Did anyone manage to watch the Kisumu Gubernatorial debates a few nights back?
I eavesdropped from the kitchen for a while before deciding they weren’t worth me relocating to the living room. But I listened.
It was basically a bunch of candidates who don’t know how to answer questions making outlandish statements. At some point, one guy, whose agenda was that Kisumu county can produce its own food and be self-sustaining, was asked a question about education and why so few children complete school, perform well and something about the quality of education they get anyway.
He replied that the problem was that children were hungry and as a result they couldn’t do well. Seriously, he said that. Not overcrowded classes, underfunded schools, underpaid teachers, obsolete teaching methods but food. This is akin to answering the question “Why is smoking dangerous?” with “Cocaine kills.”
This made me wonder about what we were to expect from the upcoming Presidential debates.
My mother watched those debates and while she had criticisms, she let out a huge sigh of relief and said “This is a step forward.” before stepping away.
And the Presidential Debate is an even greater step forward.
It has much more potential than the he said she said campaigns of yesteryears. Now we get to see if these guys will really poke each other in the eyes when the distance is reduced to a few meters. I’d like to say that we’ll finally get to hear their policies and plans, more about their parties and manifestos, but something tells me we will mainly hear lies.
And that’s IF we pay attention.
A few weeks back, the Presidential debates were announced and the Kenyan interwebs began their own debat on who should moderate the debates. Frustrated, I joked that we should have debates to see who should moderate the debates but would probably end up debating who should moderate that debate. The point I was making was that it didn’t matter who would moderate or what was being debated if we were still bickering among ourselves instead of discussing issues. The problem, oddly enough, seemed to be us.
How does one choose a Saint from the pulpits of Hell based solely on what comes out of mouths so accustomed to lies and hypocrisy, while we’re still debating the moderator, the only person that we shall not be casting a vote for?
I’m not sure if it’s a dream or a nightmare to have our next President on a stage with a dozen men and women of his/her ilk, broadcasted by media houses they’ve bought and paid for in one capacity or another. It sounds like a nightmare.
But, while pondering this, I had a dream, much like that guy that got shot on that balcony that day.
My dream is that our future leaders, young men and women who actually relate to Kenyan issues, will watch these debates and realize that they can. They can be leaders, our ministers, senators, governors, presidents. They can change the country. They can turn the government and the media on their heads and give Kenya back to Kenyans.
I pray that he/she watches the debates and begins making small steps toward this realization.
I also have a dream that we never forget.
Never forget the promises made, the lies told, the truths denied. I pray we never forget the hopes they’ll instill in us and the pain when they inevitably crush them.
It’s not in bad faith that I wish you pain, dear Kenyans, but I really don’t understand why we have genocidal maniacs on the polls to begin with. How do we expect change when we keep putting in the same clowns that did us in last time?
I dream that pain haunts us into remaining vigilant long after we cast that vote. I dream all this so that in future we can have higher standards and hold them to it.
I dream that small steps will grow into large strides by each and every one of the 40 million Kenyans currently standing still and sinking where they stand.
But for right now, I guess I’ll just settle for watching our current leaders compete to see who can make grander false promises.
Small steps and such.
Debates will be aired on November 26 apparently.