By Dorcas S
That I even have to ask this question is as worrisome as it is telling given some of the choices Kenya’s have made over the years.
In electoral politics, it is as basic a question as it gets: Who do you support and why? To provide part of the answer, consider this short anecdote.
About three years ago, a friend was “elected”; make that appointed to head an organization shortly after as a consultant, he helped them attain their ISO (13485) certification. The friend’s new role was to help the now-certified organization “season” its international organization of standardization (ISO) quality system i.e. execute its new quality system.
The clear goal from the board of directors, delivered via the CEO was clear and timeline specific: Assure ISO recertification in 2 years.
Three months into the assignment during their weekly one-on-one with the CEO, my friend intimated to the no-nonsense woman named “Shanice” that he hadn’t realized that the high-profile assignment overseeing a team of middle-aged white technocrats and machinists who had “always done it that way” was going to be “that difficult”.
To the CEO (and later to my friend), the comment was as telling as it was instrumental in helping the two strategize a way forward.
“That the person I hired to run my organization is telling me that they didn’t fully understand the nature of the assignment they signed up for is very worrisome” came the CEO’s curt response.
“Well now you know,” she continued.
“You can either re-calibrate (her exact word – re-calibrate) your mindset and get it together or you can quit; either way, I need an answer by end of business today (the meeting started at 2PM) and a plan on how you are going to turn this (expletive) around by end of business tomorrow.” (it was Friday)
Reflecting on this exchange with my friend, I thought of some of the comments in the “Race for Governor” series and was absolutely floored by the obfuscation, prevarication and the excuses trotted out by Kidero, Ranguma and by extension, Kenyatta and RAO apologists to explain some of the missteps by these elected leaders.
Below are samples of the excuses paraded out either by the leaders or their apologists when it became patently clear that they were not up to the task at hand. That like me, they didn’t know that the job they signed up for “was going to be this hard”.
“Not even the United Nations or some biblical or mythic figure can address the problem”.
“It is such a complicated problem.”
“Jameni, mnataka nifanye nini?”
“Why is it so-and-so’s fault?”
I was flabbergasted but not surprised.
Kenyans hire (elect) a president, county governors, senators, MPs, MCAs etc. to do a job. The same Kenyans are now suffering because the people they hired to do a job have not delivered. The country is paying an arm and a leg for basics such as unga, paraffin, milk and other important food items even as they line the pockets of the very people who pledged to “put food on the table of all Kenyans”.
Citizens who depend on a vibrant and living Lake Victoria for their livelihood nervously watch as fishable space is choked off by an invasive plant species that has been mitigated and/or significantly controlled in some countries.
Kenya watches passively as S. Korea, her peer of the 70s and 80s ousts its president on charges of corruption. Kenyans “oh” and “ah” as Brazilians do the same thing to President Dilma Rousseff. Nervously and furtively, they peer, ever so sheepishly as China, their newest BFF executes, regularly, by firing squad, the likes of Ms. Annie, Kabura, Okemo, Gichuru and others suspected of raiding the public till.
Unsurprisingly, in a Stockholm Syndrome-like turn of events, not only do Kenyans excuse the actions that result in the death of thousands and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens, they elect the very perpetrators of said mayhem into the highest offices of the land and for good measure, re-elect them! The very people who are dying of hunger, thirst, disease and wanton violence are poised to re-hire the same corps of individuals pointedly and demonstrably RESPONSIBLE for the pestilence!
Remind Me Again Why We Elect and Re-elect (Some) Leaders?