Why spend so much in campaigns?
Posted Saturday, May 26 2012 at 18:08
Since we became independent, we have established a national political cycle which keen analysts could describe as progressive and consistent but curious.
During the first 10 years or so, an aspiring leader did not need to spend so much of whatever savings they had made from their “hard” work in a political campaign.
What was important was that an individual be identified as one whose articulation of issues resonated with the population.
After that came a period during which the ruling aristocracy – with the Chepkube coffee debacle and other arrangements – took the political electoral process a notch higher.
The intervening years between then and 1992 had taught the then masters – or is it professors of politics – how to do the political game.
The 1992 General Election became a turning point in the way Kenyans, to this day, perceive political elections.
The money factor became accentuated and has continued to be so, to a level that is beyond the understanding of an unsuspecting citizen.
One does not need to be a rocket scientist to know that the money that goes into “campaigns” has to come from somewhere.
Some time ago, someone said that if one really intends to make serious money, they have to be in government or trade with it. Perhaps out of naivety I did not believe him. Then I remembered the Goldenberg scandal.
More recently we were treated to Anglo Leasing, maize, Triton, Grand Regency, Free Primary Education scams; and NHIF.
That is what makes me feel a bit scared about our country and our future when I see big twin political rallies in Mombasa, major and elaborate party launches at the KICC – while there are Kenyans living in tents under the rain – other rallies planned for Kakamega and so on, a whole 10 months before election day.
From my observation, people who have worked hard usually think twice before they spend the kind of money that some of these activities take. Those who have worked honestly do not have it.
Whatever the case, our carnival is now here with us. The Brazilians and other people have theirs once a year as a cultural event. Ours comes every five years and its nature is not just cultural.
It is part of the manner in which God has given us an opportunity to determine our destiny as a nation. For some of our leaders, however, it is just a carnival and, therefore, our political destiny does not really matter.
Father Wamugunda is dean of students and sociology lecturer at the University of Nairobi