How to get it right and put politicians in their place in 2017 elections

Posted by on 13th January 2017

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It’s something of a wonder that Kenyans vote once every five years and spend the remaining four or so years complaining about the leaders they elected. This week the opposition showed a united front and promised to produce one candidate to challenge the incumbent. However, when you look closely at the outfit there’s really nothing different from the ruling Jubilee. It’s like 2002 all over again, the unity is aimed at removing the incumbent. There’s no roadmap on how they’ll dismantle corruption that is choking the Jubilee government or any grand plans to make our lives better.

And about being the face of Kenya. Like Jubilee’s launch a few months ago, the opposition is also keen on pleasing politicians with tribal numbers rather than building an ideology people could rally around. There’s nothing authentic about the main political parties in Kenya, they’re just vehicles to power. That’s why regardless of whichever party you vote for it always turns out the only thing that change is the forest but the monkeys are the same. Worse still, the ruling Jubilee hasn’t even won the second term but half the party is thinking 2022 constantly reminding pockets of the country to vote because it will be “their turn to eat!” What a tragedy!

However, we can break that cycle in this year’s General Elections by being very deliberate about what we want and choosing to be strategic rather than emotional. To most Politicians voters are just a means to an end – power. It’s also about time we made them a means to an end – better standards of living. First, realize there are only two tribes in this country: the haves and the have-nots – though, our politicians will want you to believe otherwise. Consider where you belong and rally around your people.

Secondly stop with the useless banter on voter apathy that’s neither here nor there. It’s silly to imagine that you hope to get better leaders by abstaining from a political process. Go out and register as a voter. The second phase of Mass Voter Registration (MVR) is expected to kick off next week. If we’re to put politicians in their place this year, we must refuse to be dragged into the apathy debate as it doesn’t change our situation.

Strategic thinking demands you bargain from a place of power. If you miss the registration drive you can’t vote. If you can’t vote, you lose your voice both moral and political. Get your priorities right and mobilize friends and family to register to vote.

Thirdly forget about political parties. Think about individual candidates within the parties, especially independent candidates. Clearly, our political parties have no ideology. Don’t pander to politicians’ whims. Show class it’s 2017. Of course politicians from both government and opposition will tell you to vote suit. They have perfected the art of whipping our emotions by making us think the world would cease to exist as we know it if we don’t elect them. Show them the contempt card and focus on individuals speaking the language that resonates with your priorities. To vote ‘suit’ is to affirm the tyranny of numbers philosophy that’s at best backward. This strategy will effectively dismantle leaders counting on tribes to get elected and give precedence to leaders offering solutions to our challenges.

Fourthly take time and look up your MP or Senator on our website. What’s their contribution in Parliament? How have they managed CDF in the past? That your MP is always talking in burials and other public places but mum in Parliament should worry you. Your MPs main job is representing your views by formulating laws that should make your life better, exercising oversight over the executive and ensuring budget is allocated to meet Kenyans needs and not giving random speeches. He is your servant not your boss. The information you dig up should make you a more informed voter and help you seek the right answers or questions for that matter.

As the celebrate Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi once put it, in strategy it’s important to see distant things as if they were close and take a distanced view at close things. Through the vote, Kenyans must establish a prosperous and peaceful Kenya and not install chieftains who seek their own immediate gratification at your expense.