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ELECTION 2022

Lows we should not return to

OPINION
By Edward Buri | Jan 23rd 2022 | 4 min read

Dear voter, if you do not align with an aspirant, leave their cash alone 

A key evidence of learning is change in behaviour. Individuals change and so do nations. People learn, so should systems. Kenya has gone through a lot and for that it must have much to show for it. But some of the behaviours that have cost us in the past keep being repeated. This is unfortunate especially because some of the changes cost little yet would yield much.

Intelligent aspirants should not put aside their intellect as they mount the podium. Sometimes it is hard to recognise intellectuals as they make their speeches at political rallies. They quickly dissolve into petty talkers. One of the hallmarks of intelligence is the ability to put concepts from the academy into capsules the lay person can consume. If this be so, many intellectuals vying for political office are either deficient or do not think the people as deserving of their brilliance. Intellectuals should depreciate into pedestrianism. Let them decode their sophistication into an understandable language that enriches the political conversation.

Kula kwa huyu, kura kwa yule (eat here but vote elsewhere) is a corrosive mantra. Even seasoned politicians are heard encouraging people to take money offered by rivals but reserve votes for them. The catchphrase may sound clever on the surface. But a closer look shows it promotes hypocrisy, deception, greed and vote-buying. Further, if the cash-spraying spree is to depict a politician’s love for the people, the meager amounts actually tell of a demeaned people. If you do not align with an aspirant, leave their money alone too.

Part-based voting at the expense of scrutiny of the philosophies of individual aspirants is unhealthy. Citizen should be encouraged to expand their approach and not be convinced by exaggerated advertisements to vote in a ‘suit’ fashion. The suit formula has been seen to sanitise a den of thieves as party euphoria eclipses personal suitability. While the suit formula is statistically a gain for the party, it has often yielded losses to the citizens.

Women should not be perceived and discriminated as not having what it takes for political office. Some bypass women as inadequate and unable. Such people are unable to reconcile femininity with high political leadership. It is not women who need fixing. What needs fixing is their capacity to reconcile. A thorough reading of the scriptures reveals women are positions as wholes and not fractions in their agency of God’s mission. To think of them as trials to ‘observe’ whether they will make it is thinking overtaken by proof. Women are outstanding leaders and if they have faults, it is not because they are women but because they are human.

No-go zone labels must be dropped. Even with the knowledge that some regions are inclined to vote in a certain way, political maturity demands that the competition be allowed to freely sell their ideas in those areas. Fencing off geographical areas with ‘no-go zone’ threats is not only illicit but backward. Let the competition suffer crowd drought but denying them access does not reflect behaviour expected of a 58-year-old nation.

Voting in active criminals hoping that they will turn into freedom fighters has been proved false over and over. This experiment should not be run again. No aspirant has a hidden life. There is enough public information concerning each to help rate their character. While some have a decent record, the majority do not. Strangely, voters hope that the morally malnourished fellows will somehow be changed to become great benevolent and trusted leaders. Hyenas cherish having sheep passports. All they need is a pass and their smile will expose their blood-thirsty fangs. This is why citizens should vote for the good they know in a leader and not the good they hope for. Good anticipated but not fulfilled is disappointing, but evil known and confirmed is devastating.

The generational gap argument–branding some young and others old–should be relegated. We have seen enough as a country to know that age is a weak indicator of leadership suitability. It also pits one generation as superior to another. Sound leadership is not a preserve of any particular generation. Sound leadership is fundamentally a factor of political wisdom, keys to which have no demographical custodian. Age is peripheral and never a core factor.

Wisdom eludes the young and the old while simultaneously being accessible to both. Screaming that old person should give way and young people take over, or that young people need to be led some more before they lead may sound good on a political podium but is hollow when subjected to reason. Generational gap should no longer be a centre-stage political argument. Pitching for the generational bridge is way more superior because it supports integration. Pastors should not anoint visiting politicians for victory as a spiritual hospitality gesture. If the experience of Prophet Samuel was anything to go by, anointing oil should not drip on a head so easily. That a politician has visited a church and offered to support a project should not be turned into a prophetic declaration for victory.

Someone should do a fact check to analyse how many of the anointed ones actually won when votes were counted. The church in Kenya has seen way more to still perform such blind acts. Many politicians agree to the spiritual drama not because they have faith in it but because resisting would threaten a potential vote basket.  Priests should not squander anointing oil for God is not cheaply impressed! A priest should be a loud trumpet for godly leadership standards. If there be a prayer, it should a prayer that politicians be inspired so that they embody leadership qualities and affirm the dignity of Wanjiku as God’s image.

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