What I Learnt From Dabbling in Politics
A True Story
on Oct 27, 2021
MkSomeone once described politics as a show business for ugly people. Even though I consider myself a pretty handsome young man, I had always had an interest in politics since my days at Starehe Institute in 2006. When I was applying to Stanford University in 2006 for undergraduate admission, I mentioned in my application that I wanted to be the President of my country some day.
I can't exactly tell what attracted me to politics. Maybe it's due to the attention politicians receive as well as the opportunities of traveling and public-speaking they have. But I do know my role models in politics were Bill Clinton and Barack Obama; I would listen to their speeches again and again whenever I was in high spirits, and then visualize myself speaking as eloquently as they did. They really did inspire me.
That interest in politics is what led me to matriculate at the University of Nairobi in September 2010 to pursue a degree in Political Science. I enjoyed studying the degree course; I especially remember one Political Science professor telling us that "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely". Sadly, I didn't finish the degree course due to financial constraints.
My inability to finish the degree course didn't deter me from getting into politics. In mid-2011, I announced on Facebook that I would be running for an MP seat in the forthcoming Kenya's General Elections. A few months later, I decided to run for a senatorial seat - a decision that earned me criticism from some friends who thought I was aiming too high since a senatorial seat covers a much bigger area than that of MP.
Realizing that I didn't have the ability and financial resources to run for a senatorial seat, I again changed my political goals sometime in 2012 and decided to gun for a county representative seat, the lowest elective post under the then new constitution in Kenya. Gosh, I felt relieved when I lowered my political ambition to run for a county representative seat. It was like a big load had been taken off my back. And I thought campaigning for the seat would be an easy task for me; as easy as a monkey climbing an iroko tree.
Come electioneering period in 2013, I began facing one hurdle after another. First, I was required to collect 500 signatures from voters in my home-area to be registered as an independent candidate. And wa! Getting those 500 signatures turned out to be a Herculean task. I found it very taxing to go around asking for those signatures, and I recall thinking that once I was done with it, I would have an easy time campaigning.
Eventually after I got bored of walking around asking for signatures, I decided to fake the more than 470 signatures that remained. Luckily for me, the election official to whom I handed over the signatures didn't bother to find out if they were real. She approved all my registration materials and sooner than later, I was registered as a political candidate and given the green light to campaign for the county representative seat of my home-area.
Guess what! Campaigning for the county representative seat turned out to be even harder than collecting 500 signatures. I just found myself lacking the drive to go out there to talk to people the way Bill Clinton and Barack Obama had done in their political careers. Not even opening a Facebook group and posting updates on my campaigns could psyche me up.
Imagine I lacked the drive to campaign so much that I stayed at home on most of the electioneering days. And I will never forget the morning I had to attend a meeting of all political aspirants in my county. That morning, I struggled to get out of bed. Only after much emotional effort did I avail myself for the meeting.
Because I did very little campaigning, I didn't go to vote when election day dawned. I also didn't bother to find out how many votes I garnered in the election. But I am sure I did get at least a dozen or so votes because a few people, including my Mum and Dad, were kind enough to inform me that they had voted for me.
All in all, my efforts to run for a political seat were not in vain because I gleaned a number of insights in the process. I would have loved to pass along those insights to you but let me not do so. Instead, let me just honestly conclude that running for a county representative seat taught me more than I learnt in all my Political Science classes at the University of Nairobi.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on the experiences I had in politics, you might also enjoy another one I wrote more than two years ago on "Why I Gave Up Politics". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Reading the KJV Bible
A True Story
on Oct 22, 2021
The great American statesman Abraham Lincoln, who served as U.S. President for some years in the 19th century, once said, "I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this Book."
A dozen years later, another great American statesman named Theodore Roosevelt, who served as U.S. President early in the 20th century, pointed out that "a thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education".
Then Ronald Reagan, arguably the greatest American president since World War 2, quipped, "Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face."
As you can see, Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan were such great believers in the Bible. Recently, I asked myself: If those wise, learned and clear-thinking statesmen believed deeply in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, who am I to doubt it?
To tell you the truth, there was a time when I doubted the veracity of the Bible; that was in the years 2006 and 2007 when I was a student at Starehe Institute. I remember one night in April 2007 as I was having a conversation with some folks at Starehe, I dismissed the Bible, rather condescendingly, as a book of the Jews.
Around that time I made that condescending remark about the Bible, I joined a choir of All Saints' Cathedral church in Nairobi. Guess what! When it came time to be vetted whether I was fit to sing with the choir on Sundays, one of the choir committee members interviewing me asked me if I read the Bible. I lied to him that I did. And when he insisted on knowing which version of the Bible I read, I again lied to him that I read the King James Version (KJV).
As I have said, I didn't believe in the Bible at that time I was interviewed by a choir committee at All Saints' Cathedral. I just lied that I read the KJV Bible so that I could be permitted to sing with the choir and play the organ. And I don't know how the King James Version Bible came into my mind when one of the committee members insisted on knowing which version of the Bible I read. Maybe it's because it was the version I had heard about most.
The choir committee must have discerned that I was lying because they didn't permit me to sing with the choir. They had me stay on probation for quite a number of months. And during those months, I began warming towards the Bible. Eventually, I came to embrace it as the inerrant Word of God and as my code of conduct.
Over the years, I have managed to read the whole Bible but interestingly, I have never laid my hands on the King James Version (KJV) until this month. Well, I didn't read the whole of it; I only went through the books of Proverbs, Psalms and Matthew (in that order). Imagine since 2007 when I lied to a choir committee at All Saints' Cathedral that I read the KJV Bible, I only read it for the first time this month - that's more than 14 years later! I was such a big liar.
Now, the King James Version Bible is so named because it was published under the auspices of King James of England in the year of our Lord 1611. Having been published many years ago, the KJV Bible is full of such archaic words as "thee", "thou", "thy" and "ye".
Before I began reading the KJV Bible this month, I was a bit apprehensive that it would bore me to death with its archaic language. But wow! I actually enjoyed reading it, so much that I found myself underlining verse after verse which I'd love to read again in the future. Allow me, my dear reader, to briefly tell you the verses from the KJV Bible that stuck most in my memory.
From the book of Proverbs, the verse that I remember most is Proverbs 4:7 which says, "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: And with all thy getting, get understanding." That verse has inspired me to keep growing in wisdom, in knowledge and in understanding.
From the book of Psalms, the verse that I recall most is Psalm 37:5 which says, "Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass." That verse has encouraged me to keep involving God in everything I do and to believe in Him.
And from the book of Matthew, the verses that I recollect most are Matthew 6:14-15 which say, "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Those verses have reminded me that I need to forgive those who have wronged me just as I need to be forgiven for the many times I have erred. That's all I am saying.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on me reading the KJV Bible, you might also enjoy another one I wrote about two years ago on "Understanding the Bible". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.