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ELECTION 2022

Our politics must be more than slander, but campaign to serve

OPINION
By Okwaro Oscar Plato | Jan 3rd 2022 | 3 min read
Kenyans are seeking genuine democracy in which leaders are servants of the electorate and not 'wolves'. [iStockphoto]

Our political elite are making headlines once more in the media for wrong reasons. But It's imperative for our politicos to bear in mind that the electorate’s expectation in any/and or forthcoming elections is not leader(s) who can insult, scandalize the opponent the most.

But the citizenry is looking for leaders who can help them live in peace and guarantee the future of their children. And to realise these, we must vote wisely and only for people who are known for their honesty and concern for the welfare of all.

Kenyans are seeking genuine democracy in which leaders are servants of the electorate and not “wolves”. If this is so, it is difficult to resonate how malice, slander and calumny about one's political opponent can help one to win election. Politics should be honest and responsible. It should be an effective way of serving and working for the integral development of one's country. But it is sad when elections are marred with slander and malice from statesmen.

As we count down towards August, one notice that politicians have upped the ante against rivals. Each one of them wants Kenyans to think that s/he is visionary. It is a positive sign that they “think” that Kenyans want a “visionary” leader. However, voters have serious questions about the vision of these candidates.

And when one peels the layers of deceit and expose the “trickster” in them, you quickly realise that the only vision they have is that of winning tenancy at State House, Senate or MP. Needless to say, a vision that ends in a building, or is accomplished when one arrives at a certain destination, is not a vision at all, let alone one for the country. This country is fractured that we need to think of politics not just as the organisation of hatred, but also as a vehicle for national reconstruction and service delivery. Respect for the dignity of one's political opponents requires that campaigns are conducted with honesty and dignity and not with lies and malice.

Polls should never be a matter of character assassination, fraud or coercion since that would break the sacred character of democracy. Campaigns should be anchored on issues to enable our people make correct political choices from a point of information where the voter review the past in order to prepare for better political choices for the future.

The electorate cannot do well if fed on politicians’ lies, slander, malice and calumny on your competitor. Issue-based campaigns are, therefore, absolutely necessary in a democratic process. Just elections require intelligent and responsible participation of all. And to perform this task excellently, electorate need to get themselves informed of the manifestoes from the various political parties which have programme of action that the parties propose to follow in order to serve the good of citizenry. A sound manifesto should articulate realistic goals that will enhance the development of this country in general.

Leaders must invoke alchemy of great vision. And this vision should be reflected in their manifesto and what they say. The best vision is insight. A leader is said to be one who “knows the way, goes the way and shows the way”. But with insults and slander of political opponents is only a sign that one does not know the way society wants to go and such leader can't lead anyone farther than he has gone.

If the furthest you have gone in articulating a vision is calumny, there is no way you can lead others in a better direction. Leaders establish the vision for the future and set the strategy for getting there; they cause change. They motivate and inspire people to go the right direction and they, along with everyone else, sacrifice to get there. But lies, slander and malice are not the way to get there.

In an election that is based on issues, those who offer themselves for re-election will be evaluated against the record of what they have or have not achieved. If they fulfilled their promises and the quality of their judgment on many challenges facing the country.

- Okwaro Oscar Plato, consults Gravio. These views are solely of the writer.  

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