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Chopper Democracy, the expensive affair that our elective positions have become

By John Omondi:

As politicians try to outdo each other on the skies, so are their curious supporters. A man hangs precariously on a helicopter carrying opposition presidential candidate Raila Odinga in Meru early this year.

The current surge in number of helicopters used by politicians on campaign trail across the country is proving once again the expensive affair that our elective positions have become save for a few individual aspirants who managed to sneak their way through the maze that was the party primaries without spending a fortune.

The flaunting of raw political and financial power is more pronounced by the increase in number of leaders traversing rural constituencies in choppers literally taking the battle for numbers to the sky.

The air horse with a capability to make near impossible maneuvres and fly low has become the object of adoration for rural folks with each one trying to out do one another in heroic stunts fondly refered to as “James Bond” by hanging precariously on the planes before take off with many ending in courts of law charged with flouting various aviation safety laws.

Meanwhile for the politicians, it is a machine of choice and used to make a political statement to their rivals, sending an early warning for the competitor to brace for an epic battle of titanic proportions that may otherwise leave them bankrupt should they fail to capture the coveted seats to allow them recoup their investments and pay  off their loans.

The campaigns have ushered in aspirants with deep pockets, spending with reckless abandon, oozing opulence and falling over themselves in splashing obscene amounts of money to the chagrin of the rural constituents and the not so endowed rival competitors.

It has now become the norm and what a convenient way of intimidating your rivals than to ride in a dusty village in a convoy of choppers and the ululation that follows such an occasion.

With the vote-hunting period officially underway, the demand for air services is going to grow.

Some of the aspirants in the big boys’ league already cris-crossing the country’s political terrain include Kirinyaga Women representative contender Purity Ngirichi leading the pack in her county with a registered 5YJNM leased from Flex Aviation. Another top dog is NASA supremo Raila Odinga who straddles the country’s landscape like a colossus in a Eurocopter and

Uasin Gishu gubernatorial aspirant Bundotich Zedekia Kiprop otherwise known as Buzeki. Other notable high flyers include Musalia Mudavadi with a Eurocopter registration number 5Y TXM Simon Nyachae Eurocopter 5Y HSN, Mwai Kibaki’s 5Y FWE, and Gideon Moi Just to mention but a few.

As the General elections nears, Kenyans are going to be treated to a breathtaking power play with choppers being the weapon of choice as far as vote hunting and mobilization is concerned. But even as the battle lines are drawn, the voters remain to be the most lethal weapon for those poised to carry the day come August 8.

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