By Kenyatta Otieno via FB
Odhiambo Beda pulled me into this new rule that a degree will be a requirement for seeking elective post in Kenya. First, it is discriminatory because about 1% of Kenyans have degrees. This will lock out the majority from leadership roles. Secondly, the government has never made university education available and affordable to all. It cannot block victims of structural deficiency, that’s double jeopardy.
I believe the motive behind it is more to raise the quality of legislation and oversight and not to hedge off the seats from the majority of Kenyans. It is a simplistic approach because the difficult route is to make politics attractive to good brains while putting off charlatans. Our politics is known to be a graveyard for good brains.
But. I looked at that law with me in mind. I also asked myself why my fellow graduates are not keen on seeking leadership roles. I have had a political mind since primary school. I am a people person and with little effort I know I cannot miss a MCA seat in Kenya. But I don’t think I will ever go for an elective seat. Why shouldn’t a secondary school graduate take my space?
To get space in the Kenyan political scene you must be either of two people. One you must have a lot of time. Time to follow the holders of that space like a dog and feed on whatever is thrown your way. This looks petty and only possible for people who appear like idlers.
Second type is make your money outside politics then pay for space and buying out some opponents. Very few graduates can make such amounts of money without corruption channels. By the time you make enough money legally, some other interests will have taken the political space in your heart.
What makes it difficult for the graduate to keep of politics is the need to bootlick before you get space on the table. Then the sycophancy to a tribal king that is needed to retain your seat works for the first type of people. The petty nature of our politics due to lack of ideology doesn’t make it attractive to many graduates either.
This is why it easier for people with nothing to lose to jump into politics to make a name and a fortune while at it. To push graduates into that space does not just need a sentence in our electoral laws. The general rules of the game must change. The big money politics and low ideological and moral threshold must also be dealt with.
If that is not done, with that law, we will still get many politicians with degrees from Punjab University with nothing in their head to prove that they saw the inside of a lecture theatre.