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It’s incredible how we forget our suffering amid political clatter

By Clay Muganda | September 20th 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Poor memory. If anyone ever said Kenyans are forgetful, that would not be a lie because there is probably no country where people fail to remember their past mistakes and keep making them over and over again even when they are suffering.

Many a time, the few voices of reason that can be heard over the overall din of rampant vacuous raucousness, say Kenyans deliberately forget past events because they easily get excited even when they know their momentary joy will end in tears.

Kenyans’ highest level of juvenile excitement was witnessed on Thursday, when senators agreed on a revenue sharing formula for the counties. They could have done that months ago, but instead, they were out to impress their tinpot political deities and score points with their vacuous voters who cheered them on — in another show of giddiness.

On Kenya’s cybersphere, users were atwitter with congratulatory messages — many bordering on zealotry — to the senators and their political godfathers, yet the Senate just did what it is supposed to do. That Kenyans applauded senators for doing what they are elected, and get paid, to do reveals the dumbed mindset of a citizenry whose collective cri de cœur is the need for change so they can have leaders who can be held accountable.

For the past seven or so years, this cry has been louder, but sadly, these cries are getting drowned out by political noise and unnecessary excitement like what was witnessed on Thursday.

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Even as people were celebrating the senators’ little wins, they did not ask about any big gains that were achieved by the revenue allocated previously, or on what this current tranche will be spent. That has been the problem.

By the time a solution over any political or constitutional impasse is found, so much noise has been made around it that the core issue is forgotten, and Kenyans skirt around the main item and instead dance to the noise it generated.

Political noises make Kenyans so happy that they forget their sorrows, and when the noise dies down, which it seldom does, they realise they were getting giddy over nonsense because their pockets and stomachs are emptier and standards of living lower. Kenyans have been numbed, with their permission of course, in to thinking that politicians are doing them a favour, and they fear upsetting the graft cart laden with corrupt and corruptible political class by questioning their words and deeds.

Almost every day, politicians fly around and zoom past Kenyans in choppers and cavalcades of high-end vehicles, and when they stop, they promise the sun, the moon and the stars in places where hunger and ignorance have darkened the bellies and minds of Kenyans.

Undiluted corruption

They swear that they will turn the lives of the people around, and for a moment dish out cash then scoot back to their mansions, but Kenyans never question whether all the opulence they saw plus what they were given as charity is borrowed or is from friends.

Either way, Kenyans never think how these political leaders will pay back their lenders and friends. It is common knowledge that they get paid in the form of underhand deals, skewed tendering processes and government appointments.

That right there, is undiluted corruption being smeared on Kenyans’ faces. That is theft hitting them in their heads and shouting in their ears, and showing them how that they can stop the perpetual thievery by demanding answers, or voting wisely, but they are blinded by the faux philanthropy and deafened by the unachievable promises and cannot realise they are being conned.

Kenyans promise themselves daily that they will make things better, but they find that too cumbersome and fall in line for the corrupt politicians, and elect them again.

From the last election, they have been talking about change, but now, two years to the election, they have started falling in line and yesterday’s demons are today’s saviours and vice versa, even when they are aware that all political groupings are run by demons. They know what is hindering growth, but when there is a chance to stop it, people go back to their ethnic cocoons and defend the people who have caused them the suffering.

This act of seeing political enemies around elected leaders when they are asked to account does not only show the kind of grip they have on their followers, but it gives them the power, strength and justification to steal from the public.

Kenyans are good at screaming about poor state of affairs, poor service delivery, lack of healthcare facilities, and yes, they weep about corruption, but who are the beneficiaries of corruption, even if it is just for a moment during a political rally?

As Kahlil Gibran wrote, we choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them, and right now, Kenyans are choosing their sorrows — and it will not be long before they start crying, yet again.

-The writer is a senior editor at The Standard. [email protected] ?


Corruption Politics
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