In Kenya, elections are no longer about changing bad with good leadership, they are about petty money changing hands, a tragedy that is bound to eventually subvert and destroy democracy and its elections.
Last election, Nakuru county lost to money when some officials were elected purely on the strength of money. Subsequently these officials have not served residents to their expectations. Notwithstanding this de-service many electors seem hell-bent on hankering after money, even at the risk of committing the same mistake they made in 2013.
The law, aware of the danger of money dominating elections at the expense of good governance, bans harambees. Nevertheless candidates continue to contribute in fundraisers and give large bribes at every turn.
So much money is being spent that it could compare with what was spent in the December American election. The money is all coming from candidates and their sponsors as though voters have no candidates with whom they share similar beliefs and ideology that they could help win elections.
Had it been in Tanzania under Mwalimu Nyerere, candidates wishing to run on the ruling CCM party ticket would have been required to declare their wealth and how they got it. In Kenya, no question is asked. One wonders how elections will remain clean if candidates shower voters with cash that could be drug money, the proceeds of mega corruption, Masonic or even fake.
Not long ago, even President Uhuru Kenyatta raised the red flag over foreign money that was to be given to women and youths who would be running for office. Could the foreign money be the cash that is now being showered on voters or is it from elsewhere?
Even if there is no mischief in the foreign money, there is something to worry about if sources, foreign or local, remain undeclared and unknown.
Are the people funding candidates unknown to government? Can their identities be disclosed so the voters would know which money they should not take?
Could the people accepting these tokens of fake generosity be mortgaging their future, independence, the country and their children, seeing as they don’t know the motive of the givers?
Our people were lured into enslavement when our leaders fell for the false generosity of foreign traders, no different from Sh50 handouts the voters take from candidates.
Did not chiefs such as Lubenga mortgage the future of their children and countries when they accepted small gifts, such as mirrors and beaded necklaces, from the so-called European explorers who would later colonise our countries?
As the enslaving money is freely distributed, its first victims are the voters who must be conquered and enslaved. The second group is the media.
The media is given money to write stories to, for instance, create the wrong public impression that a candidate will win the election. When opinion stories are written as if they are factual and researched, when they are not, to influence voters, then most likely money has changed hands.
Elections are sabotaged when they are turned into a market where leadership is sold and bought like commodities which have no value beyond their monetary “worth”.
When voters and their votes are bought and sold, their inherent purpose of changing bad with good leaders is subverted and people are condemned to bad leadership forever. Indeed, elections are killed when they are commercialised and their original purpose eliminated.
It is hard to have elections that address societal problems since voters have exchanged their votes for money and, subsequently, their problems can no longer be discussed. When voters’ problems are excluded from the equation of elections because money has taken their place, leaders who bought positions cannot be asked by voters to solve their challenges for the entire period they are in power.
More frightening is that money in elections has taken the place of issues, policies and ideologies. Voters cannot take money and demand sera (policies) as well.