Next elections may give us worse leaders

Wednesday December 14 2011

By KOIGI wa WAMWERE

Looking at all those aspiring for the presidency, I have an eerie feeling that next year’s elections may give Kenyans worse leaders than we have today. Several reasons cause this fear.

Kenyans seem so used to having bad leaders that their desire for better leadership is more or less dead. Should thieves, ethnic warlords and con men vie for leadership next year, they will have better chances of winning elections than good people.

To pave the way for bad leaders, contrary to Chapter 6 of the Constitution, the Election Act now allows everyone to vie for an elective post unless they are convicted of a criminal act or are held in custody, a lowering of the moral benchmark that opens the flood-gates for thieves to enter leadership.

Worse, since Kenyans learnt nothing from the post-election violence, youthful ethnic warlords are now ready to vie for the presidency and other public offices.

With their roots in the Kanu one-party dictatorship, it will be a great retrogression for any front-runner presidential candidate to take power. However, stinking rich, these architects of one-party dictatorships are the ones poised to win it.

Though a Campaign Finance Bill is coming, every Sunday, harambees transform churches into dens of thieves and public auctions where selling leadership to the highest bidder has already started.

As for counties, they have become ethnic homelands and breeding grounds for negative ethnicity where only warlords may be elected governors, senators and MPs.

To actualise ethnic counties, every community in Kenya today aspires for a spokesman and kingdom where political thugs camouflaged as tribal elders are financed by politicians to mobilise ethnic voting blocs with oaths disguised as goat-eating parties.

To avoid the curse of bad leadership, Kenyans must vet bad from good leadership by confronting candidates with the hardest possible questions.

Why have Kenyan presidents not alleviated poverty, corruption, negative ethnicity, unemployment and lack of industrialisation, and what formula will the presidential aspirants use to succeed?

If candidates are touring the country in helicopters and reaching the Diaspora with jets, how did they earn that money or who is sponsoring them and why?

It is not hard to think corrupt candidates with endless resources have financial sponsorship from foreign sharks with a keen appetite for our resources. If elected, how will they protect us from foreigners to whom they are beholden?

In other countries, aspirants for the presidency explain whether they have ever fought or sacrificed for their country in times of danger or great need. If not, where is the evidence of their patriotism?

Kenya was once in mortal danger from colonialism. After independence, it was strangulated by the python of one-party dictatorship. What did any of the candidates do to save it?

To have good leaders, we must not relent. Already, our politics of corruption, negative ethnicity and public recklessness have repelled the gems of society and attracted only dregs. Kenyans have every reason to worry for themselves and their children.  

Mr Wamwere is chairman of Chama cha Mwananchi and author of “Towards Genocide in Kenya: The Curse of Negative Ethnicity”.