“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything”-Malcom X.
This statement best personifies us, the Kenyan people. I would be at pains to explain what we really stand for. Barely do we read from the same script as people of one Nation. The constitution which is supposed to instil a sense of togetherness, is followed/not followed depending on “who” or “what” we’re dealing with. The country has reached a political crescendo, with half of the population expressing their desire to ascend to power, and the other half seeking to remain in power. Such a competition can only be healthy if it’s a climax of competing ideologies, rather than a comparison of might between political factions. We seem to be of the latter opinion.
Why are elections in Africa often associated with war? We should have learnt how to prevent such strife by now, but we’ve chosen to ignore the benefit of experience gained from previous bungled elections . We are so comforted by the routine, that we don’t even realise we’ve become prisoners in plain sight.No matter the grandiose nature of elections, let’s not forget they’re the means and not the end. The end is the prosperous future we all yearn for. Citizens and not politicians, need to dictate the tempo of elections. We seem to have delegated this duty to our politicians, with little or zero demands for accountability. We choose to trust the same politicians who launch their ‘’pointless manifestos’’ amidst dancers’ gyrating bosoms that bamboozle us from their charade.
Politics is all about perception, and our politicians have proven not to be good at the perceptions they’ve created over the years.It’s time for Kenyans and Africans to define their political terrain and create new perceptions. Taking power from our politicians is the only way to save ourselves from their lure. Wars break out in Africa because we back our politicians’ acrimonous rhetoric with lopsided judgement. Our judgement or opinion should never trump the right of others to express their own. We can disagree all we want but we should check our utterances because, civil wars have a very unforgiving way of uniting disagreeing parties in shared mass graves.
Elections in Africa will always be precursors for war, if we continue putting little thought in their legitimacy. We must embrace reason and truth in place of speculation and rumours, during elections. Better yet, we shouldn’t remain silent in the face of political adversity. In the words of John F. Kennedy,
‘‘The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in time of moral crisis preserve their neutrality’’.
We should stand for something bigger than ourselves, our politicians should have more belief in service over ambition. We cannot cast votes and face the gods for chance. No, it does not work thatway and if so, it seems the gods have left us to our own devices. Free and fair elections don’t come by chance, they come with institutional independence of the bodies tasked with conducting elections. We need to look at the institutions, not the heavens.