to paying rent after forgetting landlords for over 20 years… My mum aged literally. 

Bank loans were vehemently recalled and “friends” recalled loans in very unfriendly manners and yet money was scarce, we were humiliated and laughed at, his phone went silent overnight and yet his incoming calls had been coloured continuously with big shots calling during the campaigns. He had mingled with the high and mighty and now his phone calls to them went unanswered or were rudely  cut off with messages of “Im in a meeting, I’ll call you later” that never ever materialized because the “meetings” never ended.

All the guys who used to throng our house telling him he was the King disappeared overnight. Some bought cars and plots with the money he had dished out to them for campaigning for him that they instead put on their pockets.. 

His blood pressure rose and he had to be on meds. So did my mother’s.Eventually she needed to have a heart pacer put in. 

It was hard hard time.

Some of the people who have lost in this election are experiencing that loss. 

It is like a death in the family. It really is.

Especially when you spend so much and invested your spirit wholly into it.

This election…….Is especially hard because there was a whole 3 months between the nominations and elections and some felt that they were in the “right” party and were home and dry. 

90 days of people telling you you were the King or Queen..massaging your ego, calling you “Mheshimiwa mtarajiwa”,demanding money for lunches, fuel,PA system, paying people,mobilizing…what not.

Yet in those same 90 days, someone Re-strategized and beat you.

It’s hard.

Some losers were arrogant and deserve it but ultimately you wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone. Not even your enemy.

As we celebrate the winners……..let’s also remember the losers who are more in number.

To all of you who tried and didn’t make it, take heart.

Sometimes you have to try more than once n twice or thrice to win.

Other times you have to have to ask God for the wisdom to know when this isn’t the path for you.

Ultimately no loser gets zero votes and that’s a plus.

You convinced SOMEONE.

Let that fuel you.

Fight the depression,pick yourself up and walk  .

This life is for fighters.

And winners are losers who never quit.

Aluta Continua”

(Source: Levi kones  – facebook) 

Just to note:

Constitution of Kenya

Part 1. Electoral system and process


Parent Category: Chapter Seven – Representation of the People

The electoral system shall comply with the following principles–

(a) freedom of citizens to exercise their political rights under Article 38;

(b) not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender;

(c) fair representation of persons with disabilities;

(d) universal suffrage based on the aspiration for fair representation and equality of vote; and

(e) free and fair elections, which are–

(i) by secret ballot;

(ii) free from violence, intimidation, improper influence or corruption;

(iii) conducted by an independent body;

(iv) transparent; and

*(v) administered in an impartial, neutral, efficient, accurate and accountable manner.*

Democracy Is Expensive because it costs us money. It costs us resources. It costs us unity. It costs us time. And worst of it all it costs us emotions. There is nothing in history that leaves us as a people divided as an election in Kenya! Yes. Democracy is expensive But What’s the alternative?





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