When concluding his speech during the late De Mathew funeral, the President went cryptic. At the same time, he assumed a serious demeanor.
Out of the blue, he warned against certain divisive public utterances and narratives being pushed by particular people he did not name, and which he said had the potential to cause serious trouble in the country. He didn’t expound on the nature of those utterances.
But, somehow, I got the feeling he wanted to restate a warning he had given days earlier in Nairobi during the annual memorial service for his father, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, where he criticized the talk of so-called dynasties versus self-proclaimed “hustlers”.
Amani party leader Musalia Mudavadi, not too long ago, made the memorable observation that the late Mobutu Sese Seko styled himself similarly as a hustler, an ordinary Joe.
He sold himself as an underdog in contrast to more sophisticated contemporaries such as Congo’s first Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba, and the country’s first President, Joseph Kasavubu, both of whom Mobutu deposed.
There is hardly a soul in Africa, or the world, who doesn’t know how Congo was turned into Mobutu’s personal cash cow during his three-decade kleptocratic rule. If that was the inference Musalia wanted us to make, the message got home loud and clear.
This storyline of “dynasties vs. hustlers” that has been circulating in Kenya, and which is peddled by DP Ruto’s followers and excitable bloggers, who seem to be guided by a hidden hand, is really a red herring.
It is as fake as Santa Claus bringing goodies from the unknown.
The Urban Dictionary defines a hustler as someone who knows how to get money from others, selling drugs, rolling dice, pimping.
The English Oxford Dictionary defines a hustler as an aggressive seller, or illicit dealer, and a prostitute.
The Collins English Dictionary defines a hustler as a prostitute, especially a male prostitute.
For the Cambridge English Dictionary, a hustler is someone who deceives people into giving them money.
These dictionaries agree a hustler is a person who is hard-working; who knows how to get around problems or a person who makes money by doing something dishonest. A hustler stops at nothing to get what he wants.
First and foremost, the problem in this country is not “dynasties”; or self-styled hustlers per se.
It is corruption! That is what must be eradicated. Bogus tales of childhood deprivation are a distraction. In any case, there is no special wisdom you acquire because of the circumstances of your birth. Rags-to-riches stories are as old as life. But they don’t inspire when you cannot draw a clear and ethical line of your journey from penury to riches, from the village hut to the gilded mansion.
When people are not too eager for their true selves to be unmasked, they throw up smokescreens like these “dynasties vs. hustlers” nonsense. It’s pathetic!