SECTIONS

With party primaries over, it is now time to ask hard questions

Ballot box at a voting station in Iten Primary during UDA party primaries, April 14, 2022. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

It has been several months of noise and name-calling. Months of spreading lies, half-truths and alternative facts before the party primaries that ended two days ago.

The results of the primaries should act as a guide, for, that was the first vetting exercise.

As we prepare for the main elections, we should start asking the hard questions, and we should not get distracted by the noise like it has been happening for the past several months.

While it should ideally just be a short silly season, in Kenya, the campaign period runs for years, and politicians like it that way because it gives them more time to confuse the electorate.

All the rhetoric they feed us in those months is meant to distract us from taking them to task, and we all fall for it, then parrot their lies and conspiracy theories.

The current campaign season started immediately after the last General Election. Winners started seeing political enemies everywhere, both in and out of their offices.

They started campaigning against their real and imagined foes, planning how to upgrade to other seats or defend what they had.

From that time, Kenyans have been bombarded with all sorts of messages, none of which address the problems they face daily.

All the promises that were made before the last election were barely fulfilled, but they continued making more, and vowing to improve lifestyles and end all the problems that existed before they took office and multiplied during their term.

Those aspiring to unseat them also came with promises, and as usual, lies, half-truths and alternative facts. Chest-thumping was the name of the game.

Each one of them was sure of flooring the other — and there is nothing wrong with that — only that all of them were selling the same lies, packaged differently.

The results of the primaries should act as a guide, for, that was the first vetting exercise. [Renson Mnyamwezi, Standard]

But the party primaries did a number on them, as those who exuded confidence that they would retain their seats, upgrade or unseat the incumbent fell by the wayside.

Whether they were rigged out should not be of concern because Kenyans have been culturised not to accept defeat — almost at all levels of governance and in many professions.

It is probably only in Kenya where so-called prominent lawyers lose cases then wail on social media platforms that the Judiciary is corrupt, but they praise its independence when they win.

While Kenyans can now claim to have vetted the politicians and are remaining with a few good ones, what is there is still a mixed bag of charlatans, cheats, ne’er-do-wells and outright criminals.

If ours were a civilised society as we claim it is, some of the people who will be on the ballot in August should be behind bars for life, not out here promising us heaven and earth and us falling for it.

During this silly season, they have been naming problems Kenyans grapple with and vowing to solve them. In the process, they blame other people and forces, and never at any one time admit they caused the problems.

It is common knowledge that they are responsible for the poor economy and high cost of living. They passed all the laws that led to increased borrowing, introduced new taxes or raised the rates of existing ones.

The laws that have consigned Kenyans to life of suffering, were passed by the current crop of elected representatives who either want to defend their seats or upgrade to others from where they can protect their loot, or steal comfortably and cover their backs.

None of them wants to take responsibility, and all of them rate themselves highly, yet we can see and feel how poorly they performed.

They live in their heads, and when they come out, they attack one another, call each other names, label some as projects and the voting machines that Kenyans are, cheer them on, then go back to their hovels to ruminate over their problems.

All is not lost though. In the few remaining months, they should be taken to task over their promises. If Kenyans agree to be distracted, and do not ask the hard questions before the polls, the situation will only get worse and the suffering will not end.