Sad that political immorality is quickly pushing us to the brink

Ballot boxes at Ruaraka constituency tallying centre during the August 2022 election. [Kelly Ayodi, Standard]

With great respect, I strongly differ with the many initiatives different able actors are proposing in an attempt to drive the country out of the current political quandary in which many of us are caught between two aggressive political formations: Kenya Kwanza and Azimio Coalition. Yet there is a third option.

To figure out what the third option is, one must wear what John Rawls calls the Veil of Ignorance. In this veil, the invite is the one making decisions should do so without imagining whom it will affect. The outcome must be favourable to the beneficiaries who could turn out to be the decision maker's own children and grandchildren.

Most of the initiatives that many Kenyans of goodwill are focusing on revolve around reforms, in particular reforming IEBC, economic reengineering to propel the country into better economic performance, youth unemployment, respecting the rule of law, dealing with corruption among others.

Kenyans are intelligent. Whenever I attend conference be they advocacy, lobby, academic or workshops I always go back home amazed at the mount of knowledge be it experiential, academic or both Kenyans have. In these forums one is confronted with the reality that the amount of "SMART policies" that are generated in this country in the areas that groups are priming for discussion are most relevant to the way we want to move forward as a country. They just have not been implemented.

The one area we are carefully avoiding is addressing the moral deficit in our country. We have no shortage of laws, policies and guidelines on practically anything we want to do right.

Our undoing lies in the way we have naturalised political immorality. Stealing from the public is no longer a crime. Breaking the law is no longer criminal as long as you are on the right side of those in power. Corruption has permeated our electoral system, banks, learning institutions, religious spaces among others.

Many times, we hear leaders shouting how "everyone is under the law", how "the country is run by law" blah blah blah. The same leaders were running campaigns during the Covid-19 lockdown. The appointments to various positions are done with absolute no regard for law in which the country runs just to cite basic examples.

My argument is this. Pick a few high level cases in which people who preach law break the same law.

Make them do the right thing since "everyone one is under the law." This is how the poor are treated and that is why we have no much choice than to follow the law. Retributive justice exists not just for the low class but also, as it is announced from car rooftops, for the leaders who have no shame cherry picking sections of the law that favor them and cover such behavior under "this is politics."

In other words, the non-state actors of goodwill should rally everyone to promote integrity in public offices. This will only work if an audit of the integrity of elected leaders and those in office due to political appointments are audited.

This is not a pleasant undertaking as it risks being politicised to sound politically instigated, witch hunting and even profiling some communities.

Many champions of justice, democratising citizen ownership of their country and peacebuilding in the recent years are now comfortably singing praises to the very leaders they viciously told us were unelectable, corrupt and carrying integrity questions. We cannot expect successful reforms to bear fruit with persons who have no principles of integrity and justice engrained in their DNA.

The non-state actors interested in a promising present and future of this country should focus their energies on implementing existing integrity laws, policies and guidelines. Chasing a reform agenda, other than implementing the agreements of the past, is a waste of time and resources. In fact, it plays very much to those who should be put on check as it keeps these actors busy chasing shadows.

-Dr Mokua is executive director, Loyola Centre for Media and Communication