Post truth politics will be the end of Kenyans

Posted by on 3rd February 2017

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Our Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary failed to clinch the much publicized African Union (AU) chair position and naturally focus shifted to the millions used by government to support her bid. However, the debate on social media took a different turn and those asking for the monies to be accounted for were labeled unpatriotic. That’s the post truth era we are in. Nobody cares about the facts anymore; it’s all about how we feel. Perhaps we also feel the doctor’s strike is not worth talking about until we have a generation of disabled people because of lack of immediate medical attention then the numbers would make us emotional enough to look at the facts.

Our eyes have been on stalks this week as we watched the opposition drop mindboggling allegations that continue to widen the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s (IEBC) credibility gap and are likely to affect negatively the ongoing voter registration. Opposition leader Raila claimed that IEBC’s software has been tampered with. Reports of double registrations have emerged with shared Identity Numbers alleged and the IEBC has confirmed this.

Whichever way the stakeholders choose to look at it the allegations are serious and should be addressed with the seriousness they represent. Chebukati’s team must make it their objective to allay any fears that the commission is compromised. The casual handling of the BVR procurement queries in 2012 is what later metamorphosed into the Chicken-gate scandal. The new team must therefore not shy away from asking difficult questions including investigations into whether their staff on the ground are part of the National Intelligence Service as was alleged by the opposition leader.

In addition, there have been claims citizens of neighboring countries are being registered though the IEBC denied this allegation. However, this week the Teso South MP was allegedly caught doing exactly that. IEBC is not helping the situation when they appear defensive all the time. It’s prudent that they also conduct internal auditing of their voter register so far and proactively inform Kenyans of the challenges they’re finding and how they’re planning to deal with them. That would reassure Kenyans that there was no mischief and that the new team was on top of things. Otherwise, politicians from both government and the oppostion will sell their supporters their truth without facts and that will only stoke the embers of fire.

A Turkana resident told a TV news reporter it made no sense to register as a voter only to get the leaders focusing their projects in Nairobi when drought kills them year in year out. The county is one of the most hit areas with the ongoing drought. Her sentiments are not that different from those in Mandera or Marsabit either. But there are Kenyans who feel the media is giving too much attention to drought and the ongoing strikes to undermine the re-election of Jubilee. Because in post-truth world nothing matters anymore except where your heart is politically.

Meanwhile, our MPs amidst all that is going on have decided that this the best time to approve a Bill that will see the government privatize state corporations without going through Parliament. With the level of corruption we’ve seen the Jubilee government struggle with, do MPs really feel it is wise to give the Cabinet Secretary the power to decide if a public institution should go to private hands? The Privatization (Amendment) Bill sponsored by Aden Duale is in bad faith. Also the timing is suspect. Kenyans are worried sick of the ongoing strikes, ravaging hunger, Mass Voter Registration to focus on the mischievous Bill.

This is another reason why we should be very keen on registering in large numbers. Elections are not just about the President and his deputy, it is about all elected leaders and the role they played and continue to play in regard to our interests. Take note as the electorate and make your voice heard loud and clear in August.