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Anger should not dictate our choices at the ballot next year

OPINION
By Mark Bichachi | October 17th 2021
Ballot boxes in Juja, Kiambu County [John Muchucha, Standard]

In a recent poll in the US, 80 per cent of republicans are angry. Angry at President Joe Biden, angry at Donald Trump losing and angry at how their country was being run. Never mind that there is no longer a major crisis post Covid-19 for them.

The anger is not based on facts or any form of aggression towards them.

Now, any marketer or communicator will tell you that emotions are the best way to connect to a people. When people love your product they will buy it and be loyal. But if you have no product and nothing for people to want, your best bet is to make them hate what they have. If you can convince someone to hate their spouse, then you as a third party look like heaven even if you have nothing to offer. It is a simple trope.

This is obvious in the US since the things that the right seem most mad about are nonsensical. The vaccine mandate data is clear, states with large numbers of vaccinated people have seen less infections and less deaths. It is that simple, but an angry adult can’t understand. That is the wonder of angry politics.

It is easy for us as outsiders to look at the anger in the US and wonder how they are bickering about how masks will kill them if they continue to wear them.

But if we were to briefly put a mirror in front of ourselves we would realise Kenya is perhaps just as angry except for different things.

Recently I listed four good news about Kenya. These were: that Kenya is the third largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the highest internet and electricity penetration and most democratic and free society in Eastern Africa. However, the response from the public was telling.

Some said the data was cooked because their own perception of Kenya was that it was far worse than any other nation. Others added to my list countless flaws within our nation.

Now granted, Kenya is not the best country in the world, and we are a developing nation yet to achieve our goals and ambitions.

We therefore have much to complain about and yearn for but that does not mean we can’t for a moment celebrate what we are good at. Kenyans are so angry they can’t see anything good and if they do they muddy it with negativity.

Kenyans are angry and willing to deface the nation. The worst part is that the negativity is often based on some reality given the fact that as a developing nation there is much to be done at any given time.

If for example you were to praise the road network one can always find plenty of potholes, undone roads, traffic caused by roads being done and of course the cost of the road.

The adage goes that every cloud has silver lining but in Kenya every silver lining has many dark clouds. This perception is considered good since the basic reasoning is that Kenyans are demanding for better as they should but it belies a sinister motive.

The purveyors of anger are interested in one thing. If you are angry then we look better without promising anything. They want us to act like lovers who seek solace after a brawl.

The danger of such anger is that it erases years of work and good deeds. The anger is a brilliant political gimmick but is dangerous to the public. The public must recognise that Rome and Kenya was not built in a day.

The fact is that no matter who we vote for we will still need to build roads, build on our democracy, fight against corruption and still develop our nation. We can’t escape the process, angry or not.

-The writer comments on topical issues

 

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