The former President of this great republic Daniel Toroitich arap Moi had a great line he used when he was upset with political going -ons in the country..Siasa mbaya maisha mbaya which literally translated means that bad politcal decisons would always culminate in a lousy life for the citizens.I think more Kenyans should see polical concern for the way the country is run as a sense of civic duty and not something to be left to the civil society activists and donors.
The former president can be blamed for many things but we cannot fault him for the uncanny manner he was able to read Kenyans minds and tell them exactly what needed to be told.That is why when he was giving his speeches we would all wait for him to get through his written speech then deliver the unscripted Kiswahili version which more often than not was not related to what he had just read..That is where you could pick gems like this.And on this one i must admit he knew exactly what he was saying.
Too often when anything goes wrong in the country we are quick to voice our displeasure over nyama choma (roast meat) and bottles of Kenyas finest beer,but rarely show this displeasure come election time.Some of us who should know better do not even vote during elections yet we are very quick at pointing out what is not working.
If you ask many Kenyans today what they think about politics,most of them will say politics is a dirty game and they would rather be singing in church,planting trees in the Mau or visiting a children’s home but do not ask them to go to a political rally or even engage in political debate.That is why come election year we will be praying that God grants us a good President,MP,county governor but we will not touch a party manifesto or even put the political aspirants to task as to what their vision and mission is if they get elected.That is why we have celebrated people who have stolen from the public,lied to us for decades and we give them a free pass to parliament.
Being a keen follower of the Piers Morgan Tonight talk show that airs on CNN,i have followed the calibre of guests he brings on his show.Think what you may of him ,but he really does pick people’s minds and one of his trademark questions when he is ending an interview is ,”What do you think of President Obama and the state of the economy?”.All guests who have come to the show be it actresses,musicians,comedians,televangelists name them all ave an opinion.If you asked the same question here about our current crop of leaders, you are likely to get a lot of responses ranging from “politics is a dirty game”,”i leave it to God” or “i do not have an opinion but i am praying for them.”
It is after watching this kind of engagement people in the west have with the political going ons in their countries that i am still mystified by the apparent lack of zeal to discuss our current political situations by (some)Kenyans.We quickly forget that politics is what influences a lot of things in the country from the recent power rationing or is it management,to the price of food to the kind of education our children are getting in school.
If we do not discuss the failings,shortcomings,triumphs and mistakes of the leadership who run this country how are we going to move forward?If our MP’s in parliament are busy discussing cattle rustling in Turkana ,their non compliance to payment of taxes when the Kenyan shilling is on a free fall,private sector is raising funds to feed hungry Kenyans when food is going to waste in the Rift Valley,how do we expect things to change?
I was quite amazed at the swiftness of the UK government to call an extraordinary parliamentary session in the wake of the London riots,yet here in Kenya when we had the crisis after the election we had to call in Koffi Annan to settle the growing unrest in the country.Don’t we have leaders who could have quelled the situation without having to hang out our dirty laundry in public for the whole world to see?
If you listen to the kind of discussions going on in parliament you will be amazed at the lack of coordination in government,a lot of time is spent answering questions and not enough on moving this country forward.We still have too many bills not passed yet it is almost an year since we passed the constitution.Even the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Mutula Kilonzo says he is frustrated by the pace at which bills are being passed.
If we as an electorate cannot face up to the mistakes we have done in the past of seeing MP’s as demi gods who hold solutions to our problems in the name of crispy bank notes,we will not achieve the much touted Vision 2030.We need to see Kenyans getting more involved in the way their counties,towns and cities are run and not leaving them up to elected leaders because by not doing so it gives them leeway to steal,plunder and lay to waste national resources.
Let us start seeing more forums where we discuss and educate the general public on the importance of being engaged in the way they are governed,let us all have an opinion as to how we want things to run in this country.Without this sense of civic duty to the country we will be at the mercy of the leaders we elect and instead of them being the servants of the people they are going to be the leeches that suck away our country’s life blood.