Tip O’Neil, a former speaker of the house of representatives in the United States is widely associated with the common and popular phrase, “politics is LOCAL!”

The just concluded bi-elections in Ugenya and Embakasi couldn’t have brought out the picture more clearly. Ugenya was hot, both in terms of weather and politics. And the results are home.

There were two incumbents! One has lost and the other has retained. That itself justifies the point that issues facing the people are not UNIVERSAL ! Are not REGIONAL! Are not NATIONAL! They’re local.

Embakasi has an array of issues facing the constituents and according to the voters, Hon Mawathe is well seized of them and deserves an opportunity to finish his term. The people have reaffirmed their support for him and it is up to him to ensure he doesn’t betray their aspirations.

There were two incumbents! One has lost and the other has retained. That itself justifies the point that issues facing the people are not UNIVERSAL ! Are not REGIONAL! Are not NATIONAL! They’re local.

Ugenya, meanwhile, reports a different story. Hon Karan has lost! It is almost two years and he doesnt seem to have appreciated the job that was out before him.

A people desperate for tangible work have said no, the behemoth party behind him notwithstanding! Odm is a party with a national outlook. It can unleash a juggernaut and it did just that, attracting star speakers from all over Kenya! But all seen seem to have come to naught.

We must appreciate that ODM has not lost Embakasi. It was not holding It! Odm was trying to grab it from a coalition partner and that must have irked tribal blocks populating the constituency. Many other issues are also at play, of course.

Ugenya passes a clear message to all politicians, serving and aspiring. Seek to make sense of issues bothering households. Issues are local. As a politician, seek to concern yourself with politics of the human condition. Sort the basic issues! Supply water, build schools, roads, participate in local social programmes.

Issues are not in Nairobi…issues are deep inside villages. The people nolonger care about flashy campaigns. They want their issues sorted. They are keen that their voices are listened to..that’s where party nominations come in.

Parties must move to ensure nominations are fair and transparent. Governance has been devolved and with it decision making.

Ugenya passes a clear message to all politicians, serving and aspiring . Seek to make sense of issues bothering households. Issues are local. As a politician, seek to concern yourself with politics of the human condition. Sort the basic issues! Supply water, build schools, roads, participate in local social programmes.

Today, all levels of governance are under attack by disenfranchised populations. The people are engaged in making decisions locally and it is these same decisions which jolt capitals.

Number Ten Downing Street got the shock of a lifetime when Brexiters won the vote. David Cameron resigned! The same upwelling of local issues brought Trump into office. That’s how powerful the local voice has become.

Only dictators are immune to politics of local issues, like it is in Russia, China, North Korea and other iron curtain countries. Democracies are vulnerable .

It would be simplistic for team Ruto to celebrate the defeat of ODM in the two bi elections. They must appreciate than an attack on one level of government is an attack on all. Nobody is sitting pretty and people in various localities feel emboldened. If only votes counted, like they just did!

Democracies will always, as a weakness, invite deadly parasites into their ranks because of the small matter of giving people a voice, local people!

I want to finalise by saying that Kenyan politics is getting even more local and incumbents have to appreciate that they’re not sitting pretty. They have to device “local” skills to put the voter at ease, to win his heart and ensure that he stays in office for atleast ten years. It is painstaking but worth the effort.

It would be simplistic for team Ruto to celebrate the defeat of ODM in the two bi elections. They must appreciate than an attack on one level of government is an attack on all. Nobody is sitting pretty and people in various localities feel emboldened. If only votes counted, like they just did!

Meanwhile, a clear message has been passed to ODM. Sometimes you win by losing. Listen to the voices of the people!

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