Politics through the eyes of a child

"You cannot trust these politicians any further than you can throw them," I tell Tenderoni and Pudd'ng as I leave the dinner table.

Tenderoni and Pudd'ng know that I am not a fan of politicians. That, as soon as political news comes on TV, I either change the channel or leave the table.

"Politicians' kids are buddies," I told Pudd'ng a month ago. "They hang out together, while the rest of us are fighting for them."

"Even the children of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga?" Pudd'ng asked.

I nodded.

"Why do they seem like enemies on TV?" Pudd'ng kept asking, "Are they acting?"

Exactly. Acting is the word.

This is one of the truths that our children need to know, so that – though election is a serious business - they take politicians' words with a tonne of salt.

I am glad Pudd'ng is getting a "civic" education. Henceforth, she will view politicians with 'doubt-tinted' blinkers, and not swallow their lies and mind games.

The first line of influence

"When will I be allowed to vote?" Pudd'ng has been asking, and counting to the year and month when she will cast her first vote in a General Election.

Pudd'ng is excited that she will be able to exercise her democratic right, but she does not know that it goes way beyond casting her vote.

But right now, when we ask Pudd'ng who she would vote for, her preference is influenced by the personalities and parties that she hears us talking about.

We are our daughter's first line of influence. Politically, our choices rub on her, and she goes for the same choices, without questioning our judgment, or lack thereof.

My first vote was influenced by my father, who demanded of me, as an obedient son, to cast my 'three-piece' votes for one party. In subsequent elections, I learnt that the commandment; "Thou shall honour thy father and mother" – does not necessarily apply to such issues. That, in some matters, God expects me to exercise my own judgment.

Subverting the rule of law

Nowadays, many schools have adopted the culture of electing prefects and other student representatives. It is not solely the teachers' prerogative, like it was in the days when I went to school.

But even in learning institutions where democracy has spoken, there will be characters who will try to have their way.

Pudd'ng told me about a new teacher in one of the senior classes in her school, who barely a week after joining the school, dethroned the elected prefect, and imposed her own preferred person.

"The elected prefect's mother came to school," Pudd'ng explained, "and the head teacher returned the elected prefect back to his rightful position."

Talk about supreme justice.

But here is the freaking flipside. From a young age, our kids are learning that the way of a democratic process can be subverted by an authority figure. That is sad.

But, on the other hand, they are learning that unconstitutional decrees can be corrected by an authority figure who respects the rule of law.

Voter apathy

Last night, I jokingly told Tenderoni and Pudd'ng that this year I would not vote. They stopped eating and stared at me like I had grabbed the last morsel of cupcake from their mouths.

"Why would you do that?" the lead counsel, Tenderoni asked, as her little assistant got ready to fire more questions.

"On that day we will make sure that you vote," Pudd'ng insisted.

If I see through my no-voting threat, I will spend the next five years, till August 2022, being reminded that I failed my family and the country.

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