Why Politicians Court Unions
It is another time for election hopefuls to consult every Tom,Dick and Harry on their chances of success in the next general elections under the new Kenya constitution. It is not a secret that incumbents would stop at nothing to get elected and the same can be said of rivals. Most of the aspirants for various political offices believe that their fate mainly lie in the hands of the vibrant trade union movement, divine intervention and fortune tellers let alone brokers of all shades.
The thankless political leadership that has taken the labour movement for granted discovered a half century later that trade union fraternity is an important and crucial constituency in society. An aspirant worth the name should not ignore unions any more. National Labour Centre entry into the 2010 referendum campaign for the new constitution underscored its ability to swing votes in any election. And had the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) not mobilized workers to vote, Kenyans could not have gotten a new constitution whose delivery had been elusive.
COTU headquarters on Digo Road has been located by individual candidates and is a hive of activity. The fiery COTU Secretary General, Francis Atwoli has been approached by aspirants across the political divide for open support in the general elections. Indeed, some of the aspirants are regular visitors at union organized rallies where they are given opportunities to address workers.
It can be recalled that the labour movement was at the fore front of the yesteryear freedom struggles waged against British Colonialism and that fire has been rekindled and could possibly make a difference in a new Kenya. Suddenly , politicians have identified God as their savior and become religious.
Lapsed Christians are back in the flock, attend mainstream and evangelical church services regularly and from the pulpit they address the rest of the faithful on the problems afflicting society. These latter day Christians also spend overnight vigils in places of worship in the hope that God would answer their prayers and reverse rival fortunes. Preachers offer prayers to those in need who are promised heaven on earth.
The fortune seekers are often reminded that their faith in God would deliver them to the promised land, the desired political post. This is also the time for some religious leaders to plead for donations to complete stalled church projects. Notwithstanding the ban on participation or presiding on fund raising activities by vote seekers, donations still secretly flow from those who believe that such generosity would enhance their election chances.
Although healing prayers are conducted in public before television cameras , magicians enjoy a bigger share of political clients than the clergy, a fact that is expressed in night invitations to homes of aspirants in the wee hours and departure of the same before dawn. In their numbers, aspirants throng the homes of fortune tellers to consult on their election chances or what could be done to reverse the fortunes of challengers in the elections for national and county governments due to be held on March 4, 2013.
Most of the fortune tellers admit that they mint more money during election campaigns than any other time in their careers and this is the time to make a kill, one confided in this writer. This magician is doing roaring business in his mud shack in a city slum. Between eight and 10 politicians consult him daily, he said.
There are also hidden painful costs that clients knowingly or unknowingly live to pay before they are elected. Common misfortunes like mysterious deaths of immediate relatives during campaigns are nothing but ritual murders or sacrifices that have to be performed for the ancestors and evil spirits.
Candidates for offices in the 47 counties are more generous than ever before and whatever is quoted as a fee clients oblige and give out without much ado, the clergy and magicians concur as they compete for business ahead of next year’s polls. A consultation fee not less than Sh50,000 and above are standard charge for the clergy and the fortune teller.
The writer is a freelance Journalist. Email: email@example.com