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We must plan to change how we do politics

By Levi Obonyo
Friday, October 9th, 2020
Deputy President William Ruto. Photo/COURTESY
In summary

We are already in the throes of our ritual five year horror show called elections, and this round with a stretched longer run time.

We never recovered from the campaigns for State House since they ended in 2017.

This week, the first pair of sacrifice of blood was offered in Murang’a.

The battle of muscle flexing rages on. The Deputy President is on one side egging his opponents, whoever they may be, to come on. But everybody in the opposite corner is shy.

Raila Odinga, the presumed opponent of the Deputy President, has not come out to say he is the opponent.

Instead, the former Prime Minister is throwing punches, small ones they seem, at the DP.

In the same shadow as Raila is the president, but the Deputy President seems shy to land punches on his boss.

The president may not be throwing punches, instead he is nonchalantly launching rehabilitated vehicles, calling for prayers and going on as if he did not know that sacrifices are already being made. But the impact of the powers of his shadow are obvious.

On the side lines are candidates shouting hoarse for attention. But neither the DP nor anybody else is interested.

The governor for Machakos is screaming for all to hear, he has even started listening tours.

But those punching furiously have refused to listen to or even punch him.

Among those drawing attention include the learned man of letters now governing the county of Makueni, but nobody is listening to him either.

It will be two long years to stay in this state. It has been said before but it is worth repeating.

Election campaigns do not provide a nation with an opportunity to focus on its challenges, instead it provides opportunity to debate the potential solutions to its challenges and to weigh whether the options on the table are worth consideration.

The elections are a month away in the US. And yes, the public there has turned their attention to the stark choices they have.

But they will only do this for a month, chose and then move on.

In our case, the one side that points to the shortcomings of the administration should be at the table providing solutions to those challenges, not hiding them under the lampshade, and now saying that he is capable of sorting them out.

It would have been helpful if the official opponent was known. Then we would ask where that opponent has been and what they have done to help address those challenges. 

The president and his deputy unveiled a four-point agenda to move the nation forward.

There has been as of yet no audit to establish how much has been achieved. Some houses have been built, some industries have been set up, the health programme has been going on and there have been some programmes designed to meet food sufficiency.

Corruption gnaws at us from the pages of each news circle, unemployment is visible from every street corner, costs of accessing health services are prohibitive, we still have mass failure of our students during exams and we could go on.

Even to attempt to address some of these we have to step back harness our collective will and bring them to bear on the challenges staring at us.

It is not all hopeless. The man in uniform now effectively running Nairobi is bringing some shine to the city. 

A refurbished Nyayo National Stadium has been unveiled even if the stadia we were promised three years ago are nowhere, the devolved units are stirring on even if with challenges.

These are the stocks that we need to take, sit back as a country, set out priorities and see how we can tackle them.

Instead we are mourning lives snapped out in their youths. This nation must reflect and step back from the intense heat of politics.

It is our undoing. — The writer is dean , School of Communication, Daystar University

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