“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” a quote by Albert Einstein is the best way to define Kenyan electorate behavior. Indeed, when it comes to voting behavior and selection of candidates to parliament, Kenyans have been stuck in the same cycle since 1997. They look at the political party rather than the person, vote as a tribal block, and vote in the same sort of leadership that they had before. In fact the EXACT same sort of leadership, regardless of whom that person is.
You see it’s the mentality of transitional politics based on tribe rather than actual democratic values. We gang up in political parties that are not national but tribal outfits which then form coalitions or alliances with other tribal political parties, and then that coalition gangs up against another tribe and encourages the electorate to vote against that tribe, and in the blink of an eye party nominations are done without consideration for issues or character and voila! Your new MP in parliament consistently seeks to increase his perks.
You are baffled as to why this happened again, despite the MP having a different face and name? But you used the same formula to pick this person and that formula was blind tribalism and “us versus them” mentality.
In a country where the constitution is flagrantly disregarded by legislators we can hardly say that this nation is democratic in any way, since the very tenets and fundamentals of democracy are in a Nation’s laws. In a country where the electorate votes based solely on their tribal affiliations and not core issues of governance we are all as undemocratic as we can get, and it’s our own fault.
That’s why when the MPs passed the amendment to the Finance Bill to award themselves over 9 million shillings in a take home package, we only protested for ONE day, and luckily the President declined to assent to that Bill, and then the next day we went back to watching Mexican soaps on the TV. Even though the MPs have sworn to fight back, and the problem has not gone away.
In fact we are so reluctant for change that the days after the miserable protest, the headlines in the newspaper were about how two presidential candidates from two tribal parties had a meeting in the aim or hope of supporting each other in the upcoming elections.
You do the same thing over and over again, vote in leaders from the same mentality who incidentally all belonged to the same political party at one point in our history and since then have never been able to form a truly national political party and you think you are making any sense.
Your tribal leaders ascend to power with intimidation, violence and death and then when in power make laws to enrich themselves while your doctors, teachers, nurses, lecturers and ferry workers go on strike; industrial action after industrial action that one day may lead to a state of emergency, and you protest for only ONE day.
Next year, Kenyans are going to vote in different faces, I am quite sure. They do seem fed up with the faces of the parliamentarians they have now. But they will use the same machinery of politics to do so, and the same tribal mentality, all the while forgetting that all of these candidates at one point came from the pot and only remember their tribe once every 5 years. By 2017, those new candidates will have so desperately plundered the nation via unconstitutional amendments and Bills that the Kenyatta International Conference Center will be sued by Kenya Power for failure to pay electricity bills running into millions.
Lots of people talk of revolutions and change of leadership in this country. But how can you have a revolution when you keep doing the same thing? You mean you are revolving 360 degrees and returning back to the same spot you started in. A real revolution will begin, when the electorate rejects the ballot because it has the same people and the same political parties under a different name. Tell the IEBC that it is a waste of ink to jot down these people and their tribal outfits on ballot papers. Show that you have democratic power by rejecting a process that keeps you in a cycle of poverty and bad leadership. Abandon your tribal cocoons for the sake of the nation. Make world history by staying home and not voting!
Until, and unless we ourselves become a truly democratic electorate, we vote in the rotten leaders we deserve and that is why we ourselves lack the tenacity or commitment to protest for more than one day. Because we know, what we are doing to our country, but we do it anyway, and as Albert Einstein said, that is insanity.