June 3, 2020 8 By Salaton Lemayian Jr.

Believe me, even I would hate to read another political piece. I’ve read it all. There is little doubt in my head that the bar is literally on the ground, collecting rust and sheltering termites. The message is everywhere.  It’s on the internet, it’s all over social media, it’s in the barber shops, the public transport services and the list goes on. We are tired, man. I am sure there are several ways I could spice that up to sound revolutionary, but the core of the battle cry is that right there. We are tired, man.

The relationship between the Kenyan people and most of their leaders has always struck me as strange. It’s reminiscent of village romance. I mean, there is…let’s call him Keco. Keco owns a bike, and loves to ride it towards the river everyday at around 4pm. Everyday at 4pm, Nashipae will go to the river to fetch water and Keco will always act so surprised that they seem to randomly, yes randomly, run into each other. He would then lean forward on his bike, one foot in the ground and tell poor Nash more lies. The worst part is that Keco has told these lies so much, even he believes some of them. Or worse, knows no different than the reality he’s created in his own mind, a consequence of an oddball existence.

The Kenyan people are like a naive village girl in love. At least they seem to fit in that category more than any other. It’s tiring to log onto Twitter for me these days. It’s full of Kenyans calling for change, crying foul, and everybody seems to be mad at the state of affairs in the country. What’s amazing is, people put that government there! It’s the classic tale of the child who cried for a razor blade. Well, we got handed one. No wonder the country is bleeding.

It is difficult to write when angry. Anger is not the easiest emotion to convey clearly or in an interesting manner. If anybody thinks that change will come from talking a big game, then I have some news for them. Until we learn to view positions of leadership as jobs, as offices with requirements, Kenya will not change. An MP job in Kenya is a luxury. It’s a title, a symbol of prestige. That goes for the whole chain, right up to the throne.

It’s funny how, you would not gamble with the quality you would want with a surgeon who would be picking your brain, but you would not care about half as much for the person who will be making economical decisions that will affect you. The person who decides what path society takes. The person who is in charge of so many people. Isn’t that person supposed to be smarter than the surgeon?

The thing is, we have to stop making politics a terrible satirical attempt at theatrics and begin treating these politicians as interviewees. The campaign period is a job interview. So less rallies, more Town Halls. A town hall meeting is where the aspiring leader meets the residents of specific towns, one at a time, and speaks without dramatic flair, his plan for the land, not what other coalition is doing, or the same empty rhetoric that’s grown too old. In principle, the politician should be answering more questions than telling stories. You have to question what his plan is. What is the MCA’s plan? Fun fact: Most of my friends do not know even one bill that their county assembly has passed ever. Yet, in a remarkable twist that reflects perhaps the level of ignorance that has taken root among this generation, these same individuals will post. ” Stay Woke.”.

A friend of mine observed the other day that university students are supposed to be the generation that leads us into the future. It would be expected then that university elections would be better executed, that the younger leaders would be more pragmatic than the leaders of yesterday. That the empty rhetoric would not be as heavy. Well, in as far as the relationship between the elder and the younger crop of leaders is concerned, the apple did not fall far from the tree. The younger leaders are worse. They have no spine of their own, and theirs is a terrible choir of badly matched voices all eager to please the choirmaster. We have to learn to examine what plans people have, we need to look at the credentials of the aspiring candidates! There has been a lot of chatter about how Hassan Joho is a good leader despite his academic performance. I agree. I’d also like to add that Joho did not come by the skillset he has by accident and that credentials do not mean academic excellence. We still wanna see your level of competence! Whether it’s a legitimate Harvard diploma or 25 years managing a poultry farm. Under no circumstances, though, is it ever going to be okay to let anybody be in charge of governmental power because of genetic politics. That accountability must be demanded of first, the area MCA. This lot is perhaps the embodiment of elections in Kenya being an event. The MPs have the excuse that they are making laws away in Nairobi. What excuse do the MCA’s have?

I don’t have any strength left to write about police brutality and the way corruption is the reason why so many kids have gone to school, and how that still does not make it okay to have the system be so crooked.

It all comes down to this in the end. The only real change that you can cause is with you. The only guaranteed way to help this situation is by making it cool to elect a smart leader. I come from a Christian home and one of my mother’s favorite things to say is something about the Lord giving her the ability to know what things are good for her, the strength to accept those things she can’t change and the wisdom to know the difference. Well, I pray the Lord gives you the strength to know that a good leader could shape society just as well as a bad leader could destroy it. Once you have that knowledge, I pray that you do not post in on Twitter, or repeat it in any political discussion anywhere, from salons to boardrooms. I pray that you spread it, and actually do something about it. That’s not an invitation to loot in the streets, rather, it is a challenge. Not a tik tok challenge. Not anything Drake sang either. Although it would be pretty cool if he did and if you made a tik tok challenge out of this.

This is a challenge to do something differently for once. Since independence, we have suffered from the ‘Big man’ syndrome. Somehow, we always know who’s gonna run way ahead of time and spend almost 2 years watching them place their pieces on the board. It becomes a foregone conclusion who’s gonna get the job. It’s always amazing to me how a voter walks up to you and says “Oh, man. Person X has won this one, and you’re nuts if you think he’s going to lose” Is that really how bad it is? That’s the new normal? I mean, I would start on how we spend more than most nations just to elect these leaders we have now, but I don’t wanna start a statistical analysis. Not that I need the numbers to show anyone anything. The writing is on the wall.

Anyway, this conversation will probably never end. So I might as well finish here. Young people will continue to believe in the wrong leaders. I will continue to believe in progress.  Maybe it’s a general young person thing to believe in the unseen.