Recently we have been bombarded with toxic narratives about the importance of the “Hustler” a word exploited by politicians to denote impoverished masses, largely in their current circumstance due to deliberate negligence and contempt by authorities toward their plight and their standard of living.
Media alike have continuously regurgitated the imaginary importance of the “mama mboga’s, makanga’s, matatu drivers” and the likes, occasionally citing them within the construct of policy formulation and allocation of resources.
All of these have been lies coined by politicians to suppress the confidence of the middle class, who in essence are the key drivers of the economy. Infact, it’s the middle-class and not the hustlers who drive the economy and create jobs for those hustlers that William Ruto and Raila Odinga pander to.
As a middle-classer, you probably have no less than 10 hustlers on your payroll whom you directly and indirectly support. There’s your house girl (Mboch), there’s your Kinyozi or salon chic, there’s your grocery supplier (mama mboga), there’s your Uber guy (when you need to move), there’s a bodaboda (nduthi) guy, your mechanic, there’s your weed plug, miraa/jaba plug, the list is endless.
So the audacity of ODM bloggers led by Dikembe Disembe to belligerently keep regurgitating the narrative that there can’t be a successful revolution without the slum-dwellers (and by extension his god Raila Odinga), is a very simplistic view. We pay those slum-dwellers, not Raila. He only uses them as canon fodder in the war of attrition during protests but that’s as far as it goes.
ODM bloggers need to understand that nobody owes them or Raila a favor. As far as we are concerned, he’s been rewarded for his tireless service to Kenyans clamor for multiparty politics and the new constitution, gains he himself is trying to undo. ODM bloggers need not invoke their 2017 electoral woes everytime Kenyans seek to engage in discourse outside the realm of politics. Look for a different strategy to convey your lamentations and get over 2017.
It is through our industrious nature that we sustain the lower-classes and slum dwellers, people whose profound sense of entitlement has never allowed them to view life from those lenses. Because instead of joining together with the cluster of people who genuinely care for their interests, they would rather be used by politicians for personal gain.
Since Uhuru assumed office, we have seen a deliberate effort by government especially the Ministry of Interior, to undermine the middle class growth, largely because empowered people are not easily manipulated. They knew from the onset that to extend their stay in office, killing off the middle-class was a priority. All those trips that Uhuru made to Moi (and never at once visiting Kibaki) birthed the ideas of suppressing the middle class.
Moi the master of retarded politics oversaw the deaths of flagship industries in the country, by allowing cheap imports, industries which hitherto employed many Kenyans. This led to mass immigration of Kenyans to the diaspora, many being young and productive citizens who could have aided in nation building.
Uhuru was trained by the late Moi that to extend his rule, he must end the middle-class and remain with the pliable “hustler” masses, who can be easily mind-controlled through Githeri media and bribes during elections. And the lockdowns/curfews fitted into an already plan in motion.
Remember that Uhuru has been implementing an unwritten Sharia law in the country where the Ministry of Interior had begun enforcing an illegal curfew back in 2013 where anybody found in urban cities walking past 8pm, was arrested under the guise of “loitering”. Uhuru then blocked all access points into the city of Nairobi using ALCOBLOW, to deliberately deter revellers from accessing the CBD at night and kill the once bustling nightlife.
All the prime entertainment spots which served us with a lifetime of nostalgic memories shut down and have now been converted into Somali restaurants, which even before the pandemic, would shut down at 7pm rendering Nairobi to be one ghost-town.
Other than President Uhuru Kenyatta, recipients of bribes through then National Majority Leader Aden Duale were DP William Ruto, Interior CS Joel Ole Lenku, NTSA Chairman Lee Kinyanjui and NTSA Director General Francis Mejja. These five individuals oversaw the death of what was once a bustling Nairobi CBD which would have become a booming tourism and entertainment hub in the continent.
And with that came the loss of jobs and livelihoods for over 100,000 workers in restaurants and bars within the Nairobi Central Business District.
You will notice the deafening silence by William Ruto, Raila Odinga and virtually all other politicians as regards to the raging #UNLOCKourCOUNTRY debate, largely because it threatens their ambitions at ascending into high office and extending the thuggery initiated by Uhuru Kenyatta.
Politicians know that all the talk of a revolution will not spare them the agony of the working class, majority of whom can see through the lies and PR theatrics that they use to brainwash slum-dwellers and exploiting their numbers for personal gain.
The police have begun a brutal show of force, beginning with Saturday night’s roadblocks meant to muzzle the middle-class into submission and stop agitating for lifting of the containment measures, specifically crafted to undermine freedoms and rights as enshrined in the 2010 constitution.
A slight correction that there’s a difference between peaceful protest and what ODM adherents engage in, which is largely riots or confrontational protest.
And there are many strategies of conveying messages to impotent authorities like the current Jubilee regime, who continue displaying outright contempt towards the plight of the middle-class. Hereby I list some of the options.
1. Boycotting milk products of Brookside Limited, owned by the Kenyatta family (Ilara, Delamere, Kilifi, and Tuzo milk brands).
2. Boycott of both physical and mobile banking services offered by NCBA.
3. Boycott buying bricks from Kenya Clay Products.
4. Boycott Chartis-AIG Insurance
5. Boycott MediaMax stations and channels.
6. Boycott fueling at Rubis.
7. Boycott holidaying at Kenyatta-owned facilities like Heritage Hotels including the famous Voyager Beach Resort in Mombasa and the Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha.
8. Boycott Peponi School.
9. Boycott buying wood from Timsales Kenya Limited.
Over and above that, the current lobby groups seeking for the country to be unlocked, can call for a one-day strike, whereby all workers should stay home and not fuel the governments insatiable appetite for stolen funds, if they will continue using overpriced fuel and encounter police hostility on their way back home.
Boycotts have a long and important history of contributing to progressive social change, as well as succeeding in their more immediate goals.
In 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, causing protests across the country. Consumers chose to boycott Trump with their wallets. After the start of the #GrabYourWallet campaign, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom dropped Ivanka Trump’s products. Uber’s Travis Kalanick stepped down from Trump’s advisory board, Macy’s ditched Trump’s line of menswear, and the Trump Home Line is no longer available on Home Shopping Network. In 2018, Ivanka Trump decided to end her entire fashion line. The boycott may not have changed the world, but it did show that consumer dollars hold power.
So Kenyans, as we prepare to hit the streets later on, let’s start where it hurts most, the wallet. Now that the Kenyatta family have shown us out rightly that they’re not willing to reconsider and change the date from May 29th to atleast a month earlier, let’s get to work.
You are better off fighting this battle now because you have nothing left to lose.