As we vote on August 9, no Kenyan should be threatened
By Albert Amenya
In traditional Africa, the selection of a new King was usually preceded by a lot of celebrations and joy in the community. During those days, the new King commanded a lot of respect from the people he was expected to lead. No one became king without the blessings and permission of the people. As a result, everyone was happy with the new leadership.
It is regrettable that elections in Kenya offer the exact opposite. With just a month to elections, almost every Kenyan is living in fear. The political temperatures are rising as we near D-Day. Kenyans hate each other because they are divided politically. As it is our tradition, a few days to elections, people living in particular towns and areas of residence migrate back to their ancestral villages for fear of their political rival communities.
Why? Why are these leaders doing this to the people? Why should innocent people be harassed, threatened and forcibly displaced every five years because of a merciless gang of political vultures that are struggling over power? The money that ought to be used in providing basic things of life for the people is spent on elections that do not produce reformers or even actual winners. Is this what democracy entails? Then it is the worst form of governance that we should not have borrowed from the West.
In the past, our people never went to the ballot to ‘elect’ their leaders. Nonetheless, the leaders that emerged among them were morally upright. For the bad leaders in traditional African societies, our people had structures of removing them from ‘office’
Our politicians are good at giving people fake promises, especially now that they need our votes. The other day, I watched one Presidential candidate as he cultivated thousands of imaginary hectares of maize and beans on national television. Yesterday, sugarcane and tea were growing very fast on one of the local radio too.
Another Presidential candidate was creating millions of jobs in newspapers. Kenyans were amazed by a Presidential candidate who was growing thousands of hectares of Marijuana in a political rally and used its proceeds to settle our ballooning national debt.
All these fake promises because you want our votes? This columnist believes that when those in the corridors of power start to lie to those they are supposed to serve, it is a sure sign that they are in power to be served, but not to serve.
2022 will go down as the toughest year for ordinary Kenyans. The cost of basic commodities has increased but revenues have declined for almost every Kenyan, business and even government. Already, money in the banks has lost value instantly because, for the first time in history, the dollar is now exchanging at Sh.120.
Employees are now earning less. Traders are not selling because the purchasing power of buyers has dropped. This year alone, parents will pay school fees four times. Landlords and landladies are carefully watching the moods of their tenants so as to know when to ‘attack’ and succeed. In many households, breadwinners are dying under the weight of dependants most of whom are unmarried, jobless, or too young to work and earn an income.
What wrong has the common Mwananchi done to deserve this kind of mental torture by their leaders? If voting has snowballed into a problem, we can avoid it because its meaninglessness is readily evident. This columnist believes it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for a great leader to be discovered through an election. After all, in Africa, it’s not the votes cast that determine who “wins”. The leaders that we “elect” every five years do not improve the lives of the people; they are only interested in amassing wealth without working for it.
In this part of the world, the truth is scarce. The only thing we have learned from Western education is how to manufacture, package lies as truth. But at the end of it all, lies give way to truth.
To make economic steps, we must divorce the system of governance borrowed from the Western culture. Western countries extract stolen funds from Africans through “health tourism”, mobile phones and books. They tell us our institutions of higher learning are substandard and invite us to study in their expensive universities that offer nothing but certificates.
They organize useless conferences and invite our leaders to benchmark there as they spend public money in their 5-star hotels. When the ‘monkeys’ go back to Africa, they foolishly keep entertaining their friends and relatives with “my trip abroad” nonsense as if they manufactured the planes and phones that they used.
(The writer sells Bananas in the streets of Kisii town)