Senior politicians will forever be known for the company they keep
Voters in Juja, Starehe and Makadara constituencies were still queuing to cast their ballots as I started hitting the keyboard.
But by the time you are reading this, it is likely that the results of the triple by-elections will be out and three new MPs will be organising those so-called “homecomings” that celebrate electoral victory.
“New” is not quite the right term to describe the three who win favour with the voters. It will really be a recycling of the same old rascals.
And if, perchance, there is an actual newcomer to Parliament, there will still be nobody new because he or she will have been cut from exactly the same cloth that defines our politicians.
Nowhere among the motley bunch of candidates can one spot an aspirant who actually stands for something good and honourable.
It is almost an unwritten rule that anyone seeking leadership in Kenya does so for selfish motives, not service.
The sad thing is that even in this new dispensation of a Constitution designed to deliver us from the evil ways of the past, we are still stuck with the leaders who drove us into the murk, in the first place.
Juja, Starehe and Makadara are the first by-elections under the new Constitution, but the campaigns were dominated by the same old issue of cash and ethnicity.
Kenyan voters are still conditioned to voting for those that put on the most gross displays of ill-gotten wealth and the thuggery, intimidation and bribery that is the staple of our election campaigns.
Will any MPs elected on such yardsticks be the ones to drive us into a brave new world? Not on your life.
But let us not worry too much about mere MPs. What is even scarier is that the movers and shakers of Kenyan politics, the ones we trust to provide the moral leadership required to underwrite implementation of the new Constitution, reminded us of their true colours through the by-election campaigns.
President Kibaki, Prime Minister Odinga, Vice-President Musyoka, Deputy Prime Ministers Kenyatta and Mudavadi, were all in the by-election mix, sponsoring candidates for their respective parties and some actually even hitting the campaign trail.
So were other leading political lights such as Cabinet ministers Anyang’ Nyong’o and James Orengo, assistant minister Peter Kenneth and former Cabinet minister Martha Karua.
They participated in the by-elections, not as expressions of what is good, moral and visionary; but the exact opposite.
They flaunt their own credentials as good leaders committed to the building of a new Kenya, yet they support candidates who can never themselves pass the test. A person is known by the company he keeps.
Therefore, no candidate can be deserving of my presidential vote come 2012 if for yesterday by-election, he or she consorted openly with thugs and crooks and actually supported the election of unworthy discredited characters.
If you pack your party with crooks, whether they are remnants of the terrible Nyayo kleptocracy or of more recent vintage, then come 2012, you will not be my candidate.
And I cannot trust you to deliver on all that is good with the new Constitution if, at the same time, you are beholden to the characters of ill-repute who thrived and made illicit wealth by exploiting the deficiencies of the old constitution.
The three parliamentary by-elections provided the clearest test case of where we are heading.
In my radar were not the forgettable bunch of candidates, but the so-called national leaders who descended on the campaign like vultures.
They all failed the test of leadership; and they are, so far, our options for 2012.
It is just a few weeks since non-existent markings on some key roads in Nairobi were given a fresh coat of paint.
But not even the proclamation of a new Constitution would persuade the city engineer, the minister for Roads, the minister for Public Works, and their respective permanent secretaries and chief engineers, that diluted whitewash does not serve as real thick paint made for that purpose.
Our highways are back to open unmarked fields again.