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Peculiar voting habits have put Kenyans in their current mess

CLAY MUGANDA
By Clay Muganda | March 7th 2021
A woman displays money in Sh200 notes that she alleged to have been used to bribe voters during the 2019 Kibra By-election. [File, Standard]

Some years ago, Kenyans’ habits were described as peculiar and they were offended though they knew they were and are worse than that. Over the years, they have continuously proven their habits are peculiar especially where and when elections, politics and definitely politicians are involved.  

On Thursday, during the by-elections for less than ten parliamentary and county assembly seats, Kenyans proved that they indeed have deplorable habits. That will not change soon because Kenyans abhor change and love their vicious cycle of bad mannerisms.

We can argue that when their habits were described as peculiar many years ago, it was in relation to their usage of the then new-fangled technology of cellular phones. To be fair, they were just hanging up on the fixed-line telephony whose equipment they used to vandalise while their crafty politicians were ripping off the State entity that was the service provider.

The person who described them thus could not understand why they all had the herd mentality of making calls from Friday afternoon to early evening and jamming the network then whining about poor connectivity.

It was more like what happens with vehicular traffic in Nairobi or generally in Kenyan towns, more so when it rains and you wonder whether the rainwater suddenly displaces air in the empty spaces that Nairobi motorists keep proving exist in their heads.

They all drive recklessly and block one another then cause gridlocks but cannot see that they are the cause and that it is a simple case of narrow minds on wide roads. Herd mentality is experienced when Kenyans see politicians or hear about elections. Not that they cause traffic gridlocks, even though it happens but their minds become narrower, their thinking capacity gets constricted and they lose their collective memory and all head towards violence, and subsequently harm. They forget the most traumatic events they experienced because of elections and politicians and engage in violent acts that can cause a replay of that dark past which many families have not recovered from.

The caterwauling and skirmishing witnessed on Thursday in Nakuru and parts of western Kenya because of the mini polls are not without precedent and neither were they spontaneous, but Kenyans cannot remember that. They easily get excited when they see it. They love meaningless fights but are always ready to wail afterwards, and lay blame on forces they cannot point a finger on and say, ‘here is the person who made me fight or get injured.’

They have been conditioned, by politicians no less, to blame their woes on others and to parrot what they are told is the reason they live under deplorable economic conditions, and their situation cannot improve. They increasingly believe half-truths peddled by warmongers who make promises they never keep. Kenyan voters gladly swallow lies because they are convinced with cash handouts on voting day, but are immediately forgotten about as their transient saviours leave to their safe havens, built and serviced by stolen monies.

The physical fights at polling stations are never spontaneous and are a culmination of several months, at times even years, of acerbic statements, finger-pointing and blame games — fuelled by Kenyans in high and low places who cheer them on. Kenyans keep shouting about the need for change, but at their individual levels, they cannot think beyond their stomachs. Of course, the economy cannot sustain their fight for the changes they yearn for because, at the beginning of the day, they scrounge around for food, shelter and clothing, and that is how they end up at the feet of the politicians who give them nothing but promises.

Maybe they are blinded by hunger and just want something, anything, even if it is just empty promises. But their brains have been dulled, dumbed with incessant war-mongering — and the dullards that they have become, cannot see that they are being encouraged to keep begging, asking for favours, yet the coins they are bribed with are part of the money stolen from their taxes. There is no denying that Kenyans have peculiar habits — and mostly peculiar voting habits because they always elect politicians who want to keep them poverty-ridden unless they follow their wicked, wicked ways and become thieves too.

Oh, also, the mobile telephony chap could not understand why some Kenyans were repeatedly calling the provider’s customer care line just to listen to the voice telling them how much calling credit they had. If their aim was to punish or overwork the provider’s customer care staff, their calls ended up jamming the network and inconveniencing fellow Kenyans or even themselves.

That is a typical Kenyan mindset. They do things that do not and value their lives and end up hurting them. They vote for politicians not based on what they can do, but because they want to punish other people. And Kenya is where it is at now economically not because of the pandemic, but because of Kenyans’ peculiar voting habits — and they are not likely to change for the better meaning, the worst is yet to come.

 

-The writer is an editor at The Standard

 

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