In 2002 my driver had two butcheries and he was a matatus driver. He had bought a piece of land and he was building a house. He used to have at least 3 thousand in his pocket every day as profit at the end of the day. When Kibaki came into power he expected things to get better but they didn’t. He had to close his butcheries and because of Michuki rules he had to stop driving a matatus and get a job with a company. The hassle of being a driver harassed by cops every day stopped being worth it.
He says that he preferred Moi. “At least with Moi we had money. Kibaki says he brought economic development but this only benefits the rich.” He asks me why the price of basic foodstuffs has shot up by between 50 – 100%. Yes there was corruption in Moi’s era but the people down there had money. Things were affordable. Now people are struggling. “Is that economic development,” he asks me. “And if it is whose development is it?”
There are many people like him. People who will vote for Waititu because at least he understands their problems. Waititu they believe cares about their issues. They don’t want to hear about economic development of Nairobi. This usually benefits the rich not the poor. Waititu, my driver says, will fix things for the poor and if the poor are doing well the economy will do well and so will the rich. It’s basic but true. Kibaki fixed the economy for the rich not the poor. The poor became poor even as basic foodstuffs and essential things like kerosene went up. Everywhere we go on our sales route which includes some of the slums of Nairobi the people say the same thing. “Waititu will look out for us!”
It is very easy for the middle class to say that they don’t want Waititu for governor. They want Nairobi to be a truly metropolitan city, 24 hour economy. But who will benefit from that economy, is it the rich or is it the poor who are barely making it?
Watching Citizen TV on Sunday Live I was ready to solidify my disdain for Waititu. After all he is a crude man, prone to throwing stones. He isn’t the type of man I would want for my governor. Now that Jimnah had been kicked out of running by the voters I was going to vote for Kidero. But watching Waititu I was surprised and I was surprised by what happened to me. I got converted. Waititu has passion, passion for the people. He doesn’t want the power for power’s sake. He wants power to make things better for his people. He wants them to have an education, sewerage systems, roads, good houses etc. his passion is genuine, and the people can tell. That’s why they want him as governor. I changed my mind about Waititu. I don’t think he would make the best governor in terms of strategic planning and diplomatic relations etc. but I do think in terms of delivering services to most of the residents of Nairobi who are the poor I think his heart is in the right place and he will deliver.
Nairobi doesn’t belong to the rich and the middle class. The city’s majority population is the poor and most of them live below the poverty line. This is their Nairobi too. They want somebody who doesn’t only look at creating jobs and opportunities for the rich and middle class but thinks about them too.
So we don’t agree with Waititu becoming Governor. Tough. Get used to it. The people have spoken. We the middle class refused to watch out for the poor’s interests. So they have chosen somebody who can. Deal with it. We wanted a revolution but we were too lazy to rise from our sofas or in front of our TVs, laptops, and playstations to go safeguard our rights. We could not be bothered to take time off work to attend the nominations. The poor, some of them who forfeited their daily wage to go and vote, did. Their revolution has just begun. It was silent; they didn’t take up stones and take to the streets. They just took the weapon they had their vote and put it to good use. So don’t look down on their choice. You had a choice too and you stayed home to watch as the revolution began.
The revolution has begun.