To say our politics is dirty is an understatement. It’s stinks to high heaven. When I watched the bickering in Parliament last week over petty and mundane stuff and reflect on the shouting and screaming politicians at rallies with acquiescent citizens, ours feels like a country where the lunatics are running the asylum. Sense of decorum has been strangled at the altar of greed and personal interests by the ruling class.
In spite of what is preached day and night on fighting tribalism, the same preaching politicians are the first to behave in a tribal fashion. Sagana III, like the previous two, exemplifies nothing but tribalism where Mt Kenya is given prominence over all other parts of the country.
If Sagana and Kenyan politics is all about Mt Kenya this and that, then what about us? By ‘us’ I mean the rest of the other communities who seem to be in this country just to escort Mt Kenya as they pursue monolithic interests and carve a single path for themselves to national leadership.
Much as the ethos in Kenyan politics should be more of nationalistic values and less of tribal leanings, the rest of the communities also need to hold their ‘Saganas’ to articulate their unique needs. Nearly 60 years of independence means a mature country and that age ought to herald mature politics, where the interests of all communities, including naturalised citizens, are considered. Kenya is composed of not just the native ethnic communities but also people from other parts of the world, who have made the country their home for decades. They ought to have a voice too.
Words by politicians must translate to practical way of life ‘kwa ground’ (Kenyan-speak). The plea for unity and peace is one that every politician is good at making but rarely follows that through with action. The air is filled with passive-aggressive ways communities exist with each other and more pronounced during the electioneering phase. Our harmonious co-existence is built on pretence by politicians so that they can puncture it easily as soon as the gong for election goes off.
Development is a vacuous concept in Kenya. If a country was built on the word ‘development’ alone, Kenya would be gleaming with gold-paved roads. Instead, while the politicians sing “development” to the masses, they turn around and embezzle all that’s [meant] for citizens’ growth.
If there is one area Kenya has failed miserably, it’s in its ‘war’ on corruption . It has become just some necessary noise that every leader aspiring to the Presidency makes without meaning a single letter of it. The ‘Covid Billionaires’ Kemsa scandal alone gives us the example of how casually the system has been fighting corruption.
Emboldened by impunity
Instead, they turned on human rights activists and concerned citizens who chose to legally protest against the wanton theft at Kemsa and wrongfully jailed them. There was a time limit to act on the Kemsa thieves, but it looks like EACC and the criminal justice system lost their calendars and timers along the way.
To know how dirty our politics is, just look at the sort of people it attracts.
Emboldened by impunity everywhere, those facing corruption and other heinous crimes have come forth to vie for various seats. All eyes are on IEBC and the other vetting agencies to see whether they will bar the political misfits or not—but I am not holding my breath.
Our politics is the biggest laundry basket for those wishing to do ‘bad’ things—sexually and financially. Like a philandering Muslim turning to Mecca to be laundered of sins, Kenyan baddies choose politics to clad themselves with iron-cast defence. Even the convicted types know where their best defence lies: Within the precincts of the legislative assemblies.
There are no institutions so far divorced from their mandate than our legislative ones. A Kenyan who thinks his vote can help him to prosper has his mind ‘stuck on stupid’—to borrow the words in the film Big Momma’s House by the US African-American comedian Martin Lawrence. Our politicians went to office to ‘eat’ alone and they will continue to—unless the citizens come out and show them bloody noses at the ballot box every time for failing to provide them with medication and good schools or build a real safe, united and prosperous country and not the fantasy one stuck in manifestos.
Dirty politics is what exactly makes many Kenyans live by open sewers, six decades after independence. Everywhere you look is dirt on top of dirt—from stolen money to laundered money, drug money and dirty streets choking with garbage, just to mention a few.
Dirty politics, which cares less for the country’s security, has opened it up to all types of fugitives. I stopped to count how many have found a haven in Kenya. Fugitives we only got to hear of, thanks to hawk-eyed global security systems.
Whoever wants to build Kenya in 2022 must first wash its politics!
Ms Guyo is a legal researcher. [email protected] @kdiguyo