Kenya is a blessed country endowed with talented hardworking people, vibrant cultures and unmatched wild life alongside aesthetic beauty to behold. Also a relative tranquility amidst regional volatility.
Indeed, rich timeless heritage—but few recognise that! Instead, many seem to value and get interested in unhealthy political debates devoid of logic. Recent political actions and utterances offer profound insights of what awaits Kenyans in 2022.
Kibra by-election experiences point to a deeply embedded problem in Kenya’s cut throat politics. It also points to a cropping culture of cronyism, ‘goonship’ and monetised politics. But as a people, we should free the electorate of a handout-dependence mindset if we are to have a fair playing field in politics.
None of our politicians is talking about the high cost of living, youth unemployment, poisonous substances found in products in supermarkets, inclusivity of historically marginalised communities, or anything close to what is ailing the economy they are responsible for and the people they represent in Parliament. The rhetoric of tribal politics, power play, blame games and 2022 politics remains the same though.
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Corruption has further become the bane of our nation’s progress. This political misdeed epitomizes a deliberate contempt for democracy and principles of good governance by the political class.
These developments are a clear indication that we have abdicated the dream of a united prosperous nation once cherished by our founding fathers. The great historian Mayo Gacheru, writing in the era of independence, hoped that the ‘future Kenyan nation will be one in which tribalism will become only a historic memory and tribe mere ceremonial units.’ Today, that hope is a mirage as Kenyans have for whatever reason purposed to condition themselves in such a manner as to identify oneself first with tribe then second country—Kenya.
Consequently, Kenya’s politics has a near cult following. People follow what their political godfathers dictate to them. Our politicians seem to be following Mao Zedong’s political mantra. Mao’s belief that politics ought to be violent led him to develop a mirror-effect philosophy of indoctrinating children to grow up with radical views to the extent that they would kill their teachers upon Mao’s asking!
Now more than ever I am convinced that we are re-living Mao’s imperial era. The electorate can take orders from either ‘faction’ of the political class to deal with their opponents. Politicians refuse to discuss their proximity to militia yet they unleash gangs to deal with real and imaginary opponents at the slightest provocation.
History has the tendency to repeat itself; therefore, any unfortunate occurrence in the past is likely to revisit the country. IEBC has not undergone radical surgery in spite of its incomplete composition. One wonders: must we drive in the dark waiting to hit a pothole so that we can fix the headlights!
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The political architecture needs overhaul. The current arrangement is bereft of ideas that can bring the systemic structural changes we so desperately desire. Through observation, I have come to a conclusion that politics is about ideas being put into action. On the contrary, politicians tell us it is the struggle and competition for power! As it is, at first, politics does not occur on its own: it is synonymous with elected leaders, and this is the crux of the matter for the electorate.
In effect, this is the only way Kenyans can begin to heal the worrying souls about what the future portends for Kenya. Politicians, must inspire hope and work genuinely towards an accountable, transparent, just and prosperous society. This will promote democratic accountability geared towards good governance.
- The writer is Director, Governance Pillar Organisation. [email protected]