Friday, November 04, 2016

Ego over ambition. Again.

If you live in Kenya, that would be a very mediocre question to ask, especially on twitter where the whole world reads you.@EAukot
I do not have a postgraduate degree in anything except bullshit, but even I know about ad hominem attacks. I believe, in short, that the fallacy means that you dismiss someone's argument by dismissing the person for their personal failures but not for the failures in their logical arguments. In the above caustic response, my interlocutor responds to a simple question: "What illegal acts of govt (sic) was @JBoinnet serving [when he arrested Boniface Mwangi and his colleagues from Freedom Corner]?" The answer is, in effect, that as a Kenyan I should know better and that I should do so because the whole world will read my stupidity from my mediocre question.

This isn't the first time that a putative candidate for elective office has adopted a dismissive tone when engaging with the online rabble. Miguna Miguna, after a brief flirtation with radical honesty, couldn't maintain a civil keyboard when confronted with his pie-in-the-sky dreams. He is a serial Twitter blocker who, before he consigns one to the cold shoulder world of the blocked, calls one names and generally reminds one that Miguna Miguna is smarter and more honest that one.

Ekuru Aukot served the Committee of Experts with distinction, I believe. He is also a constitutional lawyer of note. He has declared an interest in elective office in 2017 and is floating the Third Way Alliance as his political vehicle of choice. Mr Aukot is one among many and despite his many accomplishments, one other colourless novice politician among dozens who have cut their political teeth in many political campaigns. He forgets the first rule of politics: don't leave any vote unturned and you don't do that by being condescending towards the slow-witted, no matter how justified you feel. It is easy to make enemies in politics (permanent or not) but not so easy to make friends or form alliances.

Mr Aukot styles himself as a staunch anti-corruption crusader, yet, other than ensuring that the draft harmonised constitution was passed at a referendum largely intact, he doesn't seem to have done much on the anti-corruption front in Kenya bar a few TV appearances and numerous anti-corruption tweets. Boniface Mwangi has had his head bashed in by policemen whenever he has led demonstrations against MPigs; Mr Aukot only tweets about it. Another anti-corruption campaigner, Okiya Omtata, has sued those whom he accuses of corruption; Mr Aukot has analysed those suits without offering much that is new.

If we elected political leaders on the basis of their academic smarts, Mr Aukot would be a shoo-in. However, things are never that simple in Kenya. Smart is all well and good but if you have not brought home the bacon, of what use are you to us? He styles himself as an anti-corruption crusader but he has no record in the war on corruption. Had he stuck to his excellent qualifications as a constitutional lawyer, he could point to his achievements as the Executive Director of the Committee of Experts. But now that he seems to be throwing bricks at those curious about his putative candidacy — what office he seeks remains murky — it is likely that he is going to be one other brainiac whose political ambitions couldn't overcome his enormous ego.

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