Dear Sonko, I admire your ‘showbiz’ philanthropy

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BY DANNISH ODONGO

Sir, I admire your ‘showbiz’ philanthropy. The fact that you walk with liquid cash running into hundreds of thousands of shillings is something that only men who have planted money on trees can compete with. (I hope you have a vineyard of notes in your backyard)

You are just as generous with your abuses as evidenced on a local radio show a while back. Your body guards brandish guns in morgues and public places without regard for common sense and decorum. ‘You live large’, that goes without question. Your trade mark gold chains, ‘blinged’ cars, wrapped Mercedes and tattered jeans are admirable to a section of young men who dream of a life of such wealth. There is a thin line between fashion and circus and I think you have mixed both.

With all that said, I have an elephant bone to pick with you Mr. Senator, a very BIG bone. Why?

Mr. Senator, your ‘initiatives’ are sensational and resemble those done in banana republics. Pretend to meet short term needs of your electorate and they will always stretch their hands to receive more because of the dependency syndrome you have cultivated in them. These initiatives don’t really help the impoverished majority in Nairobi county as you claim. They are intentionally sensational for political purposes, because if you were genuinely interested in creating sustainable solutions for the poor majority of Nairobi, you would use established structures (and your time at the Senate) wisely e.g. by donating the ambulances to Red Cross or buying more affordable patrol cars and donating them to informal settlement police posts.

Further, you could donate that money (that never seems to run out) to purchase dialysis machines at Kenyatta Hospital for use at a highly subsidized rate by the scores who are presently dying in pain for lack of funds (I hope you are aware that Renal Failure is a serious issue in Kenya), help set up a proper affordable cancer treatment center or set up well equipped police posts in slum areas( The cost of 2 land rovers would cover all this adequately well ).

Whatever you have provided does not constitute the basic needs required by the slum dwellers you claim to represent. And Sir, don’t get angry, but what these people you claim to have undying care for need are; affordable health care, clean toilets, clean drinking water, food, school fees among others. (Set up a school, flood lights, feeding programmes etc in any of the slum you claim to provide security in and the crime rate will drop)

Role of a senator
According to chapter 8 of the constitution, the key mandate of the Senate of the Republic of Kenya is to safeguard and promote the interests of the units of devolution known as Counties. Hence the Senate must endeavor to influence national laws and revenue amounts that touch on Counties as well as the relationships and frameworks of cooperation between the Counties and the National Government and State Organs.

Reading the above provision of the constitution, I don’t see cash dishing or other sensational ‘developments’ you claim to do. Enough is enough senator, we cannot take your buffoonery any longer. The truth as to why you are doing this lies in this statement, ‘you are covering up for your overwhelming incompetence as a policy maker.’ Because that’s the role of a senator, to make policies that work. The governor bears the role of implementing policies made by the senate through laws.

I would however be lying if I didn’t mention that your knee jerk initiatives have always been catastrophically successful. Lucky enough for you, your shortsighted electorate do not know the importance of policy making. You continue to cash in on their nescience, bigotry and the worship of demigods syndrome. Without regard to your role, you have continued to increase your popularity ratings through gimmicks such as calling the president on loud speaker, punching metal doors and wanting to show parliament your private parts which you alleged were injured following an assault by police officers. The trouble with you is that you lack the power of conversation but not the power of speech. You constantly confuse activity and productivity. In a land of blind men, one eyed man is king. Same, in a county of non performing leaders, you seem to be the only one doing something.

My fear is this, in view of the degree of influence that you have gathered, my children may grow up with a warped example of what a public leader ought to be. You have expressed your interest to capture the Nairobi’s governors seat in the forthcoming elections, I wish you well. Remember, man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them-your electorate seems to have forgotten about this.

My advice
Empower your electorate through policies. If you are to give donations, do it through established structures. But why do I expect this from you? Your kind of politics is that of preying on the needs of your electorate. You can’t solve their issues and empower them to earn a living because if you did that, they would not be desperate for your handouts and would not worship you for your crafty generosity and you, good sir, would lose your job at the next elections to a leader who is actually capable of formulating long term socioeconomic empowerment policies

(Dannish Odongo is passionate about functional leadership, twitter @DannishOdongo)

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