Speaking Kenyan Politics: Language

One language that we have not yet learned is that of speaking to one another across political barriers. My dear Kenya has spent the week in the first set of party primaries for the upcoming general elections. With over 40,000 candidates vying for the complex tiered county governments (47 of them) senate, and parliament, the primaries are much like the athletic heats which determine which Kenyan athletes make it to the international stage. The difference being that winning any of the seats is a guarantee of a hefty salary with perks that may extend beyond one’s term. As you can imagine, the polls are filled with colorful language that does not seem to have limitations. The winners list seems to be filled with new, younger, and untested faces. The first big bit was: Fagia Wote (Sweep Them All Out!) where voters decided they were done with several big names.

And now the major primary contests are all but over. The tribunals featuring primary election complainants are sitting day and night resolving one dispute after another. What started off as a full field of the same faces from the last election has been given a makeover with less of the old, and more new, fresh faces. Some of the mighty have fallen, the unlikely underdogs replacing them. A few of the previously heartbroken losers from previous contests can scarcely believe they are back. We are still mostly armchair political pundits roasting those we managed to catch on camera in the heat of the contests. We still have not learned to speak to one another. We still think it is virtually an anomaly to have someone win a contest in a region that does not match his name. We are still eating the mashed foods of young learners in modern day Kenyan politics.

Also, we are learning the meaning of the phrase: Independent Candidate. This is the place those unsuccessful in the primaries, and unwilling to concede will find their way to the electoral box. Kariuki has a meme you need to take a sec and chuckle at, that describes what this means to the man on the street.

And me, what language am I searching for now? I am a registered voter in Kenya – so I can afford to talk. Thinking deeply about how to write about my choices for MP, as of today being between Boniface Mwangi, Jaguar and Steve Mbogo for Area MP. On that I need new language too.

So who else am I watching talking about Kenyan politics on the internets?

Who are you watching and listening to regarding the elections in Kenya? Drop me a comment or write your own post in response

Josephine