Yes, politics may be unpleasant but, like boxing, the first rule is to never close your eyes…

I get many reactions (and insults) in my blogging but I would like to directly respond to one that I have received periodically but one that is increasing as we approach the elections. I hear from some Kenyans that our politics is dirty, our politicians are tribal, corrupt and useless and therefore they do not want to engage in politics. Some even claim they will not vote. One recent post provoked this article when the writer said, “I hate politics coz it contributes nothing to my life”.

Now, I have a lot of respect for all my readers and for all their opinions, even those who do not agree with me – especially those who do not agree with me and give well reasoned arguments why.  It does not mean they or I are always right. But this type of opinion is what we call “kupoteza network”!

I concede that people have the right to decide to actively get involved in the political process or not. I use the word “actively” advisedly. This is because in life, you are ALWAYS engaged in political processes. The difference is whether you are “actively” aware and involved or unaware and imagining that you are un-involved. So if anyone decides to be aloof, let them. But, let them not cheat themselves that by their aloofness, “politics contributes nothing to their lives”.

IT DOES!

Everyone should know that everything you do, how you do it and how successful it is depends on the politics of where you live and how you respond to those politics either consciously by getting involved or unconsciously by being aloof and letting the politics impact on you passively. The fact that you refuse to get involved, the fact that you refuse to even acknowledge the impact of politics in your life does not remove that impact. In fact by refusing to acknowledge and get involved, you allow politics to have the most damaging impact  on you.

A friend of mine gave me an anecdote many years ago and I think it fits well here. He told me that once he tried boxing. He got into the ring with a trainer to spur. When the whistle was blown, the trainer threw a jab straight to his face and instinctively, he closed his eyes. The blow knocked him out cold. When he came to, his trainer gave him his first lesson in boxing; “Never close your eyes”.

To claim that you will not get involved in politics because “it contributes nothing to my life” is to get into the boxing ring with life, see a jab coming and close your eyes. Politics and politicians will throw jabs at you all the time. You can choose to do something about it, or you can choose to close your eyes. If you do something, you will control what happens to you. If you close your eyes, you will knocked out cold. Politics affects everything you do, and this does not matter what you think about it, whether you are involved or not.

Politics affects where you go to school, the type of school it is, where it is located, what you learn there, who teaches you and how; it affects the economy that you seek to work in whether as an employee or as a self-employed business person. It affects how much money you can make, how much of it goes into your pocket and how much of it goes to the government.  It affects whether you will actually have access to your money or not and how much and when. It affects whether you can keep the money or whether it will be snatched from you the very moment you withdraw it. Politics affects who you can spend your money with, send your money to and who you cannot and how much of it you can send, at what time and for what purpose. It affects the quality and price of what you will buy with your money. Politics affects what you can say and what you cannot say. Who you can meet and where and what you can talk about and for how long.  Politics affects the type of healthcare you get, where and when and if you will die or live. Hordes of Kenyans died during the Doctors’strike. They did not die from their ailments, they died from politics. Politics affects what type of punishment you get for your crimes and it determines whether you live or die for some crimes.  It affects how you get married or divorced, who you can get married to and who you cannot.  Politics affects who you can worship, how and where and who you cannot.  Politics decides whether you will live in a prosperous peaceful nation or you will live in a backward tribal and poverty stricken Country.  Politics will affect all these things whether you like it or not. You can choose to open your eyes and engage, or you can choose to close your eyes and get hit.

In this country the younger generation does not seem to relate what they do day to day with politics because we have made a lot of progress in securing some basic freedoms. However, these freedoms did not just come. They were fought for by people who entered the ring and fought back, they did not close their eyes. If they had closed their eyes, the reader who said that “politics contributes nothing to my life” would now know that politics affects everything in their life.

I have even heard some people say they are so disinterested or disillusioned with politics that they will not vote. Again these are the folks closing their eyes at the jab coming at them. There is nothing like not voting. David Foster warned us:

If you are bored and disgusted by politics and don’t bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched Establishments of the two major parties, who please rest assured are not dumb, and who are keenly aware that it is in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored and cynical and to give you every possible reason to stay at home [on voting day]. By all means stay home if you want, but don’t [cheat] yourself that you’re not voting. In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.

Need I add more.

I agree it is your right to decide if, how, when and where to engage in politics. It is even your right not to engage. Whatever decision you make, do not make it under the false premise that “politics contributes nothing to my life”. To borrow Foster’s term, do not [cheat] yourself that politics does not affect you. It does. It determines so much in your life whether you acknowledge it or not. It is even worse when you decide not to engage because you will have bad politics and bad politicians impact on your life and their jab is ruthless and merciless. Yes, politics and politicians can be unpleasant but, like boxing, the first rule is “never close your eyes…”. It will knock you out cold…

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227 comments

  1. It affects our lives,a good example can be copied from Mr. Trump who is now the president of America and the former regime of Mr.Obama. Today in America we have travelling bans from some countries in the world unlike during the times of president barrack Obama and that is all about politics.

  2. Perfectly analysed and served article. You close your eyes ur knockef out cold! Prof i av also heard some paragons saying they av never voted n wl never because haiwahusu ndewe au sikio but yhe truth is politics and politicians affect every activity they undertake daily! Am a businessman and i can tell them how politics comes in to my business!

  3. I look at Mutahi Ngunyi talk his politics and finds it rather baseless, he talks of ‘Pharaoh’ for instance that never existed in Kenya…our politics is dirty and we must accept it and find a way to deal with it

    • Professor Michael Wainaina – PhD Mutahi Ngunyi is the god of both Kalenjin and Central Kenya political analysis, yet he do not even believe in devolution and the new promulgated constitution of Kenya; that serves best to the interest of the citizen, imagine of Moi being president of Kenya for 24 years! yet We still talk of hunger in Baringo, it is just funny how low self esteem is driving us back. Kenyatta and Moi families have booked our voters card that they even walk around saying, ‘WATU WENGINE HAWATAWAHI KUWA MARAIS KENYA HII’ and Kabogo will add up by saying ‘KWA SABABU HAWAJATAIRI’ hehehehehheheee…This why some see no reason to vote

  4. Mr ‘NARATIVE’Waineine sijui wainana you are a political nonetity stop blogging and look for for something to do your politics is like ‘looking for a virgin woman in a maternity ward bure kabisa n’

  5. Hello prof.. Niko na swali ningependa unijibu, hawa wanaosema ati sonko haez manage Nairobi at coz hakusoma ni kweli? na huku gavana wetu Joho pia hajasoma na anatawala vizuri.

  6. Congrats prof. Once again for creating awareness about the need for Kenyans to take politics serious in their lives ,especially when voting and when making proposal for county budget estimates and to oversight the full implementation of those budget proposals to the letter and spirit. We must hold our leaders accountable and ensure,every expenditure is scrutinised to avoid inflated figures and over priced goods and services.They are our hard earned taxes and therefore,we must get involved in how the funds are utilised for our own benefit.

  7. There was this group of German officers who were comited to remaining out of politic as the Nazis were rising. What happened is that they ended up taking orders from these fools never mind that they let one of the biggest human tragedies take place

  8. Politics is the way of life,To quote Mzee Moi-siasa mbaya maisha mbaya,we the people are the ones who determine the life of politics we need,What hapenned in Gambia is a big lesson to us,We can chart our way of life if we stay focused on the positive side of it,Nothing or nobody can stop an idea to happen when a resolved mind stick to it,We can and we are able to change the dirty politics in our country if we resolve to do what is right

  9. It is people like you who discourage pple from voting so stop pretending u lable evry leader tribal na putting it as if evry leader in Kenya is a tribalism n evry major political party is bad I always wonder what u want ppl to do coz kila MTU ni mbaya u are the Messiah u are always right others are wrong.u will have to vote just ppl what political side u support coz evry one knows who u support so stop pretending. You spend almost evry post criticising odm n their failed election just the other day the same happens on jubilee u menyamaza ukabila haikuruhusu kuongezea hayo

    • I can see you are very annoyed because I said that ODM elections are conducted by men in black. Well that is true and you do not have to hate me for that. Yes, I have said that NASA and Jubilee are useless and they will take us nowhere. They are all driven by siasa ya ukabila, ukora na upuzi. That was my position yesterday, today and it will be my position tomorrow.

    • Hate u for what Mr I don’t even know u so u won’t vote ama .now u see ur hiprocracy u tell ppl to go out n vote n according to u they should vote for Jesus ama sijui unataka wafanye aje Kenya has great politicians negative ethnicity kama hiyo yako is what I is bad I told u hata mchawi huona uchawi kwa kila kitu u are a tribal person that I can tell u for free.

    • Tribalism is is included even in our constitution wainaina that’s why there are certain percentages of that must be of different tribe in the counties n public posts when someone points out this to u it’s now tribal the govnt overborrowing personalises politics like in the case of joho there is drought ppl are dying inflation is high kazi yako I evry post is lebaling evry thing ukabila I tell u u are a very tribal person I don’t hate u I disagree with u don’t put pple in desperation odm cord NASA. Jubilee has great leaders in them wacha kufanya watu wasipige Kura ama wewe usimame

    • Ethnicity is not wrong there is no problem with pokot forming a group to educate their children or having a sports or singing group it doesn’t mean it’s negative Mr hata si tulienda shule so u mean we have a tribal constitution coz it talks about the ethnic component in counties n public n civil service

  10. Well put congrats Professor you only need to look at how politics made so many people die during the doctors strike in order to realize that politics affects us all the time whether negatively or positively

    • Hi prof…I went to Rwanda on a program on peace and was astonished on how progressive they are now…I talked to a few locals comparing their situation n ours and I was shocked when a wife who lost a hubby in the genocide told me that its sad wat they went through but proud of it because it made them sober and focused. What we are going through in Kenya is watu wame dharauliana so much and what they need is more than revolution to make us respect each other. I know such might look distasteful as professional to you but its the only remedy this country badly needs…. Analyze the comments and you will see my point. I work in western and the level anger buried deep inside is so worrying and trust me if it erupts only a super natural being will intervene.

    • Yeah Kenya is not Rwanda… This the same script leaders in Kenya keep telling us to confuse and scare us wazidi kutupora…. I know it ain’t Rwanda prof. but time will tell.

    • Hi prof am back and this time I want you to engage the public through your blog on facts about the development the government claims to have achieved. Plz without taking sides and roping the opposition into these argument, let start a conversation on fact finding to separate truth from propaganda…. I’ll start with roads. Is it true 7000 km of road has been constructed? Is it true all the class ones have tablets? Is it true there’s free Maternity? Is it true that corruption has gone down..we can start by interrogating the few with the public….

  11. Mr professor, the fact that I do not take part in voting doesn’t mean I close my eyes in political ring, I do politics but I can’t vote bcoz people are not equal in almost everything and I will accept this political thing that one man one vote. (people should have number of votes according to their class, may be by profession or by wealth)
    Second : I don’t believe in majority rules, I consider myself a man of facts and I will stand against a million people with my fact.

  12. I agree with you 100%. When you present logical facts, I can’t fault. Hoping for more of the same. I hope it’s not because it didn’t touch on the protagonist parties.

  13. What will it take for you to be removed from KTN morning? You hog airtime. You’re obviously biased. You come across as a condescending know-it-all. You made me boycott KTN mornings

  14. Surely I can’t agree. When more than half the country is taken for granted. Stolen elections are not funny. A looser jotting the way out is time wasting.

  15. Nice explanation to every Tom,Harry and Dick.However I enjoyed reading your article with an insatiable interest because I played boxing up to the international standard and true you don’t close your eyes to a jab meant to strike your face but block it with an open glove!

  16. though am allergic reading long narratives, professa#wainash i understood the crux in ur argument bt surely what ll be the essence of voting if the majority of the voters who voted never leads?this denial of truth(victories) in our elections is what ostensibly dishearted the hoi polloi.

  17. Well structured to sum up the ups and downs in the political envrnmt where ALL complain after a 50% voter turnout. What we shld check after elections is #reg. voters vs # voter turnout. if turnout> total votes cast by over 20% then let the winners carry the day. coz even the votes not cast are theirs indirectly. Noise and cry shld ve been applied in taking those who didnt vote to the polling stations.

  18. Yes bwana professor but not in kenya. Here we have quack doctors, incompetent professors (i hope you r not one), crooked judiciary, very poluted air….so bear with us. We don’t even trust our pastors!!!!

  19. You are very tribal in your thoughts and actions…… It is so sad that people like you will never contribute positive to this nation. Its high time you need to change and write only what unite us as KENYANS COZ WE ARE TIRED WITH THIS DIVISION ON TRIBAL LINES!!

  20. Hi prof…I went to Rwanda on a program on peace and was astonished on how progressive they are now…I talked to a few locals comparing their situation n ours and I was shocked when a wife who lost a hubby in the genocide told me that its sad wat they went through but proud of it because it made them sober and focused. What we are going through in Kenya is watu wame dharauliana so much and what they need is more than revolution to make us respect each other. I know such might look distasteful as professional to you but its the only remedy this country badly needs…. Analyze the comments and you will see my point. I work in western and the level anger buried deep inside is so worrying and trust me if it erupts only a super natural being will intervene.

  21. GOO THOUGHTS WHAT MADE MY DAY THOUGH IS THT GUY WHO BOYCOTTED MORNGING TV COS OF U HE HAD IN THE PAST BEEN SOOTHED BY OTHER ANALYSTS OF HIS POLITICAL PURSURATION U WERE TOO GOOD U GOT HIM OF TV.THTS BEING GOOD! WR NEED MORE IN MORE TV STATION TO TAME THIS KIND OF GUYS THERE SPIRIT AND THERE KIND OF DESTRUCTIVE POLITICS NICE JOB WRKL DONE

  22. Not voting is also stating/making a point – my conscience will not allow me to vote for just anyone if I feel they do not represent what I need. If one feels everything on offer is the same and does not please them, what are they supposed to do?

  23. You’re only wrong about one thing, we voters aren’t actually on the ring. We are just spectators on the sidelines placing our bets, on which we will ultimately loose. (same old corrupt leaders). Now i hear its about the lesser evil

  24. YOU HAVE ALWAYS DISMISSED THE TWO OUTFITS ,THAT IS JUBILEE AND CORD AND NOW U WANT PEOPLE TO VOTE.VOTE FOR WHO?,CONSIDERING THE DYNAMICS OF KENYAS POLITICS!.LET ME ASK YOU A SIMPLE QUESTION,WHATS THE OTHER ALTERNATIVE FOR KENYANS WHO WANT CHANGE?

  25. Thats true. Majority of those that vow not to actively be involved in politics, is simply bcoz they cant perceive any apperent change. However, change is gradual en takes time. America used to b where we ar today. Kenya is goin thru the same process. In the face of the seemin hoples politics, am persuaded that the future is great

  26. I believe in science more than I believe in primitive politics. People have different beliefs according to their level of advancement. Some believe in banging rocks together to make fire, while others believe in manipulating the sun, or other optical means to generate #power …you know like laser fusion. We all choose what level we decide to be on. Government’s mostly do administration which #ArtificialIntelligence and #algorithms can do much better. People choose to debate politics with no idea of how technology can augment human capacity to enable a great deal more than humans can attain alone. One who is beyond the limitations of the primitive must wait for the primitive to catch up, so it is as useless engaging primitive populations as it is to give a monkey a smartphone, yet people developed smart phones for stupid people

  27. The lecture was open !people can accept to learn or stay fullish by pretending the lecture never was given or was bad! Keep teaching us I have personally transformed greatly

  28. Indeed the only thing politics in Kenya contributes to Kenyans is suffering,torture,economical strains,deaths(assassinations),displacement(IDPs),and many more……i hate politicians with passion…….Hell awaits them

  29. I tend to agree with prof. in this one, once you don’t vote you allow the currupt continue, by all standards both jubilee& nasa most of them are cruded but lets vote the lesser devil like USA both Clinton& Trump had tainted traits but they chose the lesser one.

  30. Thank prof. For your looooong article here.I only read quarter. Please summarise some of us cannot afford to read such loooooooong article. Make it a newspaper article or write a book!!!!!

  31. Prof, pls note most African leaders rigged themselves to power bcoz they have the state apparatus and Kenya is no exception. To me whether I vote or not makes no difference. The current leaders think it is their birthright to rule by force. Just see Uhuru using state resources to restrain one man and to intimidate him. When shall we ever have the rule of law in this country??

    • The president and his lutenants new from long time ago tbat joho was not straght in how he aquired his educational papers but they didn’t wanted to go direct at him since they hope in swaying coastal people on their side by doing every thing they could to win their hearts incuding joho but they got tuff obstacle to win these people and joho being the main obstacle due to his influence,so they went for the most dirtiest weapon in their disposal to use against joho not because they will win support from coastal people but to revenge against joho and surender votes from his people.

  32. Prof I respect your art of reasoning but somewhere someplace I don’t resonate with you. Allow me ask you this; ASSUMING WE ARE WITH YOU SOMEWHERE THE TWO OF US. BOTH OF US ARE HUNGRY AND THERE IS NO HOPE FOR ANY FOOD. SUDDENLY SOMEONE COMES WITH TWO APPLES, YOU HURRIEDLY PICK ONE AND BEGIN EATING. BY THE TIME I WANT TO TAKE THE REMAINING YOU BEGIN SHOUTING “THIS APPLE AM EATING IS BAD, DON’T EVEN BOTHER EATING THAT ONE BECAUSE IT’S THE SAME” AND YET YOU ARE SMASHING YOURS. AND YOU STILL CONTINUE TO TELL ME I HAVE TO EAT SOMETHING!

    Acha kutucheza msee! The two apples are Jubilee and NASA. Why should you compare the two? No one in NASA has ever been in the presidency! I hear you saying they have been in power for more than 30 years, they didn’t hold the same power under new constitutional dispensation! Stop confusing us and tell us who you are campaigning for.

    You want Kenyans to believe we can never have CHANGE!!! CHANGE IS NEAR AND INEVITABLE, wether tribal or non-tribal, WE NEED CHANGE!

    • @Alex murimi change in the direction of equality, prosperity and inclusivity! Tired of two families dynasty that has lost direction but are out to bribe, intimidate and buy people just to remain in power and enjoy the status quo. This are the things we do every day. We want change where the will of kenyans is supreme but not tribal conglomerations and tyranny of greedy people. We want a Kenya where even the weak can be heard and the poor have a voice. This is the change Murimi

  33. Yes voting we must and indeed we will. But my problem is with the leaders we choose. They seem to be motivated by something we the electorate do no know. Some even spend more than they are going to earn for the entire term. Is it possible that there are so many loopholes for self enrichment in politics that this politicians exploit once in power? Why is it so difficult to close these loopholes? When we hear rumors that a politician is building a home worth 1.2 billion Kenya shillings, we wonder where they get such amounts of money. When we see them flying choppers around especially after getting into politics we are amazed. Prof that may just be part of the reason why we have such voter apathy. The solution should be tightening the belts in order to close all the loopholes to corruption.

  34. Wonderful read! Kenyans must be smarter in the way they elect their leaders. It shouldn’t matter what his tribe is or what connections he has but rather we should vote in people with proven intergity and a development track record. We hold the power with our votes. Let us be the change we want.

  35. Politics and Governance is aright for everyone to contribute,i don’t think it is a dirty game,it started long ago as one can read from the Bible, all Organized Kingdoms and even during scramble and partition of Africa,Liberia & Ethiopia used their organized Kingdoms to fight off colonialism.Tax administrations also was part of history i.e ZAKAYO

  36. We need positive contribution on how to perfect the art of politiking and if possible join the fray and show Kenyans how it should be done.Talking is much easier as Bishop Muiru found out about crowds.You will realize even being an MCA is not an easy task as one may think.Respect politicians and everyone else.

  37. I agree with the point that let’s not assume even for a minute politics do affect our lives. Look if today one alleges that you are a witch and an angry mob starts beating you. What will be your next moved if in any case you are rescued.??

  38. I will take with keen interest the part whee you mentioned that we enjoy the freedoms and privileges today from the effort those who came before us.However basing on your previous posts it has always come out in kenya from the two options we have there are only birds of a feather.From since independence,between this two factions(read Odingaism and Kenyattaism),who between is a proponent of change and who insists on status quo?And basing on your admittance that there are those who struggled to ensure we enjoy these freedoms we have today,do you now admit that NASA and jubilee are not cut from the same cloth?I still maintain that there’s very big distinction between the two ideologically and the narrative you always advance serves to perpetuate status quo and in this case keeping jubilee in power.

  39. Professor, when did u come to realize that we practise bad politics? And why are u only aggressive now? It is like u want voter apathy to the benefit of the current government.

  40. This guy is a jubilee project non of NASA 4 CO prncples has ever been a president under this new or former constitution as you have said Kenyan politics are tribal ur NAME Betrays you proffessor

  41. Good research Dr, totally agree but people are disillusioned by politicians who get alot taxpayer’s money as salary & do a lot of nothing to impte lives of Kenyans only to waste our resources in drama , let them go to full time career in acting, period

  42. Politics is the last resort of scoundrels & full of horse manure, but its the best s*#t we have! Thus, voting & contributing to better & improved policy is simply a MUST for every sane citizen.

  43. I have been following you with a lot of interest prof until the other day on t.v when you suggested that we have great leaders like Ngilu who can lead this country. Then I realized that on matters leadership you are clueless as the rest of us. Seriously,that’s the best name you could come up with???

  44. President Uhuru Kenyatta has perfected the art of political conmanship through PR. Whitewashing stinking situations with careless abandon. As any student of marketing would advise, PR is only a temporary face saving measure while in a crisis and never a permanent singularly pursued medium. For starters, PR lacks credibility since it originates from the very people in crisis. You can’t sugar coat a cancers like corruption, both economic and political, tribalism, misallocation of resources, abuse of citizens’ constitutional rights, mortgaging of the country’s future, politically motivated murders and a litany of others. These problems require real solutions. That’s why peace loving Kenyans leave you at the top of government until the constitutionally mandated August after that, bye bye. We can’t be willing participants in the destruction of our generation.

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