The trouble with Kenya – the relationship between corruption and elections

Chinua Achebe’s book “The Trouble with Nigeria” should be a must-read for ALL Kenyans including in-coming legislators.

Released in 1983, the ten-chapter 87-page fifteen thousand worded quick read is direct and to the point regarding details of a corrupt Nigerian society whose equally corrupt leadership got its mandate from an equally corrupt, culpable and hyper-tribal section of the Nigerian population!

It sounds like a broken record but the problem with Kenya is a corrupt and ineffectual leadership which gets its mandate from their ethnic groups – making said groups just as culpable as the kleptocrats they “elect” into office.

And as vividly illustrated by the just-concluded elections, the corruption and impunity of the Jubilee government is now aided and abetted by a bi-polar and schizophrenic international community (US, EU, AU, UN) that was once poised to exact justice against those accused of crimes against humanity (in 2008) only to flip the script and validate a demonstrably rigged and manipulated 2017 election whose aftermath featured violence meted out against an opposition-leaning segments of the Kenyan society by state agents seemingly commanded by the country’s top leadership.

The trouble with Kenyans is that they’ve allowed their country to metastasize into the cancerous growth they are now seeing in the violent and corrupt cabal leading them! And like their Nigerian “brodas”, Kenyans are quick to sit back and wring their grabby hands and vote in the same causes of the ill they complain about ad nauseum!

How do Kenyans re-elect an Uhuru/Ruto duo that oversaw their country become the third most corrupt country in the world; this according to a survey on prevalence of economic crimes released in Nairobi yesterday by audit firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) – Feb, 27th 2016 Standard: “Survey: Kenya ranked third most corrupt country in the world”?

On the other hand, that Anne Waiguru, who was implicated in the KSh.791 Million scandal at the Department of Devolution & Planning, is poised to bring her “talents” to Kirinyaga as its County Governor says it all.

Kenyans don’t care! Make that “some” Kenyans don’t care!!

White elephants such as the SGR and the primary school laptop boondoggle have imbued wanaKenya with a sense of invincibility (tuko juu sana!); in the process blinding them to the rot that is their country! It doesn’t hurt that Kenyans boast some of the world’s best runners and rugby players!

Notwithstanding, if ever there was an example of what anthropologists refer to as “cargo cults” i.e. the belief by a society that can barely feed its children that one day, without the requisite sacrifice and hard work, they will become a “nuclear power”, I’d hold Kenya as Exhibit A!

At least America, for all its many fault, IS a superpower! As was South Africa which ended its nuclear program in 1989 and signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 1991!

I recently saw a FB picture of a matatu displaying a bumper sticker with the caption “My Country: Love it or Leave it!” written over colors of a “flattering” Kenyan flag!

How patriotic! How trite and disingenuous – from an industry that is notorious for flouting every traffic rule in the book!

It, bumper sticker, reminded me of the zeitgeist in 2003 shortly before America and its “Coalition of the Willing” invaded Iraq to “rid” Saddam of his WMDs. This is the faux patriotism, displayed mostly by those whose turn it is to eat or those whose people are already eating, that English writer/poet Samuel Johnson was referring to.

Irishman Oscar Wilde’s take on the nationalism/patriotism currently pervading Kenya (and America’s white supremacists) is even more on point: It is “the virtue of the vicious”; an expression explained by ruminating on how one muddies the corruption, xenophobia, bigotry and overall dysfunction that pervades (their) society: Kenyans have done so by questioning the loyalty, “patriotism” and religiosity of those pointing out the rot to wit:

All those questioning the “god-chosen” duo of Kenyatta and Ruto are “unpatriotic” “un-godly” ingrates!

Fortunately (or unfortunately), Kenya’s leadership have continued to overplay its hands, especially since 2002 when “punda” finally “chokad” and kicked out the authoritarian and corrupt 2nd president Daniel Moi.

In the late public servant Chris Msando and 6-month old Samantha Pendo, Kenya’s 2017 General Elections, regardless of the upcoming Supreme Court ruling, has its icons (Chinua Achebe’s Aminu Kano) and illustrations of how depraved the pursuit of power can become – even by attendees of “prayer rallies”.

The current talk of secession may peter out but I will be very surprised if Kenya reverts to status ante.

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