Until recently, I didn’t give much thought to politics. Forgive me. I had long despaired and gave up on the political scene in Kenya. Mostly, due to a perception of national politics having a tribal perception, and, of course, cronyism.
Then on a regional level, I started feeling the effects of bad political leadership. I realized hating and not participating in politics is a self-destructive, ignorant tendency that speaks volumes of how little people know and care about their society.
I zeroed in on my region, Meru County.
We do not lack in the arena of seasoned politicians, some currently incumbent, as well. But life hasn’t really changed much, same old trivia about voting patterns and political loyalties to this and that party that negatively affect development in some regions. I have to examine individuals, both current and past who’ve held leadership positions.
How do I start? Most politicians cement their legacies in charities and foundations, flagship projects, and so on.
And that’s how I stumbled on Hon. Gideon Mwiti Irea, popularly known in political circles as Livondo, who, if you ain’t a politically ignorant fellow, will know served as Central Imenti MP in 2013. Since then, he’s been largely silent, concentrating on personal businesses.
Side bar: this is a post without a political inclination, or endorsement. It’s purely an appreciation for an extraordinary, selfless community outreach initiative that continues to positively impact on the lives of the constituents, years after the politician left office.
Livondo’s charities are a completely on a ‘No-Strings-Attached’ level. I sought to meet the politician through one of his social media accounts.
If you are a Kenyan, you’ll realize meeting a politician nowadays is like an extreme sport. It’s usually hard, and twisted through an endless chain of conniving aides and assistants – sometimes, the problematic issue pushing you to meet a leader loses its time span.
Take a seat, sir. Hear this out.
I dropped a message, and got a call within a few minutes, straight with an appointment the following morning. That’s when I started to feel the magnitude of his charities, and philanthropic foundations. I got a chance to hang out, for a while.
It’s during this time that I bumped into Amb. Francis Muthaura, a former Head of Public Service and a Meru elder, leading a grass-root delegation for a meet and talk. I do not attend such meetings; I have neither the patience nor an ear for political analysis, strategies and potential alliances.
I am interested in charities and philanthropy.
I didn’t have to wait for long.
The politician’s office is like a beehive. Other than ‘walk in’ clients seeking private sponsorships, to schools and colleges – like an elementary pupil I met – complete in school uniform asking for help to clear school fees, there were also a myriad of women groups seeking support and guidance in various micro-projects.
I do not care much for political brilliance, politics is like a game of chess – full of cunning, back-handed dealings. But I do care for the numerous needy, bright children that get an education sponsorship through Livondo Empowerment Initiative.
I was amused to learn that during his tenure, he had arranged for school trips to parliament, to ‘introduce’ school kids to the halls of power. Well, I haven’t been to Parliament Buildings, and I certainly do not aspire to – largely due to my personal views on the conduct of our MPs bordering on their affinity to a bovine level, or worse.
But am certain we have a kid who was inspired enough to dream of a political future.
Closer home, Livondo Empowerment Initiative continues to train jobless youth on life self-dependency skills, like driving and other crafts. I used to read of marathons and soccer tournaments, but I didn’t know they ware attributed to this former MP.
If you thought benchmarking tours started with the Jubilee government, think again. Teachers from Central Imenti have been privately sponsored by this leader for a benchmarking tour in a neighboring country. Well, just saying….
In House of Cards, the movie series, Actor Francis Urquhart, says: Politicians are much like aging authors and women. The dangerous phase in their lives is when they are no longer content with the respect of friends but demand the adulation of an audience.
To me, this is a politician without need for the adulation of any audience.
Next week, look out for a review into a meeting with another political leader, from Meru County.