Punguza Mzigo: The Politician Is Mwananchi’s Cruel And Ruthless Gatekeeper

In Kenya, turning 18 years of age does not only mean ‘permission’ to drive, indulge in alcohol, give sexual consent…etc It also comes with a political responsibility that also draws an individual to participate. Acquiring an identification card and a voter’s card is an emphasized part of becoming an adult in the country. The emphasis by the government that individuals actively participate in political agendas and processes is almost convincing that your word counts and actually impacts the end decision made by legislators.

Over the years, however, the rude realization that the Mwananchi is just a stepping stone to any decisions made is disheartening for an individual who either invested their energy or time trying to ‘make a change’ in order to be the ‘leader of tomorrow’. Campaigns in Kenya are the most deceiving times we have to live through. This is usually a period where you realise you have so many representatives in government as a Kenyan citizen, as a matter of fact, this is when you get to know their names and what political position they held and want to retain.

Politicians being a very conniving and deceiving clout then close their doors on citizens after gaining the vote and being admitted in government. The only other time these doors open is when a bill needs citizenry backing or abandoning. Usually, these are desperate times for politicians who then come out and bombard the Mwananchi with terms and narratives mostly reinforced with propaganda and hate speech instead of public education, therefore leaving the Kenyan confused and thrown off. In the past, this has resulted in ethnic and tribal wars due to a lack of a sober understanding of the intended political agenda or process.

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Promulgation

Like in most cases, Kenyans have been left to choose between sides. This is usually a division initially formed in parliament out of various interests and gains. Back in 2005, Kenyans were presented with a Banana & Orange campaign/bill. Basically, through voting, citizens were expected to vote for or against the new constitution by choosing between the two fruits. A majority of Kenyans could not comprehend the difference between the old and the new constitution but had to vote at the end of the day.

Politicians, on the other hand, took to the daises and instead of educating the Mwananchi, they dished out money, incentives, propaganda and hate speech against their rivals; and that is how we ended up with a new constitution in 2010. Years later, the new constitution has come to bite the same Mwananchi who gave consent. Like usual, the same politicians are now seeking major changes in the constitution and the Mwananchi is now of value.

Punguza Mzigo & BBI

Among other bills passed in parliament behind our backs, a referendum is looming as legislators seek to change parts of the constitution. Once again, Kenyans will have to take sides in favour of either their ethnic group or political affiliation without proper education on what and why voting is necessary. Punguza Mzigo for example majorly favours Wanjiku, however, Kenyans sit as they watch county governments shoot down the bill that intends to strengthen parliament and devolution, end gender imbalance, demystify the presidency, reduce the public wage bill, enforce integrity and a reduce the cost of elections in the country, all these agendas largely in the Mwananchi’s favour.

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Instead, Kenyans and county assemblies have been asked to wait for the Building Bridges Initiative report that has been said to be ‘better’ than the punguza mzigo which has led to a series of rejection of the bill across counties. The rejection mark you has not been inspired by the Mwananchi but theatrics and dirty politics that has seen Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) paid off to reject the bill. The powerful forces in high office are silent as they watch Mwananchi’s interests being watered down and let us not be fooled, this are the main puppeteers in all this. In summary, the Mwananchi has been reduced to political capital and decisions are made in five-star hotels as well as palatial homes and Wanjiku is just on the menu and not part of the discussion.

Gathoni Kuria

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