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February 20, 2019

Say no to ‘prolonged stupidity’




Prolonged drought and 'prolonged stupidity' are alike in their devastating effects on people, their economy, and ecology. Prolonged drought may be cyclical like it is during this age of climate change, but it has a definite lifespan.

The recent flooding should teach us how to adapt to climate change. But how much of the floodwaters were harvested and stored to mitigate the effects of the next drought?

Floods destroy homes, crops, bridges, and roads. The waters then create gullies, flow into the ocean, or lie in unproductive swamps. The challenge is hardly turned into an opportunity for food and water security. The consequence is a vicious cycle of floods and droughts.

The Kenya Red Cross Society and other first responders scamper to save lives during each occurrence. The government sets aside billions of shilling for emergency response, without considering long-term ways of handling such adversities.

Prolonged stupidity is not terminal, but its viciousness shows its victims need a new consciousness. The current rage against corruption offers a context for moral rebirth.

There is financial corruption, which feeds political corruption. But here we are, voters who elect leaders on account of their war chest and handouts. Our taxes feed their war chests. Haven't we had enough of mendacity?

Plunder of public funds thrives only because citizens lack the will to treat looters with the contempt they so generously deserve. The masses fall readily to proceeds of impunity. This is how far the politics of handouts and deception has brought us. They plunder, then compromise the gullible masses to flatter and reward them.

Perennial post-election murders and displacements cry for a new consciousness. The people need to know that perennial electoral fraud is not a national destiny. The victims need to know there is a way out of this power-driven insanity.

 The missing link is the will from the electorate to understand the people cannot forever be victims of abuse of ethnicity and politicised stupidity. You mount a horse only if the beast bends backwards to welcome the burden.

Cartels do not steal on behalf of their tribes or political parties. The tribe-mates of the suspects therefore have no reason to claim they are being targeted when accountability and justice are sought.

Mendacious politicians use electoral fraud to con their tribal turf into believing they gain from manipulated elections. Public money often funds such fraud.

Let's define prolonged stupidity before someone sensitive to semantics takes offence, without appreciating the context of the current public rage.

Merriam-Webster defines stupidity as "given to unintelligent decisions or acts; acting in an unintelligent or careless manner". Kenyans have fallen to such decisions during floods, droughts, and elections.

A practical definition of stupidity is this: Knowing what is wrong, seeing what is wrong, hearing what is wrong, feeling what is wrong, but continuing to defer to the perpetrators of these wrongs.

Anthony Smith, a leadership coach, and a public speaker, has come up with what he calls a "system of stupidity". The system of stupidity does not love anyone but the fool who wishes to abandon prosperity. This system is blind to race, creed, tribe, income or family name, or social standing. The system is concerned with smothering your future. The system pays lip service to mass prosperity because it feeds on mass gullibility. This connivance sustains exploitation.

The owners of these systems of deception incited Kenyans against each other during the 1992 and 1997 elections. The subsequent tribal clashes displaced innocent people from their land and businesses.

The owners of the system of stupidity clung to state power through electoral fraud in 2007. The subsequent violence led to the killing of 1,200 people, and displacement of peasants who were regarded as 'foreigners' in the land of their birth or choice.

The same system messed the election in 2013, touching off an electoral dispute that ended up at the Supreme Court. The 2017 elections were muddle in the same way. The beneficiaries were the owners of this system, which thrives on deception and prolonged stupidity. The owners of the system are plotting another season of deception in the 2022 election. Better say it now: Reject the system of stupidity because it inspires impunity.

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