ROBBERY BY AGREEMENT

Politics and character like oil and water

We lament about the character of our leaders then we elect them.

In Summary
  • Once a leader has been 'coronated' and tows the Kingpin's line, we defend them ferociously no matter how heinous their crimes.
  • We have even christened corruption ‘taking a share of the national cake’. We put our lives on the line to defend the robber/criminal.

One time as I watched a talk show, I marvelled at the sight of a newly 'converted' politician. He walked in downtrodden, subjugated meek, and humble. The leader, who was once considered fiery and uncompromised, had descended from a position of honour and plunged into the abyss of 'yes sir'.

He had simply become a bootlicker. Before then, the politician had said he would fight a bill to raise the debt ceiling at the Senate. He spoke for Wanjiku, who has been struggling to pay the already vexatious loans. Then he saw the light. Admittedly, he simply described how powerful party leaders are. Calls were made and the story changed, the members who vehemently opposed the motion suddenly drummed their support for it more than the drafters.

That day he divorced his character, you could see it in his eyes. His tonal variation stamped it. Perceptibly, he had joined the bandwagon and was ready to play along. This is what we see day in day out. Today, it is this politician, tomorrow the other. They behave as if they never saw the door of a classroom yet some of them are the most ‘learned’ and ‘knowledgeable’ in our society. Indeed, wisdom is not contained in any book. 

It reminds me of what Plato says in The Republic, “If they imitate they should imitate, not any meanness or baseness, but the good only; for the mask which the actor wears is apt to become his face…A good or wise man will be willing to perform good and wise actions…The man who has no self-respect, on the contrary, will imitate anybody and anything; sounds of nature and cries of animals alike; his whole performance will be imitation of gesture and voice”.

Years back it was almost impossible to encounter a robber during the day for fear of society's wrath, today they are celebrities whom we ran after for selfies. We give them extravagant offices, personal assistants and fuel-guzzling cars paid for by Wanjiku to exacerbate ‘the robbery by agreement’. We facilitate the robbers and pay them hefty salaries and allowances to rob and bankrupt the economy.

This seems to have permeated our society and has become acceptable.

Once a leader has been 'coronated' and tows the Kingpin's line, we defend them ferociously no matter how heinous their crimes. We have even christened corruption ‘taking a share of the national cake’. We put our lives on the line to defend the robber/criminal. We protest during court proceedings. They are the favourites of society. Their social status is determined by the make of cars they drive: If not high-end German machines, it has to be an eight-cylinder engine.

We pay for well-trained officers who wield guns around them for fortification. It has almost become obvious that if one takes a greater share from the national coffers, he/she is bound to be elected to the topmost office in the political arena, ostensibly, to continue the vice. We have glorified the villains and vilified the heroes.

Years back it was almost impossible to encounter a robber during the day for fear of society's wrath, today they are celebrities whom we ran after for selfies. We give them extravagant offices, personal assistants and fuel-guzzling cars paid for by Wanjiku to exacerbate ‘the robbery by agreement’. We facilitate the robbers and pay them hefty salaries and allowances to rob and bankrupt the economy. But do we care. Chinese loans are hanging over us like ripe mangoes on trees waiting for the devourers.

What have we done as a citizenry? We have lamented about the character of our leaders long enough yet we are the very people who walk to the ballot and elect the questionable ones. The happenings in Nairobi and Kiambu offer great lessons. 

I, therefore, appeal to us (Wanjiku) to watch our leaders at every point to see if they have retained the convictions they embodied when they joined politics or have since succumbed to the rot surrounding them. For time and persuasion and the love of extravagance have lured many leaders to compromise and evil. When push comes to shove, let us re-coronate these leaders and remind them of their former convictions or go the Kiambu way.