July 09, 2020

These Kenyan leaders are abusing office… yet we cheer them on

Senator Mike Sonko's bodyguards

There are some characteristics you would except of a socialite, pop star and occasionally a politician however ‘out of character expected’ that maybe. It is when these characteristics turn to an abuse of the position one is appointed/elected to, and the people one is serve that we must distinguish outright and scrupulous misuse of power, and someone just trying to get attention or suffering from a midlife crisis. On the contrary, we seem to be cheering them as after all, they are fighting for our rights or so they tell us.

Consider the case of the legislator Moses Kuria who is now the undisputed hate peddler around. Despite court cases and is his pretty recent apology and subsequent pardon, he just can’t stop inciting and hate laced statements. It would do a change to hear him speak and post something along development projects. His grasp of national politics is poor at the very least if not non-existent given his discriminating take and solutions on almost everything from terrorism to opposition politics and corruption. Just when did serving constituents include abuse to other leaders and citizens and the total disregard of their rights to have a different opinion?

Then there is Mike Sonko, Nairobi’s Senator. Sure he has his own unique way of service delivery and there is no denying that there are quite a number who have benefited. That is not the bone of contention here. The issue is his apparent sense of insecurity which has seen him fit his motorcade with sirens employ a number of thuggish bodyguards brandishing shotguns to complete the look. Mike Sonko’s acts of disrepute capture the whole act of abuse of office it’s no use listing any. Senator Muthama, MP Milly Odhiambo,  Nairobi Women Representative Rachel Shebesh, Leader of Majority Aden Duale are others whose acts of misdemeanors grow by the day and are increasingly become a hallmark of the local political landscape.

Scenes of parliament after a fight inside parliament over the security bill
Scenes of parliament after a fight inside parliament over the security bill

It worrying and saddening that when under the guise of ‘politicking’ these leaders are allowed to trade vitriol, spread hate, and bring to shame to the institution that is Parliament they get away scott free with approval from party bosses. Every institution has mechanisms to punish its members who brings its image and values to question through actions and words and Parliament is no exception. On the floor of the parliament, there is language that is not acceptable and members have to retract their statements. Ministers used to be censored and at one time the then Kipipiri Mp Amos Kimunya was censored for bringing controversy to the office of the speaker at a public rally. Such action will a step in the right direction in helping get the focus of current politicians back on track and saving their positions and institution from public ridicule.

It is easy to understand an overblown sense of personal importance and mid-life crisis, but that should not come at the expense of the service to people and behavior and character behooving holders of such public offices. Try hard as you may and you will be hard pressed to find any significant quote from our leader or conceptualize what their ideological view is aside from the usual ‘them vs us’ rhetoric. Credible institutions and public offices cannot continue being subjected to this abuse, action must be taken and a good part of the blame rests with us to. After all leaders are a reflection of the values espoused by the electorate.



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