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ITS A FIGHT BETWEEN THE RICH AND POOR KENYANS

NEWS EXTRA

Election will be a battle between rich and poor

Story by MILDRED NGESA
Publication Date: 12/17/2007

My tribe has to win the elections in the coming two weeks. 

It is either my tribe wins or we are doomed. There are only two tribes in Kenya. And I know ethnic slurs; loyalties and differences are simmering hot right now.

But nobody can deny the fact that this wonderful country of 33 million people has only two tribes – the tribe of the rich and the tribe of the poor. 

When they talk of 42 tribes strewn across eight provinces, they lie. When they point out the superiority of one tribe against another, they lie even more.

What they do not say, is that the only distinction between the two existing tribes in this country lies in their pockets — it lies in the number of loaves of bread one family can afford compared to another.

Painful truth

It a painful truth that is increasingly confronting me every time I walk into the supermarket. I look at the shopping list and shopping items in my trolley and the money in my wallet and things just do not seem to add up.

There was a time they used to. A time when that same amount in my wallet and the same items in my trolley matched very well. Now things are not so rosy. I have even stopped feeling embarrassed at the counter as I ask the cashier to kindly exclude some of the items that I had already put in the trolley because my budget has run short. 

Only last year, three packets of milk and a loaf of bread were worth only Sh100. Today the same amount can only fetch two packets and one loaf, what has happened? And whatever happened to “unga ya ngano”? Do people still make chapos

These days, a packet of wheat flour coasts Sh120. That was the price of two packets two years ago! Not to mention cooking gas that goes diminishing in the cylinders every now and then, or the frequent increments in fuel prices that have rendered our jalopies redundant. 

Everything is getting swallowed in the frenzy of campaign madness and the hoodwinks of the festive season. Still, when the current standard of living is scrutinised in retrospect, the one tribe that is suffering and is bound to suffer even more is that of the majority who now have abandoned “luxuries” like bread and tea with milk simply because these have become too expensive.

On the other hand, the tribe of the rich seems to be basking in wealth. Lately I have been tongue-tied by the rising number of fuel guzzlers and other vehicles of class plying down roads like Dennis Pritt, James Gichuru, Argwings Kodhek, Waiyaki Way and Rhapta roads in Nairobi.

My knowledge of contemporary car makes is as scanty as that of nuclear gases, but I know I have seen more than one Porche, Hummer, Lexus, Tuareg VW, BMW X5 and countless Chryslers cruising down those suburbs designated for the tribe of the rich.

These vehicles do not cost a million shilling. They are worth so much more. But where is all the money coming from?

It seems like the tribe of the rich has recently been bitten by the flamboyance bug. 

The wealth and the glitter is all out there in the streets, yet some people have to scratch their heads as they agonise over how they are going to stretch Sh500 to cover their family expenses for the rest of the week.

The gap between the two tribes has widened even further. Where the tribe of the poor thought they would cover ground to bridge the space between them and the tribe of the rich, even more zeroes have been added at the end of what the tribe of the rich are worth, making this attempt even more elusive.

Ever heard of the tribe of the rich grumbling about the price of kerosene and bread?

Think about it. It is the tribe of the poor who are killing each other in the name of campaigns so as to propel one of the rich to the top. And when that happens, we all know the drill — we shall not see or hear of them until five years have elapsed. 

By then, the man from the tribe of the rich will have added several other obscenely expensive toys to his collection of automobiles while you and I in our ever-growing tribe of the poor will still be at the corner of the street lamenting why we cannot afford a kilo of sugar. 

Do you now understand why the tribe of the poor has to win on December 27? 

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About SG

Secretary general of Chama Cha Mwananchi. This blog www.chamachamwananchi.wordpress.com, is based in Sweden.

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