Third Eye

Why Kenya is a case study of post-truth society

Thursday, June 16th, 2022 11:09 | By
IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati during a previous event. PHOTO/Courtesy
IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati during a previous event. PHOTO/Courtesy

The ongoing saga between some aspirants and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on the issue of the former’s academic credentials, has once again brought the relevance and effectiveness of Chapter Six of the Constitution of Kenya to the fore.

Chapter Six comprises the law established to set the bar and implement the requirements of Leadership and Integrity. The aim is to ensure that State and Public officers respect the values, principles and requirements of the Constitution.

While this critical gatekeeping statute is not supposed to create angels, it sets a high moral and ethical threshold for those who seek public office. The objective is to weed out miscreants and other wolves in sheep skins before they get into public office.

In a situation where the truth is worth its salt, the ongoing IEBC dramas would be needless and non-existent. First of all, applicants who clearly know that they do not meet the threshold of integrity would not dare get out of their holes in the first place for fear of exposing themselves and jumping from the frying pan into the fire in a legal sense.

But honesty is an expensive gift. Do not expect it from cheap people, which is what many of us have become. Indeed, we are living in a post-truth age where “objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”.

Kenyans have perfected the art of lying with a straight face that we are living in a make-believe world. How does someone swear by his or her Holy Book that he has something that he or she clearly does not have?  We can no longer differentiate reality from the truth, which explains the increasing social dysfunctionalities that have escalated mental health illnesses.

The Church, which should have been the last vestige in guarding the truth, has also become a purveyor of lies. This needs no belaboring going by the increasing cases of fraud facing the clergy and other instances of crime reported in the media.

The crisis of credibility involving various aspirants is a true testament of the depth of rot in this country. If these candidates really have no requisite university papers, the current regime, including the sanctimonious IEBC, stand accused of a gross illegality. How were some of these people cleared for elective office in the last elections? What has changed? Of course, we know it has to do with their current political affiliations vis-à-vis 2017.

We are now a use and dump society. Lies have become part of, by all means possible in achieving our ends. All parties are liars in social, economic and political interactions. Anyone who talks the truth today is an exception.

How do we reconcile the fact that we take ourselves to the guillotine through fake promises?

We resigned to being taken down the garden path and then cry about bad leadership in subsequent years. The warning that choices have consequences has come to pass.  We still have an opportunity to redeem this country from the shackles of deception and intrigue.

They are actually the two main options on the August 9 General Election. How we vote will be either an indictment of a country gone to the dogs, or one where there is hope for progeny.

As the General Election comes closer, let us not have any excuses by those invited for media debates. If you have nothing to hide, you will not shy away or fear the tough questions that call you to account for your life in public or State office. Only the truth will set us free.

This country needs truth ambassadors. People of all walks of life with the fortitude to fight for what is right and wrong without fear or favour.

— The writer comments on topical issues

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