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POLITICAL MEDIOCRITY

Our peak season of prolonged stupidity

The masses have refused to learn the idiocy and hypocrisy of the power clique.

In Summary

• If fundraisers were all Kenya needed, ours would be a first world country. But no country can develop on handouts.

• People in power have always shed crocodile tears over drought and hunger, but there is nothing to show for tears so generously shed.

The power clique loves shedding crocodile tears. The gullible believe these tears express sincere concern for the public good. The haze explains the flux of change without progress, of a leadership of plunder for personal grandeur.

The people in power have always shed crocodile tears over drought and hunger in Turkana, Baringo, and other counties. But there is nothing to show for tears so generously shed.

There isn't much done to mitigate the vicious cycle of want. Also, recall people who preside over this neglect are campaigning to succeed themselves. But what shall they do after 2022 that they cannot do now—or since 2013?

Some are fashioning themselves as performers when they trap defectors, and host delegations of handout seekers. This is the template President Daniel arap Moi used for 24 years.

If fundraisers were all Kenya needed, ours would be a first world country. But no country can develop on handouts. Of leaders plundering billions and then contributing an eighth to churches and schools, then claiming to be development conscious. This is political mediocrity. People priorities and prudent management of public funds are key to socioeconomic transformation.  

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

But the more things change, the more they remain the same. The French are poetic about this constant sameness in the face of change. 'Plus ca change, plus c'est la même chose'.

The bad news is, most people don't learn from the conning ways of visionless politicians. The masses have refused to learn the idiocy and hypocrisy of the power clique. Because of this infectious confusion, we are in a hole. But we are still digging, deeper into the recesses of this power, indifference, and ignorance-inspired confusion. It's our peak season of prolonged stupidity.

There is a context to this observation. 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, explains what he calls a "system of stupidity". The system of stupidity loves the fool who wishes to abandon prosperity. This system is blind to race, creed, tribe, income or family names, or social standing. The system smothers your future, as it sheds crocodile tears over your plight.

The system pays lip service to mass prosperity, while feeding on mass gullibility. The connivance sustains exploitation, which some Kenyans accept as their destiny. 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 lands 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 600,0000 peasants who were regarded as 'foreigners' in the lands of their birth or choice.

The system of stupidity loves the fool who wishes to abandon prosperity. This system is blind to race, creed, tribe, income or family names, or social standing. The system smothers your future, as it sheds crocodile tears over your plight.

Kikuyus were evicted from their businesses in western Kenya in 2008 on account of President Kibaki, who retained power through electoral fraud. He exploited the system of stupidity.

This is not a sermon, but Ecclesiastes speaks to us: A powerful king once surrounded a town where lived a clever man who could have saved the community, but no one thought about him for he was poor. Fast runners do not always win the race. The brave do not always win the battle. The wise do not always earn a living. Intelligent people do not always get rich. Capable people do not always get to high positions.

No one listens to the poor or pays attention to their counsel. A dead fly makes a bottle of perfume to stink, so can a little stupidity cancel out wisdom. It is better to listen to the quiet words of a wise person than the shouts of a ruler at a council of fools. The Jubilee era listens to shedders of crocodile tears and worships money, greed, and abused power. Shedding crocodile tears captures the muddle of this prolonged national stupidity.

To shed crocodile tears is to display false, insincere, or hypocritical sadness or remorse. This duplicity is borrowed from the notion that crocodiles weep to lure their victims. They also weep when devouring them. Those who weep most for Kenya, even as they vomit on our shoes, are the people we put in power.