Kenya: difference between middle and upper class

By Nyamwange Ombuna

To many, separating middle class and working class becomes a huge task if asked to. Here is the difference;

The working class is NOT the middle class. Those, in real sense are poor people, a single tragedy away from poverty.

So who are the middle class?

These are people who are doing better than working class, but not as good as the affluent (upper class). Anyone who survives on salaries whether it’s Ksh100,000 or Ksh1 million is not a member of the middle class. Those are just workers, proletariats in a more technical word. If fired, poverty will be looking straight into their eyes.

In economic terms, the proletariat are factors of production (labor). I have also seen people make another mistake, thinking people like Joshua Oigara, late Bob Collymore, Gideon Muriuki of co-op bank, Jeremy Owuor are working class. They are not. Those people do not earn salaries (salaries make a small percentage of their total income).

In a snapshot, those are people who make the middle class. They are managers of the bourgeoisie, and own significant stake in factors of production (including employees since they are factors of production). Among them are business people, professional likes partners in KPMG and PwC, consultants, politicians and their families.

Suffice to say politics is not a game for the affluent. I am sure you have heard of cartels or Muthaiga power brokers. They pick one boy and send them to vie for a political seat, and will control the boy all their term!

So who are the affluent or upper class that follow the middle class?

Those are people who can take breakfast in New York, lunch in France, and supper in Johannesburg. They can lose half their wealth and feel no pinch at all. They finance elections and determine policies in the country. They hardly speak directly, but their interests are always catered for.

In an economic crisis, they will remain comfortable purchasing and disposing luxury items like cars, choppers, and houses. When all and sundry are crying in a recession, they may be busy spending outrageous amounts of money. They are people who have invested so much that if one collapses, another gains directly from the collapse. Think of Kirubis, Uhuru, Bidco boss, Chandaria and others.

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