Those who play dirty win party nomination tickets

Voters burn tyres and twigs at the entrance to Muthiga primary school polling station in south Ngariama. Photo: Mose Sammy/Standard

The expatriate is a man of conscience, drawn to ethical politics. If he is British, he's aware that his Prime Minister has called a snap election for June. Also, since he occasionally reads the Kenyan newspapers, he's aware that there are elections coming up here soon.

But, before elections come the party nominations, and the two countries have rather different approaches to the process.

Back in his home country, the three major parties will be politely deciding upon their constituency candidates.

The Labour Party will be meeting in pubs. Labour men and the occasional woman will be debating policies over pies and beer, and the best pie eater will be nominated. British Conservative Party women (and some men) will be meeting on the country estates of England, their geriatric hair uniformly grey as the mares they've dismounted from. Over glasses of sherry, they will agree that the richest amongst them will be nominated. And, finally, the Liberals will gather in a neighbour's house, sip wine and agree that the most boring amongst them should be fielded.

There's also a 'Green Party', but no-one knows how their nominations are conducted; probably by the squirrels, badgers and foxes!

But in Kenya, such politeness is unknown, and politics is a dirty business, as dirty as the streets and sewers that the elected politicians fail to clean.

Firstly, prospective candidates appear in the media to tell the public how terrible their own parties are, and how they wish to defect to the 'other side', like Jedi Knights in Star Wars might defect to The Dark Side. Soon, they're wooed back, and nominations begin. But few debates or open elections are held. Instead, each candidate hires the following: vehicles as swish as possible, plastered with party colours; baseball caps and teeshirts; a coterie of goons, almost all of them men under the age of 30.

They then drive these numerous vehicles all over the county, causing traffic jams that would, in Britain, see them arrested or voted out of office for being pains in the ar*e.

Finally, when it seems as if the nomination might not come their way, they kidnap their opponents, even though they're supposedly in the same party.

Now, the expatriate isn't entirely cynical, but he does, during such kidnaps, wonder how, if they're willing to kidnap or shoot at fellow senior party colleagues, such nominees will treat mere voters and constituents if they win. And one has to assume that the goon hired today is disposable tomorrow.

Nevertheless, this is more exciting than his own, British nomination process, and the expatriate, on returning home, is enthusiastic about entering politics, if only to kidnap and assassinate Britain's leaders. If arrested, he'll plead insanity or, similarly, he'll say, 'But this is how they do it where I've been living!'

The British government will be less tolerant of such nonsense, and will lock him up for numerous years. If he'd stayed in Kenya, however, such a daring expatriate might have won with a landslide!