By Peter Amunga.
During a gathering last weekend in Western, where several Luhya leaders were gathered (…including H.E. Musalia Mudavadi, Fred Gumo, and Stanley Livondo etc) , former KK senator Bonny Khalwale gave us a lecture about Hustler Nation. He had in mind a narrative being pushed THAT, President Uhuru Kenyatta (son of first President Jomo), ODM leader Raila Odinga (son of the first Vice President), Baringo Senator Gideon Moi (son of second President Daniel arap Moi) and presidential aspirant Musalia Mudavadi (son of powerful Moi confidant and Western supremo Moses Mudavadi) are dynasties.
It is a narrative being pushed by DP Ruto to create an ideological brand.
The hustlers-dynasties dichotomy resonates with millions of people who live from hand to mouth. It is a potent political tool because Ruto has pointed out an enemy that most people can see. Khalwale message to us was we are poor because we have been robbed.
In other words he is calling, Uhuru, Musalia, Gideon and Raila .. Robbers. That is a very serious allegation, that if left unchecked it can divide Kenya to the core. The hustler narrative is morphing into a blame-gaming narrative of us versus them. It’s not about growth, opportunity or hope. It is about hate.
The accepted wisdom is that people are poor because the national cake is not big enough to satisfy everyone. But the hustler narrative suggests that poverty is a result of elite accumulation and exclusion of the hoi polloi. So, you have hustlers who struggle to get by while the dynasties gorge themselves on the fat of the land courtesy of their privileged parentage.
A GOOD ECONOMY IS WHAT WE NEED. NOT DIVISIVE NARRATIVES
At such times there are politicians who will pursue all sorts of ideologies, agendas, manifestos, conversations and slogans with the ultimate aim of getting into power.
As voters it’s our duty to hold them accountable to those promises if they can remember them once they get into office.. Ruto made such promises when rooting for Jubilee. He promiised jobs, studiums, laptops, electricity. Non of those promises have come to pass. Him turning around to fight the same team he worked with, to the extent of labeling them robbers is unacceptable. That narrative will not hold.
We definitely need to place greater focus on the economic debate – on growth, opportunity & hope.
At the end of the day, the economy is the main thing. And so our politics needs to start bending towards solving economic challenges.
This kind of laser-like focus on the economy, in my view, is what has been missing all along in Ruto Hustler message. It is missing in the Raila handshake narrative. But it is very much present in Mudavadi message. Mudavadi is speaking about the ECONOMY. That is the messsage.