Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Jewels in the rough, they are not.

I dedicate [two hours] a day to interact with my fans.A Senator of Kenya
Members of Parliament are either elected or nominated to serve in the Senate or the National Assembly. The voters who elected them to those offices, or the party nabobs that nominated them, are not fans. Any elected representative who does not understand this simply reinforces the base idea of the elected representative as celebrity.

Celebrity-status is not necessarily a bad thing; it is, after all, acknowledgment of some form of fame for the person and an appreciation of that person's status in society, whether for base or honourable reasons. But where an elected representative forgets that his constituency is not made up of fans but of voters, you know that he or she has gone off the deep end and has eschewed his principal responsibilities to represent his constituents in Parliament, to make laws and to hold the Executive to account.

A casual examination of this particular Senator's parliamentary record paints a woeful picture. It is difficult to measure how much representation a Senator can perform for his constituency, but on the more crucial law-making and oversight functions, a casual examination of the Hansard and the Votes and Procedures of Parliament should give one a clue. He has done little of either. In fact, one would be hard-pressed to find a Bill sponsored by the good Senator or any Senate departmental committees where he has held a cabinet Secretary's feet to the fire. His fame, such as it is, lies outside the marble-laden halls of Parliament Buildings.

We cannot pretend that we did not know what we were getting when we elected him to the Senate. He has had, to put it mildly, a very colourful political career, in which bejewelledness has been a key unique selling point for him and sexual innuendo has dominated a large part of his public discourse. In recent days, he, like a new-ish member of the National Assembly known for bombast and little else, has taken to reducing national leadership to certain penile surgical procedures associated with rites of passage among certain ethnic communities. We got what we wanted, and we have no choice but to live with that choice till the occasion to review that choice is upon us.

Indeed, 2017 couldn't arrive any sooner. Many of the "saviours" we elected in 2013 have turned out to be charlatans or worse. We have come to regret many of the choices we made in 2013, none more than in the leaderships of counties, whether it be Senators or Governors. The President, in his ruinously boring State of the Nation Address, wasn't far off the mark when he painted most county governments in the worst light possible and the enabling laziness of the Senate is partly to blame for the sleaze and graft that pervade most of them. We have a chance to make better choices in August 2017, just as we did in March 2013 and December 2002. Whether we do, only time will tell.

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