THINK, PEOPLE, THINK

Herd mentality to blame for bad leadership

How can we revolutionise our politics away from ethno-centred approach to issue-based politics?

In Summary
  • I yearn for a day a Kalenjin will support Raila without meeting the wrath of community vigilantes;
  • A day ICPAK or Knut will develop a common voting bloc and rally behind a leader who can articulate their stand and position.
Supporters shout during speeches at the BBI rally in Mombasa.
Supporters shout during speeches at the BBI rally in Mombasa.
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

Most people engage in politics from an emotional perspective or just follow a growing political avalanche. Like reeds, they flow with the currents, not any meaningful ideological persuasion.

The emotional lot are the type that religiously follow a political leader, often on shared ancestry. It provides a sense of belonging. Those who find themselves at the periphery are admonished and reprimanded as sellouts or outcasts.

It is a psychological tactic that plants fears amongst the followers, to religiously remain loyal without just cause. Go against the grain and pay a heavy price, including being excommunicated.

It is for this reason that regions have kingpins, to consolidate followers. The kingpin provides leadership, direction and rallies the community together. He becomes the sole gatekeeper to the community.

But how can we revolutionise our politics away from ethno-centred approach to issue-based politics? Politics where workers’ issues take centre stage, where scholars front a party to project and protect their interests, where professionals and not tribal-minded people sit together for the good of the nation and not for their parochial interests?

I yearn for a day a Kalenjin will support Raila without meeting the wrath of community vigilantes; a day Ruto will walk and sleep in a rural house deep in Nyanza without tension; a day ICPAK or Knut will develop a common voting bloc and rally behind a leader who can articulate their stand and position.

For now, we are tribesmen, singing and dancing behind our regional kingpins.

If Kenya is a failed state, then as a voter you are a collaborator. You have allowed your conscience to be controlled by tribal kingpins; you have auctioned your vote to the highest bidder and have followed the political wind, irrespective of where it is blowing to or from.

Until such a time we will consciously choose our leaders on the strength of their vision and ability, the curse of bad leadership will continue to haunt this nation.

We are not short of good leaders, we have ignorantly buried our heads in the sand, feverishly praying for a miraculous escape from the jaws of corruption, bad leadership, ethnicity, etc. It won’t happen anytime soon, with our herd mentality.