In Summary

  • I assume that you are standing in the “nane-nane” election because you want to be part of the struggle for a rejuvenated country, a homeland where every mwananchi has hope and an opportunity to live decently and prosper.
  • The only way you can win the struggle is through comradeship, not only with the wananchi but also with your fellow contestants.
  • Regardless of your party affiliation, if you are a genuine candidate, you should avoid petty divisiveness on any grounds: ethnicity, region, language, social class or religion. Remember how good it was being comrades on campus and take it onto the national plane.

I knew the forthcoming elections would be of crucial significance to me. I am neither voting nor running for any office (although I believe I would make a magnificent senator). But I know that scores, maybe hundreds, of my close relatives, all the way from Kisumu through Nairobi, Mombasa, Kaloleni and Kilifi to Malindi, will be actively involved in the exercise.

There is also that small matter of the reading room in my adopted home town, Machakos. It is a definite commitment, but the leadership has got to be right for me to proceed. So, you can see that all the way from the top to the minutest detail of ugatuzi, I am anxious that things should go well.

It is, however, another kind of involvement in the elections that is drawing me out. Looking through the lists of serious aspirants to various elective offices in the country, I was struck by the number of candidates who were my students during my 20-year teaching stint in Kenyan institutions. If, apart from those who sat directly in my classrooms and lecture rooms, you add the others I taught through the theatre, the media and textbooks, then you have a veritable little army of my disciples likely to be part of our leadership for the next five years.

That should be a cause for pride. But it is also a test of the “education” I imparted to them. This will go all the way from the decency with which they conduct their campaigns through to the tangible service that they render to their constituents, the voters.

What, then, do I and my fellow teachers expect of those political candidates that we raised through school and university? My own list is short, modest and, as usual, simple, but quite serious and definite. I expect comradeship, social sense, vision and love of the job.

Do you remember, dear candidates, what we were on all those campuses, along all those corridors and inside all those lecture theatres and seminar rooms? Yes, comrades, that is what we were, regardless of age, rank, riches or region of origin. It was not an empty name.

When your professors, lecturers and colleagues called you “comrade”, they meant that there is a struggle and the only way to win it is to work together in unity, comradeship.

I assume that you are standing in the “nane-nane” election because you want to be part of the struggle for a rejuvenated country, a homeland where every mwananchi has hope and an opportunity to live decently and prosper. The only way you can win the struggle is through comradeship, not only with the wananchi but also with your fellow contestants.

Regardless of your party affiliation, if you are a genuine candidate, you should avoid petty divisiveness on any grounds: ethnicity, region, language, social class or religion. Remember how good it was being comrades on campus and take it onto the national plane.

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