Donald James Trump (DJT) is accomplishing a feat most Kenyans would have thought impossible.
In an accomplishment worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize since he’s already bagged the Emmy that eluded him when he was head “firer” in the “Apprentice”, the Brooklyn-born self-proclaimed billionaire has seamlessly melded and weaved together disparate aspects of Kenya’s socio-political landscape while also morphing into a Rorschach Test for the country’s 42+.
How so you ask?
Well consider that a major knock on Raila Amolo Odinga’s (RAO) legacy has been his inability to graciously accept defeat in elections; always complaining that his victory was stolen from him by a system that is “rigged”. This perpetual Raila complaint is as much a Trumpism as the expression “bigly”.
While responding to a (hypothetical) question during the last debate against challenger Hillary Clinton whether he would concede the elections were he to lose on November 8, 2016, Mr. Trump wounded his fledgling campaign, most likely mortally, with his Railaesque response.
In the setting Las Vegas sun and in true reality TV fashion, Donald Trump offered that he would “look at it at the time” and promising to keep American voters “in suspense” regarding his acceptance of the election results!
Supporters of Jubilee gleefully pointed out the foregoing aspect of the two personalities who are loved and despised in equal parts -- in their respective polities.
DJT meet UMK.
Mr. Trump, who like Kenya’s “Prince” Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta (UMK) was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, also crosses (Kenya’s) political divide and joins President Kenyatta in convincing the working-class voters in their respective country that these two beneficiaries of old money, some of it suspect, are “just like them” -- blue-collared working-class everyday Americans and Kenyans.
Talk about spinning a yarn!
DJT meet RAO.
Simultaneously, “The Donald” and “Agwambo” have both morphed into “outsiders” supposedly fighting the “corrupt” and “entrenched insiders”. I could be wrong but isn’t Uhuru Kenyatta, son of Kenya’s first president, political project of its second and godson of Mwai Kibaki, its 3rd president, the ultimate “insider”?
Unfortunately for the two other “outsiders” DJT and RAO, they have also partaken in the avarice that is endemic in DC and NBI respectively. Both Trump and Odinga have been accused of avoiding taxes and as a result, the hashtag #RailaAnotherTrump was quickly paired with the tax avoidance and sore loser labels. Donald for his part has refused to release his tax returns!
With apologies to Thomas Frank, what IS the matter with Kansas and Kenya?
As previously written, the Republican nominee’s nationalistic, xenophobic, ethnocentric and faux patriotic rhetoric that unabashedly advocates the “otherization” of opponents may as well have been plagiarized from Mr. Kenyatta’s Jubilee playbook. At a minimum, DJT’s dog whistles to the party faithful harkens to the School of Socio-Political Discourse embodied by UMK’s Rudy Giuliani, one Moses Kuria who tells “it” like “it” is, is “real” and eschews “political correctness” while displaying ignorance about their respective country’s history.
There is also startling congruency between Trump’s and Kenyatta’s take on “law & order”. While the two party leaders tout their support for the “men in blue”, they do so while disregarding police misconduct even in the face of overwhelming (video) evidence. Gross police misconduct in Kenya was on vivid display during the anti-IEBC protests just as it was in Ferguson, Cleveland, New York, and Tulsa.
At least one can argue that there is a modicum of due process for victims of law enforcement overreach in America with some very specific and punitive outcomes as seen in Ferguson and Cleveland and most recently, San Francisco.
The same cannot be said for Kenyans who have been on the receiving end of police batons and bullets. Given the rhetoric (of denial) by folks such as Sophie Wanuna who incredibly proclaim that none of the anti-IEBC protestors lost their lives due to violent police response, these Kenyan victims like their PEV brethrens will be waiting for a very long time for justice.
I won’t even get into a discussion about extra-judicial killings, also implicating Kenya’s law enforcement AND the country’s leadership.
Finally, in seeking to “take their country back” and in the process revising AND reversing America’s journey towards a “more perfect union”, Donald Trump and his supporters synced up quite well with Uhuru Kenyatta’s Shujaa Day speech. In the October 20th address celebrating Kenya’s heroes of yore, Mr. Kenyatta failed to recognize his father Jomo’s nemesis Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. For those who don’t know Kenya’s history, Jaramogi forewent the opportunity to become Kenya’s first president, demanding instead Jomo Kenyatta’s release from unlawful detention. Uhuru also did not acknowledge Tom Mboya, the man who singularly created the pipeline of students from Kenya and America and was assassinated, arguably on orders of Jomo. Finally, Mr. Kenyatta omitted acknowledging his current rival and multi-partyism stalwart Raila Odinga.
Talk about being thin-skinned or vindictive.
So, let’s all acknowledge Donald Trump’s uncanny ability to unify the diametrically opposed and multi-layered sides of Kenya’s socio-political environ just as he has galvanized opponents of racism, misogyny, religious intolerance and overall boorishness here in America.
RAO/UMK meet DJT.
DJT meet UMK/RAO.
By Washington Osiro | firstname.lastname@example.org