William Ruto is now preoccupied with mutumbanomics while his rivals in Azimio are all over the country talking to Kenyans from Machakos to Kisii and today in Makueni about their just-released manifesto on what Azimio government will achieve for Kenyans in their first 100 days in government and beyond.
Ruto with nothing much to offer to Kenyans has hypocritically decided that he just needs to recycle himself about what Raila says and try to make something out of it. That is very bad in politics. Whenever a political leader reaches a point where all they can do is talk about their opponent’s ideas it means they have reached the end of the rope.
For Ruto it is a very long rope because he has been campaigning for four years and still has nothing on the table for Kenyans and so what to do now. Just jump on whatever Raila says and see if you can twist it around. Not going to work because Raila is out there talking to Kenyans and he does not need Ruto to speak on his behalf.
Today Ruto clad in his mitumba clothes met with traders from Gikomba market to tell them how he will protect the business which frankly needs no protection because nobody has any problems with them.
If I was from Gikomba as a trader the first thing I would ask William Ruto as the DP is how he can help stop the frequent fire outbreaks at the Gikomba market which wipes out everything once every few months and all the mitumba clothes are gone after you have paid for them.
Mitumba traders and others at the market have more danger and suffer more damage from fire outbreaks that are often intended to throw them out of the market so big developers can take the place. That is a real problem that a person like William Ruto who has been in government for 30 years and now the DP of the republic should have answers for and provide solutions instead of talking about imaginary problems for his own political interests.
As Ruto gets engulfed in mitumba head swim, his opponents are out there doing what they need to do at this time as Kenya heads to the election in just over one month.
On the mitumba issue my first appeal is for the IEBC to allow mitumba degrees for candidates like Johnson Sakaja so the poor guy doesn’t have to twist himself into a knot to prove he has a university degree, which yesterday was from the University of Nairobi and today is from Team University in Uganda and God knows where else it will be from tomorrow.
I am proposing the immediate establishment of the Mitumba University of Kenya (MUK) for all politicians and aspirants so they do not have to go through all the theatrics of buying all these fake papers to prove they have some kind of formal education.
These politicians do not need genuine university degrees because all they are going to be doing while in office is steal money meant for development in the country.
They are no better than bank robbers except they do it with public money. If we ever established a system where all bank robbers and others have to show their degree certificates before they put their guns in your face, does anybody think that would decrease robberies? I doubt it.
As for mitumba clothes in Kenya, we know that Kenya needs to rebuild its textile and other industries as it grows its manufacturing base which is the cornerstone of any development in any country. Mitumba business will go hand in hand with the rebuilding of textile manufacturing in Kenya. There is no need to dwell on that any longer except for those who have nothing else to do.
The way some people are going about this is like once we can get mitumba something which is allegedly cheaper we should stop ever producing any such products or goods.
So supposing we could get mitumba milk in Kenya if the industrial countries have milk to throw out we should say to hell with our dairy industry and get rid of all those cows and save our grass which they eat. Can anybody imagine how badly that would damage our country and economy?
Kenya tried mitumba maize for human food when we got the yellow maize from America which they use to feed their cattle. We were in a bad situation and needed maize and food badly. Kenyans really didn’t like using the yellow maize flour for food but they had to do with it for a while.
Suppose Kenyans fell in love with eating imported cheap yellow maize and the Americans said they can supply the product in millions of tons every month so they can feed their cattle and us at the same time, would it have made sense for Kenyan farmers to say ”to hell with our maize production just give us the yellow stuff”?
We would have been nuts to do anything like that and we wouldn’t be producing any maize which is a big part of our food system and economy. Would that make sense?
Today Kenya is producing its own yellow maize, not for human consumption but for livestock like it is done in the US. That is how you grow the economy and your production capacity as a country.
Look at China today with a population in excess of one billion people. If the Chinese government opened its doors for mitumba clothes with that kind of population all the mitumba clothes from all over the world would go there and their incredible textile and clothing industry would be dead.
Instead China not only provides cotton and textiles to the rest of the world today but all those clothes in America and Europe you read the label and it is “Made in China”. Same way China manufactures its cars, computers, cell phones, shoes, and just about everything.
The US has tried everything to stop companies from outsourcing their manufacturing to China and it can’t work because the labour cost makes it much more practical to produce all sorts of products and goods in China outsourced to them from the West. Trump even tried his buy “Made in America” plan and it flopped because the economic dynamics just couldn’t work for the manufacturing companies.
Simple fact is we can produce things, we can manufacture things and yes we can buy used products but we cannot afford to build a dumpsite economy.
Why can’t we just buy used cars in Kenya? They are cheaper and pretty good and we do it here and there. The reason that used cars cannot take over car assemblies in Kenya is that those car industries in Kenya are powerful and have big influence on the government and they won’t allow second-hand cars to run over their industries.
Let Kenya modernize its economy with all options we can generate and not based on politics and cheap power grab plans. We are a better country than that. We are sure about our abilities to do great things for the country and for all Kenyans.
Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada