Why Kenyans must shove aside so-called political scavengers

Residents of Shianda in Mumias East follow proceedings of a political rally ahead of the 2022 General Election. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

In her rather intriguing autobiography; “The Cry of the Kalahari”, Delia Owens, proclaims that, “for a scavenger, patience is the key to the pantry.”

Equally so, for the ilk of politicians given to the pathological pursuit for visibility, any crowd pulling event is key to self-congratulation.

That truism about scavenging and how it relates to political rummaging became apparent when the mind-boggling Kirima land saga recently morphed into a spurt of sorts.

The attendant goings on concerning the Kirima land brought out the hideous side of some politicians.

Two politicians from Nairobi County chose to incite occupants of land that was declared by a court of law as rightfully belonging to the Kirima family while another politician made it his business to mediate in the settlement of the litigants.

What struck my attention is the conduct of the politicians and not much so their identities. The question on my mind is on what must have informed the two politicians who sought to earn political mileage by instigating insurrection among occupants of a property whose ownership had been determined by a court of law.

My question is; must every opportunity to endear a politician to voting masses irrespective of how unlawful it is, be turned into political fodder?

Is that how gullible, malleable and thoughtless we consider the Kenyan electorate to be? If that is the case, a lot of civic education is required to illuminate Kenyans on perils of political manipulation.

As for the politician who arrogated himself the role of mediator in a matter already adjudicated by a court of law, the motivation seems to have been more about attracting attention to self than to facilitate a peaceful end to a sensitive matter affecting hundreds of would-be supporters.

I could be mistaken but I have every reason to doubt that goodwill alone informed the decision of the particular politician to enter a fray he did not necessarily need to be part of.

Political meddling aside, I think that part of our problem, as a society, is that we hardly elect our so-called political leaders for their ability to transform our circumstances for the better.

We seem far too attracted to razzmatazz and preening sprees that some of our politicians have perfected. And that is how precisely we short-change ourselves by electing balloons of vanity whose interest is not in making our lives better.

As it may seem, we are headed to a time when politics of ideas will be buried altogether. It will only get worse as our society continues to entertain the handout culture where money talks and exhibitionism entrenches itself as the main mode of attracting political appeal.

A society that abandons its obligation to install quality political leadership for transient gratification is like a person who sells his soul to the devil for a bowl of lentil soup. Time to rethink the substance of our local leadership is clearly nigh!

The writer is a political commentator

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