Debate rife as hustler, dynasty gain acceptance

Friday, October 23rd, 2020 00:00 | By
Raila Odinga (left) and Deputy President William Ruto
Raila Odinga (left) and President William Ruto at a past event. PHOTO/Courtesy

Debate is rife across the country on who is at the hustlers or dynasties corner. As of now, the discourse is at its initial stages and its full implication may not be clear yet, to many. 

The art of communication functions is to legitimise a concept. Terms that were previously anathema, to the mainstream of the population over time, begin to gain acceptance and even adoption by the majority. 

As the terms and concepts gain mainstream acceptance, they assume new meaning; what may be referred to as preferred reading.

The public, in using the term, assume and apply the meaning attributed to the term by the popular use.

It is within this context that we read the mainstreaming of the terms hustlers and dynasties.

Hustlers today, denotes the social class perceived to be disadvantaged in society, marginalised from the economy’s mainstream, engaging in the bandit economy and the lot. 

On the other hand, the label dynasty is also equally evolving as a political term and with economic undertones. 

As currently applied, it may reference those perceived to be holding leverage over powers of the State.

But it broadens to form a big tent that includes people in the formal economic sector and those who have held power in one form or another whether legitimately or otherwise. 

The perception is that the marginalisation of the hustlers is due to the acts of the members of the dynasty.

It is perceived that all the challenges that the hustlers face, is because the dynasties acted in their own interest, rather than in the interest of the larger society.

Looked at through these frames, the hustler movement gains legitimacy as a movement to right the wrongs of both omission and commission by the dynasty.

Since the acts of the dynasties have caused such marginalisation, the logical conclusion is to go the full hog, employing every means, to correct these wrongs. 

There are myriad dangers attending this perceived logic but probably the most consequential is its impact on the stability of the nation.

If dynasties have caused such inequality and wrongs in society then Robin Hood’s tactics, become legitimate measures to right the wrongs.

In what is likely to turn into a Hobbesian world of free for all, the hustler evangelists would turn on society generally to claim what should have been theirs by right if the dynasties had not interfered.

In this world, hustlers would see it as legitimate to right the wrongs by whatever means.

It would be a legitimate tactic to mug, because those who own what can be of interest to the mugger, belong to the social class of dynasties and thus a legitimate target.

It is legitimate to overcharge commodities and services because, after all, the owners of stalls are dynastic and thus a legitimate target; and so on. Anyone who thinks of himself as a hustler, will turn against the other whom he thinks of as a dynasty. 

In a recent posting, a leading member of the hustler narrative, labelled police force as part of the hustler class.

It is a powerful narrative to recruit the police and influence their behaviour. 

If police officers  are Hustlers, then the narrative would go, they have no business protecting the other section of the society due to their perceived illegitimate means of being where they are. 

The choice to direct society towards this path is fatal. It is leading a revolution against itself with consequences that may be too dire to contemplate at the moment.

Those who manufacture national ideologies, would do well to consider the impact of their success.

If one was to preserve society, a better, less divisive approach would in fact be worthy of consideration. — The writer is dean , School of Communication, Daystar University

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