Two of the four countries I have lived in have been democracies. Although I don’t remember the election atmosphere of Uganda, the Kenyan one is a part of me. If I listen carefully, the echoes of those running to be members of parliament fill my ears in the same way they filled the air of Nairobi’s busiest streets. Posters are plastered to concrete walls, usually displaying a picture of a grown man in an expensive looking suit grinning creepily at passersby.
Rallies are more prominent as election day approaches, rallies in English, rallies in Kiswahili, rallies in 2nd Parklands, rallies at Uhuru Park.
Each candidate aching to be called President, aching to reside at the State House.
Before election day, however, is the presidential debate. And finally, election day arrives. Kenyans gather at voting stations, and excitedly, hopeful for change place the name of their preferred candidate into a ballot, after which they get a purple mark on their finger that signifies ‘voted’, and make their way back home, eagerly awaiting the results.
The election results lead to two bursts – bursts of celebration and bursts of violence. But like almost everything, they both cease. What remains is the elected body and the constant wait for improvements and promises to be met, sadly, seldom does the waiting come to an end.
This blog post is not aimed at the President of Kenya in particular (ok, maybe it is), but just presidency in general. The things that are wrong with it, and an ideal solution that most likely will never be put into action. But I live in the hope that it will.
So, presidency. We elect our President or the parliament based on what their parties put forward. Some may have put forward better healthcare, basic rights to education, enlarging the job market, etc etc. The lists are endless. And so, we elect our President based on what we feel the country needs for better living standards. Kenya’s situation has worsened, in terms of expenses and in terms of violence. The crime rates are soaring, and the risk of another terrorist attack has been lingering the pollution filled airs of Nairobi after the Westgate Attack. Just the other day, two bomb blasts went off in Mombasa, and then the next day in Nairobi. And also, the situation in Nigeria is equally terrifying, bomb blasts went off a few days back, and before that, more than 200 girls were abducted in broad daylight from their school.
You may wonder what presidency has to do with this, but I will tell you. The job of a president is quite clearly to ensure a better living standard, safety of its citizens, and all in all, a greater nation to live in. But Kenya seems to have failed. How come, after Westgate do we hear about more and more terrorist attacks? What is the president doing? Last I heard, he is hardly ever in Kenya, why then did he run for presidency? And what about Nigeria? The terrorist group has been spreading violence for a long enough while for the president and parliament to take some action, why then haven’t they taken any? What is the president doing? Last I heard he gave a speech talking about how Nigeria was in ‘trying times’, wasn’t Nigeria in trying times when the terrorist group shot down college students in their dormitory. Why have the rates of violence not gone down since then?
I am an amateur at this, but I have an answer. It is because the presidents do not care, if they did, it would be smack-dab in the front of our faces. Presidents are greedy, greedy for power, for money, for recognition. People are dying amidst their greed, but they don’t care. I am not just saying this, I have a back up. The president of Kenya recently signed a bill that legalized polygamy for men. The president of Kenya is a man. The church folks were against this but the president signed it anyway, why then hasn’t he legalized homosexual rights? What about rights for women? How many of you know about Liz that was gang raped and thrown into a gutter. What about the girls that, till today, are victims of genital mutilation. I have one answer, it doesn’t bother him, because changing the law will not personally benefit him. But polygamy, LEGALLY being allowed to marry women WITHOUT permission from his current wife, that, he benefits from. Why hasn’t he done anything about the violence in Kenya? Because he is safe, he has security, he is protected. His citizens, however, let them be blown up, get raped, get stabbed, get robbed, why should it bother him. I just want to make it clear that I am not accusing the president of incompetency, I am just giving my opinion on his selfish attitude that I very much do not care for.
So what must be done. Hm. Many a times I have heard people say that a gay president would be able to understand gay rights, a woman president would be better for understanding women rights, and so forth. That’s a valid point, but before someone is gay or a woman, they are human. The way I see it, we need a president that is human enough to care. Someone that is compassionate and not selfish. Someone that is greedy, (as much as I loathe the word greedy), for love, for freedom and above all, for equality. We need a president that is motivated by the human spirit, not the monetary high. To shorten it, we need humanity in our president.
That is the way I see it, you may think I am a delusional 21 year old because people like that hardly exist or whatever, but I still cling on to hope. Hope for a better tomorrow for my country, for countries like Nigeria, and for the whole world. It is hope that is at the brink of impossibility but I still hope. Moreover, I will speak up against any form of cruelty, I will preach compassion and equality as much as I can because we live in a world that is terribly complacent.
And till the day the world is a little better, such is presidency – bitter, selfish, and filled with complacency.