Bad behaviour and attitudes of our political leaders rub off on the youth

58 per cent of youth do not care how they make money, as long as they do not end up in jail - Kenya Youth Survey Report. [iStockphoto]

Kenyans breathed a sigh of relief when the government and opposition agreed to talks over the cost of living and other pertinent issues.

Kenyans learnt the Albert Banduras Theory that says observation and modelling play a primary role in how and why people learn through the East African Institute (EAI) report titled ‘The Kenya Youth Survey Report’ on the values, attitudes, concerns and aspirations of the youth.

The report postulates that ‘learning takes place through observing the behaviour of the leaders, especially since that behaviour is not punished, but rewarded. According to the report, bout 80 per cent of Kenya’s population is below 35 years, an age that will shape the country’s future. The report revealed that “58 per cent of youth do not care how they make money, as long as they do not end up in jail.

Up to 45 per cent believe corruption is profitable, and that a majority would amass wealth through tax evasion and corruption escapades as long as they were not prosecuted. Another 73 per cent would not stand up for the truth for fear of retribution.

At least 62 per cent were vulnerable to electoral bribery, with 40 per cent confessing they would only vote for aspirants who bribed them. The youth observe such behaviour from their national leaders and the wider society.

Kenyan youth aged 35 are cognisant of the world around them and have been exposed to violence, abusive language, angry faces, aggression, revenge, and bitterness by rival top leaders. They have also been exposed to leaders breaking the law and disobeying court orders with impunity. The youth are used to scenes of injuries and deaths of children and destruction of property during protests prompted by leaders.

No leader worth the title doesn't know that politically instigated protests in Kenya are never peaceful. The youth, and other members of society, violate traffic rules, planning regulations, health standards and commit crimes like land grabbing, to name but a few.

They publish obscene content on social media. All this behaviour creates the impression that that is what the future should be. These evils are practised at many of the highest levels of Kenyan leadership. Society has lost respect for age, seniority, authority, the practice of ethics, integrity and professionalism.

This is the legacy leaders in government and the opposition have created over the years. That is the example the current leadership is setting for the youth to follow, a massacre of our nation. There is a crisis of moral decadence among Kenyans.

Immorality across all sectors of society is bursting at the seams. It needs urgent attention by any Kenyan harbouring national interest. It should, therefore, rank top in the list of items on the agenda of the bipartisan talks. Otherwise, the talks, however reconciliatory, might be futile without moral rearmament.

The moral rearmament movement maintains that the practice of high morality in public and private life is the key to national betterment. This can best be orchestrated by the highest office in the land through a deliberate and concerted effort to reverse the trend of immorality which contradicts the national values and principles enshrined in the Constitution. It should be crusaded by fully committed top leadership and trustworthy faith leaders and embedded at all levels of the school curricula.

It is the difference the current leadership should forge that will make Kenya a better place than they found it. Only dialogue will achieve this. Not the competition to undo each other in counter-abusive rhetoric. The bipartisan teams have a rare opportunity to change Kenya for the better of future generations and give our president a worthwhile legacy.