Boniface Mwangi has had it rough.
He vied for the Starehe MP seat in 2017 but lost to Jaguar. When one decides to contest for a seat, be ready to spend a lot of money.
The list of the things you need for a campaign is endless. The hiring of cars, security and the one thing Kenyans are used to; kupewa kitu kidogo.
Well, Boniface Mwangi confesses it was a tough one for him. No sleep and right after, no money. Then you gain a certain form of confidence because of how people start relating to you. You become mheshimiwa and boss to a lot of people and then everyone expects you to be there for them financially.
Every day, you wake up early and spend the day begging for votes, while your evenings are spent calling on people and attending dinners begging for campaign cash. Voters rush excitedly when they hear you’re in the area, smile and say how much they love you. But the moment they realize you will not part with money, the fake smiles disappear, and they start insulting you and shouting your rivals’ names.
Boniface went through it all and he said financially things were tough. In fact, it got to a point he needed to sell some of his personal belongings. As if that is not enough he even went to a shylock because he had the confidence of a win and he needed to finance all the steps of the campaign.
I sold my wife’s car. You start smelling victory, but you have nothing left to sell and you go to a shylock and borrow some money (I did that too). Lose or win, the campaign ends with most candidates in debt. If you win (for those who bribed voters), you get to Parliament and your first order of business is to pay your debts. Then you realise your constituents expect you to pay maternity and school fees, contribute to funerals, church fundraisers, even weddings. So, the voters don’t expect you to deliver services, they just want handouts. That’s why politicians become arrogant; the majority can say, “my money elected me”, because it’s true – they bought and transported voters.
Boniface Mwangi is a die-hard activist for the human rights and he is always against the government but for the first time, he has sided with them.
He says that yes, some politicians are greedy (MPigs) but with all the money they spend making it there, they need a place to refund that money back. Even money that his people ask for when he was invited as a guest of honour at all those events leads him to greediness.
The greediness and heartlessness of some of the politicians we have can be explained by the heavy personal price they have paid to get elected. Every time you ask a politician for some money or donation, you’re encouraging them to steal our taxes to meet your needs. Good leadership isn’t about handouts. Public office for those who really want to serve can drive you crazy because our politics is so bitter, so corrupt.
A Kenyan politician is like a priest. Boniface Mwangi says that most Kenyans pour out all their problems to politicians in the hope of help. Depression is real in such cases and it is advisable to have a fall back plan just like Boniface Mwangi has which is photography, his day one passion.
He ends his long post by thanking those who were there for him and he mentions The Nairobian who gave him a column to earn some money, and to friends and family who have walked with him to recover his sanity.