SECTIONS

Kenyan voters must act rationally while electing their leaders

IEBC officials prepare ballot boxes at their Homa-bay headquarters on February 11, 2015 [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

The much-awaited 2022 is here with us.

Once again, elections are around the corner. The decisions we make are likely to determine many things, including the quality of our lives, the level of debt that we are to repay for generations to come, and the security of our nation.

The decisions we make during the electioneering period are very crucial. Any stupid decision on the part of the voter will likely lead to all kinds of negative consequences. Yes, former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson once said, choices have consequences. Stupidity means more than what you think. There are far more people out there who fall into the category of stupid people. Quite often, we only look at a stupid person as one who is ignorant, foolish, or unintelligent.

Far from it. You might see a perfectly well-dressed adult who wears a pair of spectacles, suits, and matching shoes but who daily makes decisions that make you question their sanity. For example, how do you explain the behaviour of an individual who after receiving his monthly salary, forgets about his family and spends all his income in a pub with side chicks? Or how do you relate to an individual who decides to buy expensive phones and electronic gadgets, yet his children sleep hungry?

Stupidity can thus be defined as an act of making, or not making the right decisions at the appropriate time. And yes, sometimes, I have the feeling most of us make silly mistakes. But again, majority of people are deceived by minor desires instead of making decisions based on the impact such decisions have on their lives and future.

For example, during the election period, we make our choices based on ethnicity, or the little cash that candidates give, or slogans that mean nothing. Sometimes you find a candidate making election pledges that are so ridiculous, you wonder whether the people who voted in the person were in their right senses.

But yet again, we shall be filling campaign meetings, cheering and admiring leaders who are offering nothing except slogans and advocating for cheap ideas. In the 2017 election, we witnessed the consequences of irrational decisions.

The main issues in Kenya today are known. We have rampant corruption, poverty, poor health services delivery and unemployment. Any candidate who wants an elective seat should surely be able to speak on how to address such issues. But unfortunately, such issues are never really important for most voters because the quality of leaders they choose is not interested in addressing such important issues. We are often blinded by ethnicity and other stupid decisions.

In contrast to the stupid voter, an intelligent voter is expected to make rational decisions. They are expected to hold elected leaders to account and demand full disclosure of their achievements and use verifiable means to measure such achievements.

An intelligent voter is not swayed by little tokens and mere slogans but looks at a candidate as a tool for delivery for viable and useful development projects. Intelligent people look into the future and don’t get mesmerised by short-term gains. Yes, stupidity is a verb and less of an adjective. So, let’s make intelligent decisions in 2022.

 Mr Guleid is CEO, Frontier Counties Development Council.