Kenyans seem to have made spectacular strides as far as making political choices is concerned.
The wake of political ambivalence and “swing voters” among other unprecedented scenarios point to the changing trajectory of our country’s political discourse. We have seen citizens snubbing the beckon of their regional supremo. Despite defections of some political bigwigs, most of their former supporters seem to cling to the rival brigade.
While some of these “rebels” are genuine in their stance, the resolve of the rest is inspired by deals their masters have inked with political outfits, not their choice and preference. The stand of the latter coterie serves as punishment to their kingpins for failure to hearken to the master’s voice and preference for the political waves of their choice.
The political choices of voters in most of the other regions are, arguably, dictated by ethnic group and region one hails from. Kenyans still vote on the basis of ethnicity, without even scrutinising the leadership credentials of the aspirants. This has only served to fortify the “stronghold” notion, which has been perpetuated over time and seems to be engraved in people’s minds.
Biased voting has seen many undeserving rogues clinch coveted seats at the expense of the dexterous ones rendered voiceless by the dismal support of their less populous adherents. Egalitarian and philanthropic leaders have been left out just because they do not hail from a vote-rich region. The stronghold notion suggests that a politician has the potential of tapping votes by virtue of their ethnicity or region where they come from.
Tribal-based politics has paralysed the fight against impunity. We have witnessed mass protests in which demonstrators seek to rescue leaders facing graft allegations, among other grave felonies. They vigilantly dance to the tune of the “mtu wetu” mantra.
No doubt, these euphemistic “misdemeanours” are the cause of the hiking cost of living and the looming disaster because funds meant for development programmes are looted.
The same people who vote in leaders on the basis of tribe are always on the forefront castigating tribalism. This vice that has the potential of rekindling the embers of division cannot be brought to extinction unless we change our voting criteria.
All we need is better life; in the present and future. We, therefore, need leaders who will bring change by advocating economic development through reviving the sabotaged industries, uprooting the deep roots of corruption and embezzlement of public funds. Leaders must spearhead social equality and equity, not make political decisions or affiliate to outfits along tribal lines.
To avert disintegration of the nation due to tribal-based politics, let’s debunk the ‘stronghold notion’ and vote in leaders in spite of their tribe or region.
Jacob Kamau, Nyeri