Reality of politics, it is just work

Copied from Buyer Beware.

Via - Jacqueline Manani


A few years ago when I was working as an associate in a certain law firm, I was asked by my boss to watch brief in a criminal case in which the complainant was a female client. The client had specifically requested that my boss personally handles the matter but my boss assured her that I was upto the task. The matter was coming up in the afternoon of that day so the client and I proceeded to court together. When the matter was called out, the defence counsel applied for an adjournment. This did not please the complainant who was very bitter against the accused person. The court allowed the application for adjournment and gave another date. The defence counsel and I then walked out of court together chatting as advocates always do. When we reached the court grounds, the complainant angrily approached me quarrelling and demanding to know why I was talking and laughing with the defence counsel yet he was representing her enemy. She shouted and created a minor scene. To say that I was angry is an understatement but I kept my cool.

I drove back to the office and immediately reported the matter to my boss. The client followed soon thereafter and proceeded to “report” me to my boss demanding that I should never handle the matter again because, according to her, I was friends with the defence counsel. My boss simply gave her the file and politely asked her to look for another advocate because I was the only one who was to handle the matter and since she felt uncomfortable with me, the firm could not help her. The client was quite shocked.

Why I’m I narrating this story? It is simple really. Advocates appreciate the difference between their work and their professional relationship with colleagues. We fight many court battles on behalf of clients but we leave those battles in court. We do not extend them to our personal lives, our families or our ethnic communities. It is just work and we appreciate it as such. That is why you will set advocates talking, laughing and even having a coffee together soon after having a very heated matter in court.

Today I have realised that politicians are just like advocates. Politics for them is just work. They do not extend it to their personal lives and families and between them the issue of ethnicity does not arise. That is why politicians from across the political divide have been mourning with the Raila family. That is why they were all in church for the requiem service today. For them politics is just work.

Therefore my dear brothers and sisters, you are the fool who abuses a fellow Kenyan because of your political “god”. You are the fool who hates your neighbour from tribe X because of your political master. You are the fool who stereotypes other Kenyans because of your tribal political party. I can assure you, if the politician was asked to choose between you, who is his tribesman, and his political rival from a different tribe, he would choose the rival. Why? Because they are “professional” colleagues, business associates and above all, they are friends. The same way my boss chose me over that unreasonable client. I would choose my professional colleague and friend as opposed to my client. You are simply a “client” to the politician. The sooner you realise that the better for you.

It is just work.