#Corruption vs #campaigns in #Kenya: where’s the thin line?

In my humble opinion, Kenyan voters are the most corrupt people this side of the Sahara. In fact most Kenyans love electioneering season and consider it “the time to eat” from politicians and those who are aspiring to be politicians.

This is one of the main reasons why we usually vote only for rich people. Tell anyone to vote for you and the reply is “nunua chai”(buy for us a cup of tea). Woe unto you if your only “currency” is issues and policies: people will just listen to you and tell you to get elected by “those policies of yours”. In some cases I’ve heard voters shouting that they need “standing allowances” before they can listen to political speeches at political rallies.  

The assumption in most parts of Kenya is that one can’t contest a political seat “hungry”, ie without having more money than just for basic needs. In any case, the voters argue, it’s a job you are looking for, and like all or almost all jobs in Kenya,one has to grease some palms in order to acquire it-Never mind the fact that once elected the same guys will never leave your office as “you were elected to serve them”.

In essence most of these politicians actually “buy” their elective seats.

This is especially effective during party primaries and especially in big parties in regions where a party’s ticket is almost a guaranteed elective seat. It’s made even worse by the fact that very few of the registered  voters actually take part in these party  nominations,so it’s easy to give money to enough of them to win.   

No one government body or organization can police against this kind of corruption. How does one differentiate between money paid as wages for campaigns and that paid to voters in order for them to vote for a candidate? One paid voter might influence one or ten people to vote for the candidate. In such a case, the money takes on the aspect of wages paid for campaigning. At the same meeting,another voter will take the money from the same politician, fail to campaign or even vote for him/her. The million shilling is: where does one draw the line between money given and received as a bribe, and money given and received as wages for work done(  campaigning)?

Only the voter can differentiate the two.

And the same voters whine lyrical about the government and politicians being corrupt…

In the USA elections of 2008, American voters actually funded Obama’s campaign. They also volunteered during campaigns; they didn’t wait for him and his party to come giving them money. I reckon this is because they believed in him as a person and the principles and policies he espoused.

Until Kenyans stop receiving money from politicians,I propose that once “elected”, the politician should NOT pay tax, should stay as far away as possible from the electorate,and corruptly amass as much wealth as possible…                          


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