Players must collaborate to strengthen the three pillars upon which the industry stands: talent development, access to capital and an enabling policy environment.
By DAISY AMDANY
It is unfortunate that elections in Kenya have become synonymous with a tribal roll call. Kenyans don’t understand the importance of a vote in terms of guaranteeing or securing their livelihoods. People have sold their birthright and accountability dies on the altar of tribalism. I feel that if my tribesperson wins, I have won, never mind that when problems arise, we suffer as a people. The minute my tribesperson is accused of corruption, we say, “We are being finished.” Yet these people steal for personal gain.
However, while people vote tribally, they still want issues to be addressed. That is why we need to start holding our leaders accountable.
Unfortunately, our politics is continuously a zero-sum game where opponents talk at each other, but do not address real issues the way we see developed democracies do. Leaders in developed countries campaign on a platform of how their administration will handle various policies, security, the cost of living and job creation. In Kenya, politicians just throw out a number. For example, “we will create one million jobs,” but they don’t tell you how.
We are not holding any of the political leaders right now to account for the promises they made, and what they have delivered so far. That is what tribalism does – it makes us fail to address real issues.
Free, fair and credible
Chaos that marred the recent party primaries were a shocking revelation of how Kenyans are willing to be compromised. When we talk about a free, fair and credible process, we are not just referring to an event that will happen on 8th August 2017.
The people we will vote for are a product of this nomination exercise. If we already had fraudulent nomination, we have already dented the credibility of the electoral process.
There are clear rules that guide the nomination exercise. First, you can only participate if you are a member of a party and a registered voter. None of the political parties had a list of members. They used the 2013 voters` IEBC roll. Because they were unable to identify their members, all political parties made a decision that as long as you had an ID card, you could vote. While potentially we have 25-29 million voters from the recent count, we only have 19 million registered voters. That in itself dented the credibility of the exercise.
We also saw Kenyans being compromised – sitting in rooms pre-marking ballot papers. This tells us a lot about our morality as a country and how we view the issue of leadership. We criminally compromise systems just so that we may get ahead.
The people who emerged winners during the nomination say that while the exercise may have been challenging, by and large it was good. But everybody who lost says it was shambolic. The question we must ask is, if the exercise was shambolic, why did they agree to participate in the first place? Everybody is hoping to participate in a fraud exercise, as long they win. So, are Kenyans interested in a free, fair and credible process, or one that delivers victory for them?
My conclusion from the nominations is that Kenyans don’t care about the credibility of processes. They want a process that will deliver victory for them or their party. That in itself is a problem because if I am willing to compromise the electoral process to win, then I am willing to compromise any other system. What guarantees do we have then that a leader will abide by the rule of law when he/she gets elected? Kenyans don’t understand this, and that is why gross corruption is a norm in this country.
Leadership and integrity
The Constitution of Kenya, 2010 provides, under Chapter 6, for leadership and integrity of all public officers. However, the legislators weakened the Leadership and Integrity Act, when they said that only after your case has been concluded and the courts have found you guilty, that you can be barred from vying for public office. That creates a loophole.
Chapter 6 envisioned that even if aspersions have been cast on your character, or if you have been incharge of a certain docket and mismanagement has happened under you, you should not vie for public office.
Kenyans need to challenge bad laws. The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has published a list of persons who should not be considered for public office because they are being investigated. But in Kenya, being accused of corruption is like a badge of honour. Instead of hanging my head in shame, I look for new ways to reinvent myself. The best way for the corrupt to ensure longevity is to seek public office.
Future of our country
Kenyans are the only people who can safeguard their country from cannibalistic leadership. This approach to leadership – where we continue to bring in the corrupt – is not sustainable.
Productivity continues to go down. We are beginning to feel the effect of it when we see the cost of living go up and the collapse of industry. This affects us because jobs have been lost. Kenyans must take politicians to task, to explain how their leadership will improve our livelihood.
Anyone who cares enough for the future generation, will care enough about the people who hold the instruments of power. Such leaders must manage the State in such a manner that every Kenyan is able to maximise their full potential and seize its opportunities. Right now, what we have is a country full of potential that is not being made productive.
Development has become incidental, it is because leaders needed to `eat` that we have a road. But the road is of poor quality and the cost is 20 times more. We need to begin questioning the cost of some of these developments. Leaders should not say `we have done this for you` because taxpayers pay for it. You must question the return on investment in every project. That is why public participation is very important. The Constitution has given us that authority– no government ministry, department, agency or county can develop their budget without public participation.
Article compiled by Tabitha Areba. Daisy Amdany is Executive Director at Community Advocacy and Awareness Trust . Email: firstname.lastname@example.org