That the murmurs of the handshake being a con-game continue to find a voice is not an imagination. That the surprise unity pact between bitter political antagonists is seen as a families arrangement by a number of Kenyans is no longer a secret. That the opposition to the deal between President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga continues to grow is as real as anything can be. From whichever angle, be it downtown Nairobi’s pleasure houses or 20th floor corporate offices of the mighty, Kenyans are talking about the handshake, and a good number see it as the biggest con-game of our days.
Be that may, the handshake still is a necessary con game in a country like Kenya.
A reminder for its sake, Kenya is a country of the impossible when anything is possible and when all is easy and possible, Kenya convinces you that it isn’t so easy; even with a budget.
On the political end, Kenya is that country for the few entitled and where every reform or radical change in governance and policy isn’t pegged on the general good but on ethnic convenience. But this changed with the handshake.
Kenya’s favourite twitter disciplinarian, Barrister Miguna Miguna sensationally alleged that the handshake was a rip off that led to the loss of billions of taxpayers’ money. He even christened it the handcheque, whatever that means.
Is it that Kenyans are used to the public coffers getting drained so easily that it no longer matters? That revelation was enough to get the country temperatures rising but it didn’t and it came as an awakening, like the one Saul had on his way to Damascus, that Kenyans drink, eat and breathe politics. Not even matters to do with the economy and the colossal debts Kenya is rumored to owe china can stop the country’s infatuation with politics, it’s our daily reggae.
Kenya’s much-loved con-game, the handshake, has sweetened the political balances in the country and even its fiercest critics can’t help but enjoy the reggae.
Who would have thought that a leader who was personally tasked to oversee and accompany Miguna Miguna in his deportation would be among those calling for his readmission into the country, that others who called for more budget allocation for teargass and anti-riot police gear would be the first casualties of the same? Who even imagined that bitter lawmakers who hurled all imaginable insults to the country’s head of state would be his foot soldiers now and even call for the resignation of those allegedly disrespecting the president?
If not for the handshake, would Kenyans live to see the people who wanted to secede and form their own republic being at the frontline of a hypocritical call for unity and respect?
On a more progressive note, the handshake game has allowed for the close scrutiny of Kenya’s institutions. In a country like ours, all that happens directly relates with the politics of the day and pivotal institutions like the DCI, DPP, Auditor General’s office are branded white or black depending on the prevailing political circumstances.
Currently, the judiciary would seem to be under some sort of siege, but its evils are getting aired out for all to see. This has been very well enabled by the handshake, prior to which some of what we see would have been quickly branded as attacks to the judiciary’s independence by the Executive. With luck, the cleanup should knock on IEBC’s doorstep and other branches of the Criminal Justice system.
For all it could be worth, the previously Uhuru-Ruto assured State House deal of 10 years and another 10 years, backed by the power of incumbency and state machinery, not forgetting the much hyped ‘system’ would have completely killed Kenya’s politics. The opposition would have easily been pushed to a corner and slowly killed and the country pushed to a democratic dictatorship where elections are held just to utilize their budgets. Mps would even be pledging allegiances in order to win party nominations and parliamentary seats. But alas, we have the necessary con-game that has prevented all that.
No political position is sure, no statement is permanent and no one knows who is getting played now, or is about to be played.