The language of politics that appeals to the working class is not the same political language that may appeal to middle class intellectuals. During every election period, the public scrutinizes every message that politicians portray during or through their campaigns, manifestos and every action that they conduct during the period leading up to the election date, judging them in order to make an informed decision. Most of these messages are geared towards the lower (poorer) classes of society and on the upper (richer) classes, and such are the actions too. This is because both groups provide considerable leverage in terms of numbers of votes and finances to run the campaigns against competitors. Also, agendas are geared towards alleviating the poverty levels of the particular area or the country as a whole and/or protecting the rich such that they may not lose their hard earned property. In all this, the middle class is somewhat ignored but rides on the programmes geared towards the other classes such as policies on land ownership, food prices, social services, security e.t.c.
An interesting fact states that there are more middle class families in Africa than there are in Asia, meaning that African countries should focus on the middle class who are the ones who generally run the economy, as they have the power to control its highs and lows. Therefore, the middle class are a strong force in any class because they are the majority urban white collar workers and commercial farmers. The middle class is characterized by intellectuals (individuals who have attended institutions of higher learning), young families and professionals, small land owners and upon whom a majority of the population depend on.
Kenyan politicians generally use the populism strategy which is that political ideas and activities are intended to represent ordinary people’s needs and wishes irrespective of their class in society but the modern politician should gear each of his/her messages to best fit the different groups who listen to them. The modern politician should also look at how best they are meant to use their positions to bring everyone up to a better standard of living and to have their rights protected. The new constitution, although yet to be fully implemented, has gone a long way to ensure a uniformity of rights available to each and every citizen.
The middle class, characterized by the majority of the intellectuals in the society, are more interested in the fulfillment of public servants performance contracts and need physical evidence to gauge these activities. Voters care more for what the politicians are able to do for the people in terms of the services and representing the people’s wishes in the Parliament. Constituents are also interested in the processes that go into delivery of the services i.e. the procedures that go into spending CDF funds on the correct projects that add value to the lives of the constitution and in a free and fair manner.
To appeal to the middle class masses, politicians should focus on the values that are held dear by that group such as education, employment and peaceful business environments that allow the citizens to conduct business. Public servants should perform their duties as specified in their contracts, to conduct them in a free and fair way that is beneficial to their people and not for personal gain. Acting consultatively with groups to discover voters’ needs and wants in order to fully incorporate them into their manifestos would help politicians really see what their people want form them. In conclusion, the middle class, much like any other class of people want their voice to be heard and their wishes to be fostered.