Since 1902

Emerging culture of dishonesty and deceit is bad for democracy

Credible, free and fair elections and democracy cannot thrive in the midst of misinformation, dishonesty, deceit, lies and mistrust.

This is why, we don’t trust each other and our institutions of governance and democracy because we routinely knowingly lie to each other and experience no remorse when the truth is revealed. There is no honour, loyalty and trust amongst politicians and by extension the society. There is no respect for hard work, truth, honesty and trust. If what is happening in the political circles is anything to go by, then our leaders have taken political deceit and dishonesty to a whole mind-boggling new level!

The emerging culture of political deceit, dishonesty and mistrust is bad for democracy! It also undermines our national values and may lead to a generational decay, in which our children may never value honesty, truth and trust. Loyalty, good faith and honour are no longer the basis upon which agreements are made.

The political intrigues emerging are the drama of champions, where fake news, mistrust and disrespect thrives and is rewarded unflinchingly! Some weeks ago Kalonzo Musyoka produced a document that he told all of us was an agreement he and Raila Odinga bound themselves in signature in 2017. According to Kalonzo, Raila agreed to support his presidential candidature in 2022 irrespective of whether he (Raila) won in 2017.

The witness and the depository of the document, both promptly rubbished the document, claiming that it was signed within the framework of defunct outfit, National Super Alliance (NASA). What followed was a demonstration of how dishonest and deceitful our politics have become. Social media was awash with all types of comments that show how nasty our politics have become. None of the posts were interested in the veracity of the document.

Supporters of both sides were up in arms. One side expressing betrayal and mistrust while the other rubbishing the entire document and the persons involved. What surprised me was the fact that, no one denied the authenticity and the veracity of the document.

They just insisted that it was from a different situation and circumstance. Therefore, because NASA was functus officio so is the truth and the promise in the document! Then, a few days later, Kalonzo while endorsing the candidature of Raila stated that he, Raila and President Uhuru Kenyatta had signed a tripartite Coalition agreement. Raila signed on behalf of ODM and affiliate parties, Kalonzo on behalf of One Kenya Alliance and affiliate parties and Uhuru on behalf of Jubilee and affiliate parties. Kalonzo defined it as a three-legged African stool agreement known as Azimio-One Kenya Coalition.

Immediately some of the partners in Azimio rubbished Kalonzo saying that the Coalition was known as Azimio la Umoja and that no such agreement had been signed with such a name. Days later, it emerged that indeed, the agreement had been signed with the name and structures as had been stated by Kalonzo. A few days later, a group associated with one side of the Coalition demanded re-negotiation of the agreement, a few days later it emerged that OKA partners had written to the Registrar of Political Parties claiming that the Coalition agreement had been altered to accommodate those who had wanted it renegotiated without reference to the original signatories.

These dramas and intrigues may be entertaining, but are indicative of a serious phenomenon in our society. We must bring back honesty, trust and loyalty in politics. Mistrust significantly contributed to the 2007/8 post-election violence.

It is mistrust that makes us remain in polling stations long after voting because we do trust IEBC; mistrust is also the reason why we do not trust electronic transmission of results and any delays are associated with rigging.

Mistrust arises when the contents of legally binding documents are changed without reference to signatories; mistrust occurs when we say something today to this group and we say something else later to another group because there is one truth and not different shades of the same truth.

When we do not trust each other, we become suspicious and create conspiracy theories.