Elders hike consultation fees, cite Corona and high operations costs

By People Daily
Monday, November 2nd, 2020
Elders hike consultation fees, cite Corona and high operations costs.
In summary

Politicians will now have to dig deeper into their deep pockets to procure the highly-sought-after services of the country’s venerable elders.

Citing the coronavirus pandemic and the skyrocketing cost of operations, the elders have announced a sharp rise in consultation fees.

They also said the new fees had taken into account inflation, the state of the global economy and what other professionals in the election campaign industry are paid.

But a source close to the elders disclosed that the real reason behind the increase in the fees is the growing demand for their services as the elections draw close.

Campaign kitty

“There is that law about demand and supply, right? It is the high season in the political elder industry and only a fool does not make hay while the sun shines,” said the source.

Among the services that the politicians will now have to cough up more to secure include being made a community spokesmen, tribal leaders and elders.

Services for endorsement to run for a political seat and blessings will also now cost the politicians an arm and a leg. 

And so will the cost of hiring a rival group of elders to come out and denounce the group that endorsed your opponent as “imposters”.

Do you want a group of scary-looking elders to meet at an equally horrid shrine and pronounce bloodcurdling curses on your bitter rival? Well, you won’t get that service for a song this time around.

Sending elders as emissaries to convince an election opponent to drop out of the race in your favour will also eat deeper into your campaign kitty.

“Due to the high operations costs and the prevailing economic crisis caused by the coronavirus, we, the elders of Kenya, have no choice but revise our fees upwards.

That is the only way we will remain afloat during these difficult times,” the elders said in a statement.

For example, the elders said it now costs more to transport a delegation of elders visiting well-appointed homes in the city or upcountry to endorse or crown a politician.

The cost of three-legged stools, fly whisks, rungu, walking sticks, ceremonial dresses, special anointing oils and water, sacred leaves and other paraphernalia had also shot through the roof, according to the elders.

Hair dye (white) and other special effects that help elders, who have refused to age naturally despite being in their 30s, to look the part also don’t come cheap, they said.

But some elders were more outspoken, saying the fees had to go up because their services were now in very high demand and will remain so for the next two years.

“Business is good and there has never been a better time to be a political elder in Kenya,” said Mzee Komboa, who belongs to a group calling itself K-hire Elders.

Narrow industry

Komboa said the profit window in the political elder industry is extremely narrow and it is wise to utilise it to the fullest while it lasts.

The politicians, he said, literally treat them like dirt after the elections and only discover their worth when the next polls are around the corner. 

“Gone are the days when these people plied us with pots of busaa and a few dirty bank notes.

We demand to be paid market rates like bloggers, hecklers, cheerleaders, goons, sycophants, pastors, professional defectors and other election campaign professionals,” he said.

By the time of going to press, however, a rival group of elders had sent a statement to newsrooms rejecting the earlier statement and the people who sent it as imposters.

“Those are not the bona fide elders. They are imposters trying to hijack the industry for selfish ends,” they said in the statement.

The new group promised to issue the “correct” fee structure for future engagements with politicians “after careful and consultative deliberations with all members.”[email protected]