By Wario Fayo
Kenya is full of staunch patriotic citizens who can boldly stand to defend the good image of its boundaries. They embrace solidarity and unity regardless of their political leaders attempting to divide them along tribal lines for political interests. Amid Kenya’s security failures, they remain brave like the lions on the court of arms supporting the faulty authority. Kenyan athletes are known for their prowess in athletics hence showcasing Kenya’s good name. In fact, one might not really know any stitch of Kenya’s bad image due to the overwhelming good image portrayed by its citizens.
However, in the global eye, Kenya is a very corrupt and insecure nation. Corruption is a normalcy while dropping of cases involving corruption scandals without the consent of the public, has become a Kenyan culture. The outside world knows a great deal of facts about corruption in Kenya. It is only in Kenya where you can do anything, anywhere, anyhow and go unpunished, as long as you have money.
The queries about the wheelbarrow bought by the Bungoma county government at sh. 109,320 did not even end before Meru county government also bought curtains worth sh. 7.8M. Later, the ministry of Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary, Anne Waiguru was in the eye of Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) after the National Youth Service lost sh. 791M in fraudulent payments. The ministry had a lot of hitches including buying of twenty ball pens each at sh. 8,700. The clicks about Ugandan sugar is still evident among the public. Where imported sugar is offloaded in Mombasa port, it is cleared and given armed escort to Uganda where it then finds its way back to Kenya. All these absurd corruption scandals went unsolved before the Eurobond saga erupted.
In spite of all these, the leaders use Kenyan media to cover their corruption scandals. Some governors were asked to step aside to pave way for investigations but this was just to fool the inquisitive public. The forgetful nature of the audience has made the media the most appropriate tool to portray the disguised good name of the politicians. They use media to play with the minds of the gullible citizens. Currently, the Eurobond saga is engraved under the current state of insecurity, since the KDF base attack in El-ade, Somalia.
Kenya has been journeying on the bumpy road of insecurity since independence. The bombing of the US embassy in 1998, the Mpeketoni massacre, the Westgate mall terror attack in Lamu County and the Garissa University attack where students were murdered and slaughtered in cold blood. These series of atrocious terror attacks perpetrated in Kenyan soil has really tarnished its good reputation. The international media termed Kenya as the “hotbed of terror” during President Obama’s homecoming visit. This negative information has been detrimental to the tourism industry as the number of visitors reduced by 25 per cent in every five months hence affecting the economy.
In the wake of militia attacks, Kenyans are always in fear of the next terror attack. Nonetheless, the blame finger is still pointed towards the authorities. Kenyan political leaders are known for politicizing everything including security. They are criticized for downplaying the national intelligence warnings before the attacks and failure of providing urgent security units to avert terror attacks. For instance, before the Garissa University attack, the intelligence warned the relevant authority about the brazen plot but all fell on deaf ears. After every attack the government uses the media to calm the citizens, giving contradictory and clashing information at the expense of Kenyans who hide, crawl and scamper for safety in their own country.
While manipulation through the media is used as a tactic to deal with urban citizens, ignorance has given room for Kenyans to be fooled in rural areas. This, especially, affects the Northern frontier areas like Marsabit County. Their ignorance may emanate from lack of basic education. A large percentage of the citizens do not know even their rights and freedom as stipulated in the constitution. Instead of gaining the first-hand information about the county developments, most of them depend on rumors. Very few make use of the public galleries in county assemblies to follow up the progress of the county. The hypocritical leaders take advantage of their ignorance and use concocted terminologies during elections which may incite and fuel the poor citizens to conflict. The more the rift among tribal boundaries increase, the more the political leaders achieve their gains. Where is the future of our nation? With all the vivacious loyalty and patriotism of Kenyan citizens, will we become a pack of lions led by a sheep?
By Wario Fayo