Last General elections I was very excited. With a fresh new ID and voters registration card I would finally get to exercise my right. My right to pick a leader. I did not care that my picks won. Yes, it would be nice if they won but the very thought that i was old enough to contribute to this event was enough for me to get my still teenage bum out of the house, walk a relatively long stretch under the scorching sun to go put some ticks next to peoples’ face. Even the prospect of the having to stand under the scorching sun did not faze me. My mind was made up. I was voting.
I have had middle class upbringing. This means I got the chance to have a good education and generally good upbringing. Not luxurious not littered with excesses. Just simple but nice and enough. This is the category that most people fall into in our country. Salaried individuals or individuals in business with enough to provide basic needs to the best of their abilities.
This is not all the country has though. There are throngs among us who have very little. Casual and unskilled labourers who rely on daily wages. Most don’t even make the minimum daily wage standards. With families, mouths to feed and clothe, children to educate, health care to think about.
Then we have the super wealthy. Or rich. Semantics. One would say that wealth is subjective and that even the wealthy have their own financial struggles but this is after they have sufficiently covered the basic essentials and there’s enough left over to worry about investments and how to multiply their money.
The leaders we are going to elect are supposed to have all these people in their best interests. So far, I see the first two groups being the ones missing out in this party. Middle class Kenyans, average Kenyans suffer the most when the wage bill is so high that the tax man has to keep slicing the citizens. Our leaders on the other hand are content to eat and drink in this sweat having some of the most outrageous salaries in the world. I am yet to hear an honest aspirant who instead of beating around the bush with some manifesto just comes out and says..’ Hey, vote me in because by God you’ve seen me struggle and this is my one chance to get rich fast.’ That’s what political offices are in the country. Just a get rich avenue.
Of course one would say that these are my opinions and that they do deserve these monies but it is also my opinion that no nation should have striking doctors and education stakeholders with people who have the power to turn around the situation earning that much money. I don’t understand why the same leaders who almost line their tongues with promises of better development, better health , services can not see the correlation with the active nationwide doctors’ strike. I am sure these doctors did not just wake up and decide to down tools it was just an action after lack of reactions from the responsible stakeholders. This is the face of a dying nation. What the leaders don’t realize is that you can’t have convince sick people to vote you in with promises of better health care. Heck, if they are not careful the population will have heavily declined come August due to lack of medical care. Now, unless you are content having ghosts vote you in then proceeding to lead a nation of ghosts then there is better use for you. In getting doctors back to work.
I might not be voting this year because now, less disillusioned by the feeling of having just acquired official adulthood status, I know to expect more from my leaders. Having come from the much anticipated USA elections and seeing what true democracy and choice is, I know I don’t have to get up and vote just because I can. So far, I get no motivation and no faith in our current crop of leaders to make that stretch in the name of exercising my rights. What this spells for this country if every other citizen harbours the same thoughts. I do not know. I know it’s absolutely impossible to please everyone but it is very possible to make an impact. Given the right mindset and resolve. My leaders are not giving me this. Instead of criticizing each other all time they should tell me what they intend to do for me. How do I benefit as a citizen? Does my life improve or does it get worse. At the moment I am praying that my health remains as it is because I can not afford to fly off to timbuktu to seek treatment .My faith in the entire system is as strong as straw.And that is not a good feeling for a patriotic citizen.
As a middle class Kenyan I know what a failed system spells for a country. When I need to pay an extra 20 shillings to get to a destination because the policeman has to have something to take home I’m at a loss. When I have to further endure the same journey packed like a sack of potatoes because the extra money does not cut it to satiate those pockets I begin to think the nation has gone to the dogs.
Now, I would like to vote. I would like to feel as if I contributed to choosing my leader. But who do I pick. A country’s affairs should not be made to feel as if a rock and a hard place situation . If I pick I won’t be picking because I feel a particular conviction or that a particular leader’s ideals appeal to my individual needs. I’ll pick because its the lesser evil. Now, if leaders put themselves in their citizens’ shoes then all this will cease to be rocket science and maybe, just maybe they will begin to take notice of the realities facing us and be in a position to articulate them. If this happens then we have leaders to elect. Right now what I see is a country full of vain political ambition and little respect for human life.