If you fail to cast your ballot, you will end up with a bad government

A police officer escorts an IEBC official ferrying poll material at Kisii School in Nyaribari Chache constituency. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Today is Tuesday, August 9, 2022, voting day. I hope and pray that you are not lounging at home enjoying yet another day off work, another holiday.

Today was declared a holiday to give you an opportunity to exercise your civic duty to vote. If you haven’t voted, then it is time for you to get up join the queue and vote.

If you don’t vote and then we get a bad government, then you will have lost the moral right to complain. For the simple reason that when you had a chance to make a change, you chose to sit at home and watch television or just lazied around the house doing nothing much. Get up and go and vote.

Too many people have lost interest in politics and a favourite they throw up their hands and wonder; "What will change...it is just the same old; "politics is dirty”. But what is politics? Politics comes from the Greek word “politicos” which means affairs of the city.

The word “idiot” also comes from the Greek word meaning one is who is not interested in the affairs of the city. So please don’t be an idiot in the Greek meaning of the word.

Our lives are changed by people who control the laws and our taxes. They decide how this country will be run so whether you like them or not, it is important that you choose them. Unfortunately, these people are the politicians and you will vote for them either way. 

If you go and vote, then you choose the person and if you don’t vote then you also choose because your failure to vote ends up helping one of the candidates and that may be a worse choice. It is better that you make a choice rather than abstaining because then, you help the worst of us to lead.

We cannot afford to lose our faith. To quote the famous poem Desiderata; "Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism."

The same principle applies to politics. There are many politicians who are in politics with a burning desire to change our country. I am one of them.

The choice our country faces today is monumental. It is not just a question of changing the president, presidents will come and go, this is about the direction we as a country will take.

In 1985, President P W Botha of South Africa realised that his country had to change. And that change meant ending Apartheid. He recognised the critical historical moment when he said “we are crossing the Rubicon” yet he didn’t have the courage to make critical decisions and ended up keeping South Africa in crisis for another ten years. Today, we cross the Rubicon. There is no turning back.

Kenyans have to make a choice between breaking with the past and charting a new future or simply voting for the status quo. We have a choice between a leader who has fought for revolutionary change for the last 40 years and a leader who has been part of the establishment since 1992 irrespective of the character of that existing establishment. 

This past promoted economic policies that did not take into account the painful reality of poverty, the need for social protection and free social services. We need to end the bureaucracy that has stifled our civil service from discharging its duties. We need a review of the tax regime that has made doing business difficult.

For that to happen, step out and vote.

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