Let’s shelve degree demand for election to public office

Miguna Miguna
The country is up a creek [without a paddle] and so you must wonder why I am writing about degree requirements for elective offices. Let me assure you there’s a connection.

The idiom aptly captures our dire predicament. In the Second Coming, Irish poet W B Yates paints a dark and haunting picture of the future of the planet. He conjures up an apocalyptic vista in which everything is chaotic, dastardly, and foreboding.

The universe is falling apart in a Book of Revelation-like catastrophes that are paranormal. It’s dark and horrific. I would say that defines the Kenya of the last several weeks. We’ve fallen off the cliff. We can’t do any worse than examine the caliber of our leaders.

Recall the first stanza of the Second Coming by the iconic Yates.

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Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

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The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all convictions, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

The earth may open up to swallow Kenya, but like the falcon, we cannot hear the falconer. Nothing makes sense any more.

How can we raise children when all innocence has been lost? Think of the “forcible deportation” of the man with the same name twice. I mean – I thought you could deport a Kenyan back to the village but surely not to Canada. It’s no laughing matter but Kenyans would’ve been less aghast had Jubilee only given Miguna Miguna a “time-out” in Nyando.

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What do we tell our children – that the gods have cursed us? Why do we keep giving Afro-pessimists ammunition? Didn’t Donald Trump already call us “shithole countries?” He must be laughing uproariously in the White House.

I digress. The point of my column is to upend degrees as a credential for elective offices. I say this – let’s shred the law that demands that requirement. Let’s burn it – and toss the ashes over Lake Victoria. You ask why. I ask why not? As far as I can tell, there’s nary a distinction between a university graduate and a “village idiot.” No – I am wrong. Sometimes there’s a distinction, and often, the “village idiot” is a lot smarter than the graduate. Which begs the question – which genius decided only graduates are eligible for election to public offices? Politicians, unlike professionals, are not technocrats.

Our noggins ought to make that simple distinction. Do you doubt me? If so, look at our political class and how the state is being run. Can you honestly look me in the eye and tell me with a straight face the Jubilee honchos running the state went to school? If they did – and they say so – then what’s the difference between them and those who didn’t? Can you tell the difference between a politician with a fake degree and one with a real degree? I look at them and I don’t have the foggiest. The difference in their performance isn’t whether one has a real degree and the other a fake one. The difference is whether one is a servant and the other a master-hustler.

In a democracy, a person eligible to vote should be eligible to be voted for. That should be the only criterion – and in Kenya it’s being a citizen who has attained eighteen years of age. Most of our people have no degrees. A lot of them never made it Form Four. By imposing a snooty – totally discriminatory and meaningless degree requirement – we have knocked out many servants who are ready to step up. By the same token, we have handed an exclusive ticket to a malignant degree-holding “educated” few to lord it over us.

We have taken away a democratic birthright of the majority of our people and told them they cannot serve. Let’s return to sanity and restore their rights. We can’t argue the point – there’s no empirical evidence that supports the degree requirement. If anything, thugs go and buy degrees and beat the system.

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Even in America – arguably the most advanced democracy [if you discount the era of Trump] – one doesn’t have to be a graduate to run for the US Congress. What irony that a poor, uneducated country like Kenya would rob its citizens a basic constitutional right. We’ve seen our country go down the drain these last few weeks. It wasn’t the people without degrees who’ve driven it down the ditch. Things are falling apart under the watch of our “educated elite.”  I am sick and tired of being sick and tired of our elite. Let’s give our “village idiots” a bite of the apple. A toast to “village idiots!”

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