Hustler-Dynasty line a big con

Deputy President William Ruto addressing a crowd in Embu town on October 18, 2020.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • There is little excitement in politics in Kenya anyway, apart from the usual rude salvos thrown around.
  • We have no politics or politicians who would leave a mark that could positively shape the future of the country.

A discussion I wanted to steer clear of is that of dynasty versus hustler that has gripped the country. It was bound to lead me to political udaku (gossip) that I have desperately tried to avoid.

There is little excitement in politics in Kenya anyway, apart from the usual rude salvos thrown around. Can Kenyan politicians ever debate respectfully? It has been one long drawl of negativity and aggression so far. I also believe we have no politics or politicians who would leave a mark that could positively shape the future of the country. Kenya is crying for one.

Those you see out there making noises as politicians are busy fighting to survive just like mama mbogas or to save their ego. And their survival is dependent on a blend of violence and greed.

Which brings me to the topic of “hustler. If I got a shilling for every time the word was mentioned in the pre-term 2022 presidential campaigns, I would be rich enough to kick Bill Gates off Forbes Rich List. I went into selective hearing mode on hustler-versus-dynasty and hoped to re-engage society once it had all blown over but alas! Hence, dear Kenyans, I decided to research and give you a few bullet points about hustlers and dynasties.

Pre-watershed moment

My research found differing definitions but Cambridge online dictionary is where I ended my search. What I found befuddled me. If you thought hustler was all about selling chickens, think again! The first definition of hustler in the dictionary is “someone who tries to deceive people into giving them money”. The second was short and only says: “A dishonest person.”

The third one may be inappropriate for the pre-watershed moment in our ‘conservative’ country and even shorter but shocking, and here it is nonetheless and defines hustler as a ‘prostitute (a person who has sex for money): Before you ask, Cambridge dictionary is compiled in United Kingdom, that of Queen of English and not United Kisumu. I am neither Tangatanga nor Kieleweke so a disclaimer is in order.

Another unreferenced definition of hustler on Google defines it as ‘a person adept at aggressive selling or illicit dealing’. Need I say more with the ‘in your face’ mode of aggressive campaigns and fraudulent elections over the years?

 Dynastic politicians are not exempt either. They may seem prim and proper in their manners, but they are just as brutal in their quest for power. Incidentally, the definition for Dynasty I found says it is ‘a succession of people from the same family who play a prominent role in business, politics, or another field’. That other field could be anything from dictatorship to premiership I presume. BBI anyone?

Hustler mantra

My gut feelings tell me that politicians have always had a knack for hunting with the hyenas and dining with the horses. How else would a ‘handshake’ between two rivals arrive on our shores had it not been for the fact that our politics was always about deals? Do not be fooled by hustler mantra either: They are two sides of the same coin.

The definition above does not support Kenya’s understanding of the “hustler” concept. In fact, it rejects the notion of chicken traders’ rags-to-riches stories by suggesting that a hustler is either a fraudster who receives money by deceit, a dishonest person, or a prostitute. Which category does your politician fit in?

The idea of a millionaire hustler is somewhat convoluted if it came later than UhuRuto; that is, the short-lived cohabitation between Uhuru and Ruto. I am not convinced either of the existence of a divorce between a couple that once had ‘his and hers’ matching ties and drank from the same cup for love. UhuRuto cannot tell me they won’t part for the sake of the children. If they loved us that much, they would have made peace or divorced for our emotional and economic wellbeing.

Same old musical chairs

The dynasty-versus-hustler mania is the same old musical chairs that comes every five years. Remember, Raila was once a foe who has now become a friend? The hustler-versus-dynasty concept is just Kenyan politics playing with our minds again.

The rollercoaster that is Kenyan politics always goes round and round and next time it will be some other kind of ‘shake’ with its own form of BBI involving Ruto. To paraphrase late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, I ain’t buying the hustler-dynasty feud. Buy it if you want at your peril.

The only thing I would suggest is capping of campaign funds to give non-millionaires a chance at politics. The rich dynasties and millionaire ‘hustlers’ will keep interchanging power and that cannot be democratic at all. Many people with better ideas to lead this country are locked out by undeserving politicians who use wealth than acumen of any kind to gain power.

Wheelbarrows, unga, menstrual pads and cash are a form of voter bribery anyway. Why allow for their distribution?

Ms Guyo is a legal researcher. @kdiguyo