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Why patriots have reason to give up on good leadership

Publication Date: 12/11/2007

FOR PATRIOTS COMMITTED TO the transformation of their country into a modern, corruption-free democracy that provides equal opportunity for all and safeguards civil liberties, the election is already lost. 

They are hanging from wings of desperation because the current platoon of political leaders seeking the throne, and those on it, seem unlikely to drive the country in that direction. 

Corruption, poverty, HIV and Aids, illiteracy, tribalism, insecurity, unemployment and poor infrastructure have become the face of the country.

Patriotic men and women feel that President Kibaki, ODM presidential candidate Raila Odinga, and Mr Kalonzo Musyoka of ODM-Kenya cannot provide a political solution to these challenges.

For instance, it is disheartening that the Kibaki campaign is mute on corruption though it is a major concern. In fact, the fight against graft is just a footnote in Mr Kibaki’s 10 pledges to Kenyans.

BUT THIS IS NOT A SURPRISE FOR a government that fattened the Anglo-Leasing warthog, sought to protect plunderers mentioned in the Kroll Report, and lionised the drivers of the Goldernberg scam. Such is the horrifying hypocrisy that shapes our politics. How did we sink so low? 

Instead of re-energising the country to take a new path, President Kibaki regrouped old men of the typewriter era to run a country that aims to become a middle-income economy in a few years. 

Some of these old timers have incited youth to violence without action from seemingly complicit law enforcers. Even youthful leaders who joined his team have changed into irritating cheerleaders.

International criminals dubbed Artur Brothers lorded it over us in broad daylight, and before we could wipe the spit on our faces, we were told Kazi Iendelee. Don’t we deserve even a shred of credible explanation?

And woe betide those who cannot see the blue lining in Orange gear. Mr Odinga, who has been accusing the Kibaki administration of corruption, is much too quiet on the “new messiahs” in the Orange caravan who played a part in the fall of institutions due to looting during the Nyayo tyranny. 

A critical examination shows that a chunk of the ODM stalwarts comprise politicians and technocrats who propped up the Moi dictatorship. 

To use his rather distasteful allegory of the bird and the snake, the mob around him is the very offensive reptiles that Kenyans sought to eject in 2002.

The Kalonzo team is also carved out of the same timber. To borrow Mr Maoka Maore’s words, the forest has changed but the monkeys remain the same. How can the same people promise to take us to the Promised Land?

Mr Kibaki, Mr Odinga and Mr Musyoka have graciously sub-divided the skunk of corruption and each has already swallowed his portion. 

Is there any redemption out of the maze? No. We can only make do with the lesser evil.

The last time I checked, 8.7 million adults in the country were classified as illiterate. And Electoral Commission chairman Samuel Kivuitu has indicated that the youth will determine who presides over our affairs after the polls. Voter education should target these two groups. But who is best placed to do this?

The media is my natural bet. Today, the Press is the primary source of information regarding the election.

Of course, there are questions on whether it has proved intellectual enough in interrogating and providing leadership on critical issues. To me, it has terribly failed to raise the bar. 

INSTEAD OF TAKING PLUNDERERS down a peg or two, it has glorified and sanitised them. Instead of examining the practicability of various proposed developed programmes by presidential candidates, it has taken the easier but dangerous role as a conveyor belt of raw political trivia and hate speeches.

Its poor handling of the majimbo debate is a case in point. 

Lastly, all of us should take responsibility for the kind of leadership we elect. As citizens, we must see through leaders who are exploiting us or taking us down dangerous paths. 

If we are lazy, self-indulgent and gullible; if we willingly follow corrupt leaders; if we allow our heritage of freedom to decay; if we fail to monitor the public process, then we shall get what we deserve — the worst.

Mr Mayaka is a sub-editor with the Nation.
Write to the author

About SG

Secretary general of Chama Cha Mwananchi. This blog www.chamachamwananchi.wordpress.com, is based in Sweden.


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