By Clive Olero
As 2017 Elections politics get nigh, Be wary of these gluttonous politicians
It seems like last elections were held just the other day. Not so long ago the country went to elections and voted.
The results were disputed by the opposition and then came a presidential election petition in the Supreme Court which –despite the alleged discrepancies– the court rejected, eventually upholding UhuRuto election. This, summarily, is what took place in 2013.
The clock is fast ticking. If 2013 were a child, it would be 3 years old now. And with each rising and setting sun, its parents would be watching the seed of their parenthood blossom gradually into a 5 year old.
As often happens to families of newly married couples whenever a child is born the intimacy between husband and wife faces a tinge of emotional unsteadiness.
Which is the precarious situation Kenya’s body politic will soon find itself in yet again. In less than one and a half years, we are going into another general election.
Important to note now is the fact that our political leaders have the ability to plunge this country into turmoil as they have sometimes done absconding their moral responsibility to pull the masses together in harmony.
It’s prudent now as always that they choose the latter over the former. Kenya being a highly polarized tribal nation, the masses are always gullible to the slightest provocation or incitement by their tribal leaders.
The country has witnessed it in the past. With the same crop of politicians still taking centre stage, it is not unlikely that it can happen again.
The elite political class owes it to the country to avoid like a plague the tendency to incite the masses. Because nothing good comes out of it.
Much as Kenyan tribal peculiarities is ever alive, it takes those bad mouthed politicians’ diatribes to rekindle it.
But, needless to ask, of what use would one want to wake up a sleeping lion if you know it would devour you immediately it’s waken up?
At this point in time when elections are around the corner, tongues must be controlled. The appropriateness of language used in public space must be considered.
Relevance to occasion and effects on audience must be cautiously weighed. Let all and one thoroughly examine what they feed the masses with.
Especially those who know they have the privilege to make the electorate mob in their admiration and support.
Say not in public what you wouldn’t say to your children, so columnist Makau Mutua has advised.
No political seat is worth a country’s national peace. No one’s candidature is worth anyone’s life. It never should be a matter of life and death.
If anything, it should only be about life. When they utter statements like, “we must win whatever it takes and by whatever means,” or that “for so and so to win, a little blood must spill,” as a country, we must tell them off.
Those who have began peddling rumors about so and so planning to rig elections, should spare the electorate the fear and anxiety.
But the so and so must also perish the thought of rigging elections. And this is irrespective of whether they are from the Jubilee, Cord or whatever variety of political coalition or party.
The country needs peace as much as it needs elections. But peace, they say, is the means to everything.
So then, primarily, we need to conduct ourselves with utmost decorum during the whole of this period preceding the electioneering one.
In a democracy such as ours where freedom of expression is fundamental, no one wants to gag our politicians from saying all they wish to.
Neither does anyone want to curtail their political freedom. Nay! Talk we all must. Politics was never conducted successfully when mouths are shut.
But while we have the right to open our mouth as naturally as can be, we do not have the right– or even the privilege– to utter insolent tribal vulgarities.
Whispering campaigns is just one of the tactics politicians use the world over to gain mileage over their rivals.
It includes– in uncultured democracies like ours– disparaging rival candidates, political parties and their perceived or real strongholds as very worthless.
While at which, self-praise becomes the only gospel. This time, politicians can avoid promising to take the people to a Shangri-la.
Because, apparently, we know that a lot of the aspirations outlined in most manifestos– individual or party– are never meant to be achieved, only to hoodwink the ever gullible tribal electorate to give them yet another chance to do nothing.
The elite political class has a means to being safe when things go wrong. When hopeless, angry and hungry lads attack each other in a politician’s name, the politicians themselves and their families will be safe in their palatial havens.
Some will flee the country when the heat of the fire they have rekindled gets unbearable leaving behind those hapless children of a lesser God to perish.
We have the patriotic onus of keeping our country together. It is not too difficult a charge.
The late Professor Saitoti’s once said, there does not come a time when the country is bigger than an individual.
All the time, the country is bigger than the individual. Whatever aspirations that we have, if they have the potential of destabilizing the country, they must be suppressed or perished!
Ours has been described as one of the most progressive constitutions in the world and Kenya is still the best democracy in the region– Tanzania’s recent over-hyped peaceful election notwithstanding!
If we respect the constitution in spirit and letter, and lend credence to the right of the people to choose the leaders they want, we would have nothing to be downbeat about.
All said and done, elections will come and go but the country must move on.