My Star column this weekend:
Barely a week before the November 8 election in the United States, Hillary Clinton suddenly realised a number of states that were previously safely in the Democratic Party basket could no longer be counted on.
This was a period she was facing an onslaught from her then opponent Donald Trump, with his appeal to American nativism, waging a campaign entirely based on lies and false promises.
One of these states was Michigan, where Hillary was forced to make a last-minute campaign appearance a day before the poll. As things would turn out, her appearance was too little too late to make any difference.
Had Clinton known the majority of voters in this usually friendly state for Democrats were ready to abandon the Democrats’ camp and vote Republican, she would have gone there much earlier in her campaigns: She didn’t. As a result, she paid dearly by losing in the state, which contributed to her losing the election.
President Uhuru Kenyatta faces the same situation and, therefore, will lose for exactly the same reason: That is waiting until it’s too late to address the needs of the voters in a county where he must get the same or more votes than he received in 2013, if he is to win on August 8. He has, however, done the opposite.
We’re talking about the county of Kisii. Like all Kenyans, voters in the Gusii region expected the President to deliver on his grandiose promises made ahead of the 2013 election.
Like a section of Kenyans, Gusii voters are disappointed that President Uhuru and his government have failed to deliver on these promises, and they’re too smart to be fooled with the gimmickry engaged in, trying to fool voters about what the government has done or is about to do.
We’re all too familiar with the many Kibaki-Raila era initiated or planned projects that Uhuru has been going around the country taking credit for as Jubilee when, in fact, they’re not: They’re only implementing what was placed in the pipeline by the Kibaki-Raila administration and even there, the poor pace of implementation is overshadowed by the wanton corruption bedeviling each of these projects.
The voters in Gusii are angry at the President for ignoring the needs of all IDPs from the area much as he ignored IDPs from other areas all these years in power — favouring those from his community and those from Deputy President William Ruto’s backyard, who were prioritised in the compensation plan. This is both indefensible and shameful.
Like Clinton, Uhuru has realised at the very last minute that the Gusii IDPs he has ignored all this time needed his attention, and he rushed there to give them long overdue compensation.
As was the case for Clinton, this, too, will be proven to be too little, too late for a number of reasons.
First, Uhuru made the announcement no different than President Daniel Moi’s famous roadside giveaways intended to buy votes, which Kibaki perfected. But in Uhuru’s case, he’s not owed a thank you, let alone votes for doing something the government was obligated to do years ago.
Second, the fact Uhuru and Ruto made sure only IDPs from “their people” were compensated handsomely and timely compared to this last-minute scramble to get votes is another reason the duo must be booted from office not just by Gusii voters, but by all who care about our oneness as a nation bila ukabila (without tribalism) and related vices such as this, where those who rig themselves into government use the same institution to only benefit their tribes.
Third, there’s no justification whatsoever why IDPs from Central and the Rift Valley can be given nearly double what the IDPs in Gusii are being promised or given.
Last but not least, change is long overdue and the way to express one’s anger against those in elective office, who don’t respect you or don’t care about your needs as an individual or as a group, is to boot them out of office, notwithstanding these last-minute Hail Marys.