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2022: Why choices have consequences

Barack Obama's special envoy to Africa Johnnie Carson. [Courtesy]

We all remember that before the 2013 General Election, US president Barack Obama's special envoy to Africa Johnnie Carson warned Kenyans that "choices have consequences".

Carson had foreseen impending political dangers when he cautioned us over our choices of national leaders. He argued that as much as the election was a Kenyan affair, its outcome would have serious implications since an elected president works with the international community.

In 2013, Kenyans had been hoodwinked by simplistic and false hopes when Uhuru and Ruto came together and rebranded themselves 'UhuRuto' and put up a show of unity that attracted national and global attention.

It was a dawn of a new era - so we thought - when we elected the duo on a well-orchestrated credo that resonated around ‘old and new’ or the popular aphorism of a digital couple.

We were told to forget ‘analogue generation’ that defined Kenya's dark days and forgettable past. We were mesmerised by the ‘most inspiring’ and 'youthful' presidential couple that defined modern times.   

Inspired by the Obama presidency, easily excitable Kenyans saw in them a future that they were yearning for. The marriage was strong and the future looked bright. But it was a mirage. The marriage came crumbling down several years later.

Interestingly, today we are told that it was not the handshake that separated them. The divorce, according to immediate former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter, had become inevitable with or without Raila. 

Ten years later, we have the same debate about the old and the new in Raila and Ruto. This time, however, the DP’s election symbol of a wheelbarrow betrays the analogy of a digital revolution that was hatched by UhuRuto.

The youthful and aggressive DP, who unfortunately still carries the Jubilee baggage of unfulfilled promises on his back, has been constantly promising mama mboga and boda boda riders improved life and a voice in the government he is yet to form.

Raila, on the other hand, perceived as old (generation) and fatigued, has too been promising cash handouts to the unemployed and vulnerable families if elected.

With the elections around the corner, it seems to me that the past crimes a candidate commits the better chances they stand for being popular.

In Kenya, wrong attributes seem to boost ones image in politics. The more dirty a candidate's past is, the more popular they become. So, if you warn people that you would fight corruption and promote the rule of law and democracy, you risk being voted out and or even losing.

Unfortunately, today, there are far more shortsighted persons than any other time in our postcolonial history. We have ears but we can’t hear; eyes but can’t see.  

In this season, there will be plenty of analysts assessing the character of candidates, and debating which ones will most likely make the best leaders.

But many prospective voters are flummoxed by what they see as the fundamental question: Who is the ideal Kenyan president? We have another chance, let’s take advantage of the privilege of time and make a sound decision.

Choices have consequences. 

Dr Chacha teaches at Laikipia University