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Monday, April 13, 2015

Alfred Mutua Steps On Dangerous Ukambani Snakes

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua
 
The dry lands of Ukambani boast of some of the deadliest snakes in Kenya. Some of these vipers have the kind of venom that can kill in minutes. It now appears that maverick governor Alfred Mutua has stepped on too many of these snakes to remain unscathed.

Sadly the history of Ukambani politics clearly shows that "venomous snakes" are not limited to the scrubs of this poverty stricken county. There are even deadlier vipers on the treacherous political landscape which have claimed many promising political lives over the years. Indeed they have now gotten to Kenya's star governor and there appears to be rapidly mounting dissent against him from he very people who voted for him.

It would seem that the consistent well-financed campaign by his arch rival Senator Johnstone Muthama has finally turned the tide against Mutua. It has not helped that corruption allegations pointed out by Muthama sympathizers to the anti corruption body have put Mutua on the list of those being urged to step aside.

All this coupled with the fact that the governor has gained a reputation for not paying county workers for months on end has dramatically altered the politics on the ground. You will now hear folks saying with increasing frequency that despite what Mutua has done the county needs a new governor.

This latest development would hardly surprise a keen observer of the bizarre Ukambani people and their damaging crab mentality.

What is this crab mentality in the Wakamba people?

If you have caught crabs then you know that once you have caught at least two then you needn’t worry about them escaping. This is because they will always prevent each other from getting out first.

Wikipedia puts it thus;

“Crab mentality, sometimes referred to as crabs in the bucket, describes a way of thinking best described by the phrase "if I can't have it, neither should you." The metaphor refers to a pot of crabs. Singly, the crabs could easily escape from the pot, but instead, they grab at each other in a useless "king of the hill" competition which prevents any from escaping and ensures their collective demise. The analogy in human behavior is that of a group that will attempt to "pull down" (negate or diminish the importance of) any member who achieves success beyond the others, out of jealousy or competitive feelings.

This term is broadly associated with short-sighted, non-constructive thinking rather than a unified, long-term, constructive mentality. It is also often used colloquially in reference to individuals or communities attempting to "escape" a so-called "underprivileged life", but kept from doing so by others attempting to ride upon their coat-tails or those who simply resent their success…”

Historically Kamba leaders have always been extremely jealous of each other and have gone to great lengths to finish each other, using all kinds of ploys and even witchcraft. Any half intelligent observer would wonder why the community has never realized that supporting each other would be much more beneficial to all.

Paul Ngei a prominent politician from Ukambani in his day was arch rivals with Mulu Mutisya another prominent politician in the area at around the same time. The differences between the two got so serious that they physically fought on several occasions.

Today the rivalry between Charity Ngilu and Kalonzo Musyoka is legendary and all efforts to unite the two have come to naught. Interestingly both were in the YES camp in the referendum for the new constitution and yet clearly the two were extremely uncomfortable in each others company during the major rallies and meetings where they had to share the same platform. I am willing to bet you any amount that the two never ever shared a seat close to each other during cabinet meetings.

This inexplicable rivalry and crab mentality spreads well beyond politics into the business world. Indeed this is one of the reasons why Machakos town (the first inland capital of the British protectorate that became Kenya and many decades older than Nairobi) has remained very much behind in development until one Alfred Mutua came along. Kambas would rather an outsider comes into the city and prospers in business rather than one of their own. Immediately somebody rises they will rush to a witchdoctor to slow down, frustrate or even eliminate them.

Where did this evil crab in Machakos come from? The house of Mumbi always support each other, see how far they have gone. Luos will travel many miles to support a fellow Luo's business. But the poverty stricken crab mentality Kambas are busy shooting down governor Mutua when he is being celebrated countrywide and worldwide. Their small crab brains are telling them; "I have been around for so long where did this young man with big ideas come from? I cannot allow him to succeed just like that."

And as usual you can be sure witchdoctors have been visited and instructed to "finish" or at the very least "slow down" Mutua.

This is the sad story of this cursed forsaken crab county. And it seems that despite his efforts and remarkable achievements Gov. Mutua will not be any exception when it comes to being a victim of this deadly poisonous snake.

It is also true that the Wakamba love drama and theatrics. You can easily detect it in the way they express themselves even in English or Kiswahili. The big turn on now seems to be witnessing the fall of a giant governor. Never mind the consequences to the people. The drama is much more important.


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