PETTY POLITICKING

Why electoral politics should be banned four years to polls

There is a clear indication of failed leadership. This, can, however, change if we politick less and instead embrace statesmanship.

In Summary

• For the past 50 years since Independence, the majority of Kenyans continue to suffer and wallow in abject poverty because of petty politics.

•  Kenya ranked eight globally and sixth in Africa among countries with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty in the World Poverty Clock Report 2018.

Team Kieleweke and Tangatanga members clash at a church in Murang'a on Sunday, September 8, 2019.
Team Kieleweke and Tangatanga members clash at a church in Murang'a on Sunday, September 8, 2019.
Image: ALICE WAITHERA

Kenya is a blessed nation. We have adequate minerals, fertile land, diverse culture and many other resources.

For the past 50 years since Independence, the majority of Kenyans continue to suffer and wallow in abject poverty because of petty politics. Kenya ranked eight globally and sixth in Africa among countries with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty in the World Poverty Clock Report 2018.

This is a clear indication of failed leadership. This, can, however, change if we politick less and instead embrace statesmanship.

Statesmanship can be defined as a demonstration of leadership or decision making that puts the country, the state, or other governmental entity above the goals and interests of an individual or of a political party.

This is the kind of leadership in Asian countries, which have made huge economic strides within a short time. There is always this comparison between African countries and the Asian Tigers, that their economies were once at par in 1960s but are now way far ahead.

We will continue this way if our leaders won't change the politics of this country. They are more focussed on issues such as giving out handouts in church donations, and succession and electoral politics, issues that are of less significance to wananchi at this time.

They are ever putting this country on a campaign mood and rarely deliver on their promises. If it’s not crisscrossing the country campaigning for their candidate in an election that is three years away, you will find them in churches fighting or in other podiums insulting each other.

This a clear lack of vision. To them, leadership is about renovating classrooms, repainting buildings, giving bursaries, premature campaigns and attending harambees. They must have forgotten why they were voted into office.

In developed countries, leaders wake up each day knowing that they were elected primarily for one purpose: Deep thinking. Their responsibility is to do some critical, creative, empowering and visionary thinking and then translate their thoughts into plans and actions that transform people lives’.

It’s time for Kenya to borrow a leaf from these countries. Our underdevelopment is not accidental. We cannot continue politicking and expect any meaningful and sustainable progress.

Our leaders and policymakers should reflect and rethink about the future of this country. They should design and implement measurable, concrete and sound economic policies that have deadlines.

We should also welcome executive orders or legislative measures banning unnecessary politics before four years from the date of the next election. Ambitions of a few individuals who want to occupy various top seats should not deter us from bringing solutions to the many problems facing this country.

Our philosophy should aim at lifting millions of citizens from poverty, diseases, illiteracy, fighting corruption and other myriad challenges.

I submit to our leaders to focus on industrialisation, which has an unmatched record of lifting a large number of people out of poverty, raising national incomes and increasing employment rates.

India, China and even Rwanda are focusing more on setting up village industries, thereby creating jobs and empowering people in the rural areas. When you study the politics of these countries, you notice that engaging in unnecessary politicking is actually illegal. That’s exactly what we need.

.In the words of James Freeman Clarke, a politician thinks of the next election, a statesman of the next generation. Kenya needs true statesmen and women who will hold true to their convictions and not today’s politicians who shift right or left to suit their mood.

Research and communications analyst