WHAT’S IN A SURNAME?

Baba Rosemary wants Baba Ngina’s job, and Baba Ngina wants to keep his job, at least for another 5 years, so, expectedly, things have come to a head. The guests invited for TV news segments tell us the political temperatures have risen and we are caught up in the election fever – of course we all know this but we are neither ‘pundits’ nor ‘analysts’ so we need people who award themselves titles and doctorate degrees to tell us this. Actually, they are not really guests because they are the same faces we see doing ‘analysis’ every electioneering period. They know what ethnic combinations and permutations Baba Rosemary needs to upstage Baba Ngina and what his options are. These are men – they are always men – who tell the president what he needs to do to keep his job. Whether the President watches the TV stations they are on is a matter of speculation because they always say, “Mr. President if you are watching…blah…blah…blah.”

The rest of us who don’t possess the clout and looks for TV have resorted to social media punditry. Twitter and Facebook is our platform to offer analysis, predictions, views and opinions, solicited and unsolicited (but mostly the latter) on matters politics and governance. Better still, social media doesn’t have the sort of restrictions and censorship that broadcast media have, so we are at liberty to tweet and Facebook whatever we want. At least the decent ones have some standards of acceptable language and content. In social media, you can get away with what got Tony Gachoka banned from KTN and even worse. Also, social media offers the benefit of anonymity.

We have made it our jobs to insult one another and threaten our neighbours whom we feel are not residing in the ‘right’ parts of the city. Or for having been born in the wrong regions of the country. Straight men have taken a particular interest in the genitals of fellow men while others have used the jigger menace to fan ethnic fire. Leaflets informing communities to voluntarily leave before they are forcefully evicted are being thrown around like Jirongo’s cash way back in the day when he could afford the Deputy President William Ruto in his payroll.

We have suddenly realized that those with whom we have lived with harmoniously over of the years are now unworthy of our neighbourhood and friendship. All this is because they are on Baba Rosemary’s or Baba Ngina’s side on the race to 2017. And how do we know whose father they are supporting for the presidency when our electoral system employs the secret ballot? Easy, their surname! Surnames is the yardstick with which we know everything about someone. A surname gives out your wealth status (because apparently poverty is the monopoly of certain tribes), the structure of your genitals and can even predict your future behavior. Hell, we can tell if you have kleptomaniac genes by your name.

With a surname, we tell what political party someone supports and who his ‘enemies’ are. These enemies are dictated by the de facto political leader of his tribe. Because political alliances keep on shifting with every election, our enemies also keep on shifting. At least that’s what should happen if we go by social media posts. You can’t have friends from rival tribes, you know, lest they steal our secrets and whisper it to their man.

People ask you about the going ons of a political party when you introduce yourself because everyone with a certain prefix to their surnames belong to that party and should therefore be privy to the party affairs. Like a certain gentleman I was introduced to early this week who kept referring to me as “you” whenever he saw news articles on a certain political party. By my surname, I am automatically a member of a political party predominant in an area where people with prefixes like mine to their surnames hail from.

Common sense dictates that I should eliminate some people from my friends’ list. I can’t be flirting with enemies now, can I? Especially with the elections coming up in one year. Exceptions can only be made when their man gets in the good books of my de facto political leader.

The fact that they have never threatened to harvest my pancreas, kidnapped my girlfriend or released screenshots of me claiming that all the ladies in the office are begging and lining up to spend a night in my bed when I have defaulted on the small loans they have advanced me counts for nothing compared to the whims of my political leader and his ambitions. I won’t need them anyway because when our man gets to the highest office in the land, all my tribes(wo)men are going to prosper, have their taps flowing with honey and bread dropping off their ceiling boards. That they don’t remind me every goddamn hour like M-Shwari of the small moneys is pure garbage in the face of my community being the government. I don’t need people with the wrong surnames in my life when we are the government!

When he shares a meal with ‘our ‘enemies, it’s because he wants to gather intelligence on their strategy and not because they are friends whose children get together to spend money that could connect an entire village to the electricity grid in one night. We have to be unfriends with the enemy because we are principled like that.

PS: As a cautionary tale from the Junior Elder, when your prospective in-laws offer you a drink, don’t accept. It’s a trap! Especially when they themselves are not drinking.

Junior Elder resumes regular weekly posts every Sunday starting today.

 

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