Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Incredibly arrogant and wilfully ignorant

Bully anyone you know that voted for Jubilee. Remind them relentlessly that they're the reason we're here. Washenzi.

I come across this sort of statement a lot on twitter. It is the twitter version of a superiority complex: I voted for the right people; you voted for the wrong people; we are in deep shit because of your voting choices; therefore, you are an idiot. It is similar in tone to the "Kenya is a beautiful country but the people!" statement beloved of people enamoured by European towns that have done an excellent job of hiding their poor in underpasses and whatnot.

I have the privilege of seeing things from my office that many others don't. For instance, not many will accept the fact that the majority of the voters have no control over what their elected representatives will do once they are elected, whether they are of the honourable kind or not. Indeed, many so-called "good" parliamentarians have proven to have feet of clay and rocks for brains. Look no further than the inanities spewed by youthful parliamentarians like the senator who suggested that one way of dealing with Nairobi's potholed roads was to buy SUVs or the member of the National Assembly who, in response to the tragic death of his colleague due to an acute shortage of essential medical supplies, was to demand a standby helicopter. How about the senator who is engaging in an ill-advised war of words with the governor of his county over the governor's anti-BBI litigation. I have a particular animus against that senator and wish him nothing but bitter disappointment in all his endeavours.

What remains unseen is how these elected representatives give short shrift to the people's business and concentrate their enormous political and economic power to perpetuate their own interests. It no longer shocks me how many parliamentarians drew from the NYS cesspit - while pretending to call for "comprehensive investigations" and "prosecution to the fullest extent of the law" of the perpetrators of the ongoing NYS scams.

One reason that the people are engineered into voting for these hyenas in sheep's clothing is the manner information is filtered to them. No one receives the unvarnished truth. Not from the Fourth Estate. Not from community leaders. Not from leaders of academia. Not from ministers of faith. Not even from trusted family members and friends. In the Information Age, accurate and credible information is notable by its absence. Instead, the masses are fed relentless propaganda so much so that "The sky is red" sounds true and your lying eyes are lying to you all of the time.

My fellow Kenyans who queued for hours on end to vote - not once, not twice but three times - for this lot didn't do it because they are washenzi. They did it because they live in the real world where the information they need to make better choices is obscured and obfuscated with professionalism. The modern tools of propaganda are very effective. It is how many of us have forgotten the reason why our man at UNCTAD lost his deposit in 2007. It is how we have swept under the carpet the manner in which the Whistleblower-in-Chief got his job and why those that appointed him saw it as a great betrayal when he quit and fled the country. Our voting choices are shaped by the information we receive. Therefore, to dismiss 6 million odd Kenyans as washenzi is incredibly arrogant and wilfully ignorant.

I know why my preferred candidates didn't win. It has nothing to do with the ushenzi of those who voted for their rivals. It has everything to do with the way we learnt about our preferred candidates and how the Sorting Hat of the Kenyan news media excluded, if not erased, certain stories and promoted others. If we are to point our rage at the cause of our electoral woes, the news media would be at the top of the list - followed by ministers of faith and the denizens of the academic ivory towers that no longer say anything thought-provoking but choose to suppress free thought at the altar of the "free" market.

As by law established

The members of my profession, the ones with a pompous sense of importance, tend to use phrases whose value has diminished greatly since the ...