The “Kazi ni Kazi” mindset that is currently being propelled by the TangaTanga aka UDA brigade would not have come at a better time.
It is the greatest motivation that any Kenyan who was not born with a silver spoon on his or her mouth should listen to.
Because, if put in practice, it is what will count in the end; not the vote you’ll cast for a heartless politician upon being carried away by a silly campaign song. Any job can do, especially the dirty ones. The ‘Kazi za sulubus’.
Folks, this statement is true and alive. It is what puts food on your table daily.
Here is a short story:
Victor* has a thriving Timber Yard in Rongo town (around Rongo Primary School). The yard opened its doors during the Corona panic and lockdowns of 2020. This yard has built him a small permanent house in the village, pays his rent, fees, feeds his young family, aging parents, and allows him to save Sh1000 in a Sacco daily. He has also employed 2 jobless graduates who help him with running the yard.
Victor* joined a university in Southern Nyanza in September 2016 to study Commerce. Before joining, he had worked in his village as a mtu wa mikono for a man who owned a power saw since 2012. By 2016, he had become a pro in operating the machine and started buying his trees for expert sawing and subsequently supplying timber yards around Homa Bay and Kisii counties.
I met him and he was very particular: “Bwana, it’s incredible that a power saw has brought me this far. I’m dirty here but clients are always surprised to hear the good English that I speak. Interestingly, it is not my good English that has enabled me to achieve my financial freedom, it is my power saw. I don’t think any formal employment can earn me as much in the Kenya of today. Besides, I don’t have any godfather in my profession. For me, I’ll continue to shuttle between forests and this yard. That’s what matters to me.”
Well, this is one person who did not feel the pinch of the pandemic, at a time when people who used to strut around with good jobs were laid off; crying and gnashing their teeth – with nowhere to start nor hide their big heads.
Even before the launch of UDA, Victor* had told me to rethink the Kazi ni Kazi concept. “Because,” he reiterated, “it is the magic.”
It is these dirty jobs (sex work included) that interns whom big companies have refused to give stipends juggle between inorder to be able to eat, wake up and dress up and report to the company’s work station. Stations from which they are (mis)used for months unending, without any hope of ever being absorbed. [Take note that the word Slayqueen is a euphemism for a sex worker and ‘kutuma fare‘ is prostitution laced with humor].
So next time you hear a politician tell you that you did not go to school to push wheelbarrows, ask him or her how his rhetoric will stop your baby from emptying their bowels in an expensive pamper and the need to throw it away and replace it with a new one. Tell them that you don’t care about sleeping (having sex) with him if that would make him pay you money. Ask him why he is only interested in getting your vote, getting power, forgetting about you, and squandering your taxes by himself and a few cronies. Tell him that this time around, your stomach (interests) as a voter comes first and you will be at peace not bothering to vote on election day.
Disclaimer: This piece is not meant to endorse UDA and deputy president William Ruto for the presidency. It is meant to stress how great a lesson the ‘Kazi ni Kazi’ mindset is.