“Cynical, manipulative and Machiavellian”. These are words that have been used to describe politicians from time immemorial. But who is a politician? Aren’t we all politicians? For they say politics is not everything, it’s the only thing. There is politics everywhere, politics in the church, politics in the office, politics in our homes.
It is written in the holy books that man was made in the image and likeness of God. Man, as the books state, was created for the sole purpose of worshipping God. “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:2-3). The punishment for violation of this commandment is death. Ours is a selfish and jealousy God. And now that we are made in his image and likeness, aren’t we then justified to always put our interests first?
Politics, as the old adage goes, is the art of the possible. It’s about who gets what, where, and when. The terrain is treacherous. Methinks a good politician is one who subscribes to the school of thought that selfishness is a virtue and not a vice. Always putting his or her interests first, not of the nation, not of the citizens. I have heard others argue that selfish politics is a deadly poison that infiltrates the very fabric that holds a state together. I beg to differ.
Behind every hero or heroine, there are tales of selfishness and betrayal. Isn’t it rumored that our ‘independence heroes’ betrayed the ‘real independence heroes’? It is common knowledge that after we attained our independence from the British it’s the sons of the collaborating African chiefs who took up plum government positions. Why? Because whereas the collaborators took their sons to school to get the Whiteman education the resistors took their sons to the bush to fight for independence. Selfish as it may sound, the chiefs saw an opportunity and prepared their sons to seize it. Was that an act of betrayal?
There is no right or wrong, good or bad in politics. It is all about what makes sense at the moment, to you, and to your constituents.
As the 2022 poll date nears, there will be realignments. Sworn enemies will suddenly become blossom buddies. We are already seeing politicians switch allegiances. From Tanga Tanga to the Handshake and vice versa. All in an act of self-preservation. It is not about what made sense yesterday, it is all about what is the correct thing to do today so as to ‘survive’ tomorrow.
When Mandela chose to forgive and embrace those who had put him behind bars for 27 years, many saw it as a betrayal to the anti-apartheid course. They termed it a cowardly and selfish act. To date, Nelson Mandela is the most decorated and celebrated African independence hero. History has a way of rewarding those who choose to be real, pragmatic, and selfish.
I have come to the realization that in politics, it is easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission. If I were a politician, I would do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to stay relevant. I would only be loyal to a course for as long as it aligns with my interests. Haven’t we heard of patriots dying for their countries so that the pragmatic ones can rule them? I want to be the pragmatic one to rule my country.
This piece has been written by Iyaya Kiveu