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Of Political Realities and Digital Media

I was all too amused to watch an unlikely character in the digital space not only be the talk of town but also trend worldwide for a while. The Man is Ferdinand Waititu.

Online Politics

I was part of the middle class that propagates the know-it-all Facebook and Twitter Politics. I followed the Civil Society and heeded to their every word and interpretation of politicians; treating all as the Gospel Truth. I was usually one of the first to openly castigate the political ilk for even attempting to think an inch off the liberal “Facebook and Twitter” culture. From where we all sat and still sit, we thought we knew better and that we actually had the moral grounding and capacity to be the judge and jury of the political class and by extension their supporters.

I was wrong. You are wrong!

A Peek into Politics

I joined politics as a Digital Media Consultant for one of the candidates over 2 years and my worldview changed completely. I have learnt a couple of things that I never used to appreciate about politics…

  1. For every one negative tweet castigating a certain politician, there are thousands if not more people on the ground praising them.
  2. Politicians are actually more connected to the ground than we are or will ever be.
  3. There is no single worldview and as such the people at the grassroots have no voice online and vice versa.
  4. Politics is local, Digital Media is a PR exercise
  5. Digital Media represents a kind of Mob Justice

Let me expound further…

Hon. Ferdinand Waititu

Waititu won the TNA nominations much to the disgust and chagrin of the the online world. From the time he won, my timeline has been filled with comments by friends from across the political divide who cannot comprehend why people would vote nominate Waititu.

Where am sitting, talk is on how middle class do not understand that they are actually the minority and that Facebook and Twitter are not polling stations.

Politics is Local

As the digital world struggles to find any leadership attributes that befits a Governor of Nairobi County in Waititu, the majority of the residents of Nairobi – the poor – struggle to find the attributes of Jimnah Mbaru or even Kidero that they can even remotely associate with in their daily lives. I will illustrate…

The majority of the electorate who support Waititu understand the following:

  • When a thief snatches a purse from a lady and people start chasing after the thief; the person next to them running after the thief will most probably be Waititu.
  • When someone invades a playing field to do construction work, the one person who will be there uprooting the fences with you will be Waititu.
  • When you are about to sleep without eating, the one person who might actually pass outside your door and give you that 100 Bob for your meal that day is Waititu.
  • Waititu is the guy who knows your kids names, calls you when they are sick and supports too many people outside the glare of media
  • What you see as abrasive and uncouth in Waititu is everything that the electorate that voted for him and will vote for him need him to be for them.
You see where am going with this…

The Jimnah Mbaru/Kidero Dilemma

You have probably seen the tweets and FB updates comparing the CV of Jimnah Mbaru to that of Waititu. While tweeting and retweeting these jokes, what we forget is that the Joke is on you. The Joke is on us all. Waititu’s CV is his Street Cred with the Mashinani people…

The majority of the electorate who Jimnah and Kidero want to reach also understand the following:

  • Who told you that the people in Mashinani even understand what CMA is or what it does?
  • The fact that you were an MD in a Sugar Company did not make my sugar affordable?
Its the street fred that matters because people need their man to be in the streets (battlefield) with them. That is what Waititu calls “Instance Justice” and it may not be right; but it works!

Street Cred

The things considered as insults to Waititu and praise for Mbaru/Kidero is what the people of Mashinani see as Street Cred for Waititu. So the next time we feel inclined to share or retweet another Waititu joke, kindly understand that this is one more reason why he will be governor of Nairobi.


  • Marvin Tumbo,
  • January 20, 2013

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