It’s time Kenyans stopped lapping on empty promises from politicians


The other day, a photograph of a former governor standing under a tree, and surrounded by a group of people was doing the rounds on social media. There was also another photograph of him in a garden, or call it a shamba, doing some activity with a traditional hoe.

Normal stuff you can say, which any person who has lived, or lives in the village has done, or does, and care less about being photographed.

These are normal things which should not pique anyone’s interest, but Kenyans saw the photographs and got extremely excited. And happy that the politician is so down to earth, closer to them.

Photographs of politicians engaged in mundane normal, everyday activities are commonplace. Politicians getting their shoes polished. Buying items from itinerant traders. Eating at roadside food joints have filled the cybersphere. Kenyans summarise that as “it is that time.”

These photos do not post themselves on social media sites. They are posted by employees of these politicians who want to show that they care for the voters, and engaging in their everyday activities is proof that they understand their problems. Their suffering. And will change their economic situation, and thus improve their standards of living.

It is the silly season. It is that time for politicians to tell more lies, just as they have been doing for the past five years. Or they did the last time they wanted an elective position.

Sad as it may sound, Kenyan voters are lapping up all these lies. The empty promises of making their lives better are getting them all excited, and they are happy that things will change.

They have forgotten that for the past five years, they have been crying. They are still crying. Wailing over the poor state of affairs. The national food reserves are almost empty. Yet they were told everything about improving food security. That there will never lack. They will never sleep on empty stomachs. But nothing has changed.

Millions face starvation, not just because of drought, a natural phenomenon, but because of poor planning. And theft. By the politicians. They sold lies, gave empty promises, and Kenyans swallowed all that, got extremely excited and voted for them.

It can be said that Kenyans did not know that things will be this bad, and were hoping for the best. But experience is the best teacher, and the voters should have known because telling lies and giving promises that are never kept are just some of the crimes that Kenyan politicians have been committing for years.

Currently, that is what they are doing. It is that time. They will do it till the polls next year, and it can be argued that they have been doing that from the time they took office. Stealing, and giving empty promises.

They know that Kenyans love promises. They never care whether the previous ones were kept. They love new things, and new promises excite them more. And right after they have voted, and gone back to their humdrum lives, the politicians will come and give them newer promises. And they will clap. And dance. And at times fight among themselves.

In the past several months, rookie and veteran politicians at all levels of elective politics have promised Kenyans all sorts of things. Some of the promises they are making were made seven election cycles ago, and have never been delivered by successive legislators, pre and after devolution.

There are places in Kenya without running water. A basic need that should not be a point of discussion in any 21st century country. It should not be, but it is because Kenya is run by charlatans. Day light robbers to say the least, because money is always allocated for such basic needs, but it is all embezzled and used for putting up dazzling buildings in towns and cities and buying other mod cons for their personal use.

Lack of water and other basic needs make good entry points to the tired stories of “our communities are marginalised.”

What they never say is that they have impoverished their communities by stealing all the public funds. What remains after they have invested what they looted is used to bribe new and old voters during the campaign period, the silly season.

The looting of public resources happens at all levels of elective politics. Although it is higher at the top offices, the accomplices are at the lower levels.

They are the foot soldiers, and their job is to protect the kingpins, who in turn also use their immense power to protect them as they steal from kitties meant for the constituencies and wards.

Looting at any level makes Kenyans poorer, and lowers their living standards. Kenyans know that. But mundane acts of kindness during the silly season, wipe away their collective memory, making it a blank slate that can take in more promises — which lead to more suffering.

Only Kenyans can stop the suffering. By refusing to lap up the promises they are being given now until they know why the previous ones were not kept.

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