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ELECTION 2022

Polls shouldn't be a matter of shock and awe tactics

COMMENTARY
By Edwin Sifuna | Sep 11th 2016 | 3 min read
The city is awash with crimson coloured top of the range vehicles. Yet we have not heard of a funds drive, and one wonders whether some people’s money grows on trees. Is it not the beneficiaries of graft oiling the wheel for yet another roller coaster ride? PHOTO: COURTESY

The words ‘illusion’ ‘deception’ ‘trickery’ come to mind in reference to the popular art form known as stage magic. When skillfully executed, good stage magic can leave naïve observers with the impression that the performer possesses supernatural powers. In truth, a conjurer of tricks uses sleight of hand and misdirection to achieve apparently impossible outcomes.

Misdirection is a form of deception in which the attention of an audience is focused on one thing to distract its attention from another. Magic works by misdirection. The magician exploits your tendency to look at the obvious while the real action is taking place elsewhere. Managing the audience’s attention is the aim of all theatre, it is the foremost requirement of theatrical magic.

It’s that time of the season when the government dons the street magician cap and swings into full scale deception for purposes of ensuring a favourable percentage at the ballot box. The theatre is the Jubilee Party launch. Figures like Sh300 million have been casually tossed about as the cost of the launch.

The city is awash with crimson coloured top of the range vehicles. Yet we have not heard of a funds drive, and one wonders whether some people’s money grows on trees. Is it not the beneficiaries of graft oiling the wheel for yet another roller coaster ride?

Our brothers think that money is might and right. They put on a dazzling light show complete with pyrotechnics because they need to divert public attention from the TNA manifesto that remains a litany of broken promises. One wonders what is it that is in the new Jubilee Party that was not claimed to have been in TNA? Are these not the very same people and the very same delegates under a different name? What is different apart from the luxury of being in control of the national purse?

The extravagant performance they have put up was meant to make Kenyans forget that four years ago, we had a similar event at which the same people undertook to deliver on the many promises they made to Kenyans.

The only undertakings that have been fully delivered on are forcing matters at the ICC and the silent promise to look the other way while campaign contributors recouped their investments. Little wonder the government has been fighting corruption with a feather brush.

To add insult to injury, the line between the new Jubilee Party and government has become thin indeed.

Save for the military jet flyby, JAP’s launch was indistinguishable from a state event. No surprise that when delegates at Kasarani demanded to be paid, they were soothed by assuarances by DP William Ruto that Jubilee wasn’t just a party, it was also government. We can expect to see taxpayer money continue to line the nest of JP. This is totally immoral and is unfair competition to other political parties.

The frenzied and maniacal manner the government is reacting to the approaching election is a sure sign of panic. They know they have little on the results column and the approach seems to be to shower so much money that we will literally be blinded by it.

Every cloud has a silver lining though, and the good news is that only a few wananchi are as gullible as they are apparently estimated to be. Many citizens are looking forward to the time when their representatives from Head of State to MCA, suddenly become attentive, available and not least of all, generous.

This is what for many the campaign period represents. An opportunity to extract what they can before the elections.

While it is just and right for taxpayers to recover their taxes from those who irregularly confiscate them from the exchequer, it is better to elect leaders who will not denominate their campaigns with purloined or printed currency. We are past the point where elections are a matter of shock and awe tactics.

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