Close

TIME FOR CHANGE

Cultural and social revolution will reform politics

Corrupt leaders a reflection of moral decadence in society.

In Summary

• Our leaders are corrupt and arrogant because our society is equally corrupt and arrogant.

• Why do we elect leaders and a month after elections we moan that they have abandoned us?

A crowd gathers for a rally in Garissa town in June 2016.
A crowd gathers for a rally in Garissa town in June 2016.
Image: FILE

Our nation faces a myriad of challenges. Corruption is undeniably the greatest threat to our nationhood. Our economy is unable to generate jobs. Agriculture, the mainstay of our economy, is on the back burner. 

Municipalities such as Wajir have been without electricity for a year courtesy of an inefficient and monopolistic Kenya Power. Depression, hopelessness and loneliness, especially among the youth, are driving many to suicide. 

Our thirst for borrowing, on clandestine terms and conditions, to sustain institutionalised corruption and wanton theft poses a threat to national security.

 

Yet with all these challenges, our leaders' focus is on nothing but 2022 politics. This raises a fundamental question: Why are leaders' thoughts not in sync with the expectation of society? 

Why do we elect leaders and a month after elections we moan that they have abandoned us? Why is the arrogance and pride of elected leaders at its peak immediately after elections and starts to wane a few months to the next election?

Bad leadership is a reflection of the moral rot and decadence in our society. Our leaders are corrupt and arrogant because our society is equally corrupt and arrogant. Our society is more rotten than the politicians and the political establishments.

CHANGE OF MINDSET

To reform politics we have to have a reformed society. We must have a cultural and social revolution that holds political leaders accountable. The revolution should reward good leaders and reprimand bad leadership. Unless that happens, we will continue electing corrupt leaders.

The politicians know we are not a nation but an amalgamation of tribes hence they don’t appeal to our nationhood but our tribes. Political parties are not national in nature but tribal outfits. We cherish and adore the most tribalistic of leaders and abhor progressive, development-oriented and nationalistic leaders.

 

Politicians have understood that Kenyans do not value ideas, philosophy or manifesto but rather worship deep pockets. So they spend five years amassing ill-gotten wealth to buy voters.

Elections are not seen as an opportunity to define the nation's destiny but a chance to make money from the politicians. Instead of holding candidates accountable, we are busy competing on how to get money out of them. 

A tyrannical twerp with money stands a better chance of being elected than a progressive leader who will put the nation on the path to economic growth

 
 

We bribe for government services. We are willing to pay money to examination authorities to steal exams for our children. Universities sell degrees and diplomas, churning out half-baked graduates to the job market.

Unscrupulous businessman bribe government officials to flood the market with goods unfit for consumption, posing a threat to people's health.

Election officials, who are expected to act with integrity, see no qualms in engaging in electoral fraud as a favour to politicians and in so doing plunge the entire nation into turmoil. They have no moral compunction or ethical consideration to the nation and its people.

In a nutshell, politicians and political systems emerge out of the social, cultural and religious set-ups that are currently prevalent in society. The actions and behaviour of politicians reflect the desires and aspirations of the electorate.

To reform politics we have to have a reformed society. We must have a cultural and social revolution that holds political leaders accountable. The revolution should reward good leaders and reprimand bad leadership. Unless that happens, we will continue electing corrupt leaders.

National prayer breakfasts, building bridges initiatives, handshakes, hustlers and the restructure of government to expand the executive to accommodate more tribes and tribal kingpins won’t fix the fundamental problems bedevilling our political systems.

A reform of the prevailing societal fraud must precede political reforms.

The author works with the Wajir County Government