Political noise. If there is anything Kenyan voters love more than their parents or food, it is noise, especially the one made by politicians when screaming at them or at each other. For several months this year, Kenyan voters have not been a happy lot.
There was so much silence and tranquility, and for a short minute there, they could hear themselves — and that annoys them.
However, early this week, their noisy spirit was awakened, to an extent, when a report they all had been making noise about without knowing its content, was released and that offered them a relief since the silence was almost suffocating them.
Previously, the silence in the political scene, occasioned by the coronavirus restrictions saddened them because they hate quietude. It destabilises them. They prefer shouting at each other over the din of politicians’ hate-filled utterances.
Thus, Covid-19 disrupted their lives in more ways than one, and even though economically was the most cited way through which they suffered, it was the least of their worries considering how excited they get when politicians start shouting at them.
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Also, when it comes to economic hardships, Kenyan voters are used to living through hard economic times, because of bad politics, so much so that they seem to enjoy their status even as they wail about lack of services.
Even as the political noise was nearing a crescendo with the release of the report this week, it should not be forgotten that it had slowly started filtering back a few weeks ago, and Kenyans had started feeling alive again, against the background of a dying economy and people, from coronavirus, violence, and a host of other illnesses due to poor healthcare.
The noise continued to grow and crowds too, at any place a politician made a stopover, so the people could listen to more promises of good days ahead or to name-calling and then cheer and forget about their problems — most, if not, all, of which are due to poor choice of leaders.
All the noises were in anticipation of the report eventually released this week, and was met with cheers and jeers in equal measure.
All the brouhaha before its release was to prepare Kenyan voters to either welcome it or denounce it — without knowing its contents.
To say Kenyans are slow learners or never learn from their mistakes is more than an understatement. Sadly, it is the truth since every election cycle, or every campaign season, which is the whole year round, Kenyan voters are given the same promises and they elect the same leaders, or leaders of the same caliber, who do not deliver.
Licence to steal
Ideally, Kenyans never ask questions. They never take their leaders to task and believe that their only civic duty is to vote, after which the politicians can go back to engaging in underhand deals through which public coffers are drained.
Later, when they need a fresh licence to steal, they go back to the meek voters, and confuse them with more noise and handouts, and they get another opportunity to drain public coffers in to their pockets.
This unbridled love for political noise is the bane of growth, of any form, in Kenya. It kills Kenyans in more ways than one as they are numbed in to thinking that political leaders have the solutions to the country’s problems — as they should, for that is what they are elected for — so they never question them when they are lying.
Most of the problems Kenyans currently face can be trailed back to their collective failure to read and understand national documents that are a product of political processes.
Before promulgation of the 2010 Constitution, they were herded in to two different groups and told what to do.
As draft after draft of the Constitution was being churned out, re-written, tweaked, redrafted and changed, they were bystanders to a process that will impact their lives.
Whatever the politicians said they were adding, removing, augmenting to suit their own whims and egos, Kenyans were fine, just waiting to be told to either reject or accept it without raising any questions.
Their political gods said they had read it for them, so much so that even as they suffer now, they have not bothered to find out the contents of the 2010 Constitution, yet they are still listening to more noise.
Well, the report released this week that proposes certain changes to the 2010 Constitution which Kenyans voted for or against without reading, gives them an opportunity to redeem themselves, but only if they have the spine to stop dancing themselves lame to political noises around it.
Kenyans, demand it, read it and understand it so that you can reject or support it with the full knowledge of what is in it for you — otherwise your sufferance will not end, it will only get worse.
-The writer is an editor at The Standard.