Kenyans move on so fast from politicians' messes


The rate at which things unfold in this country is dizzying. Scandals break, grip national attention for a few days before something else comes up and we all move on swiftly. No wonder no one cares about being caught misbehaving anymore – it will soon be forgotten anyway!

On a good day, we will be in the throes of discussion, pontificating passionately about changes in fuel prices and other basic commodities or some celebrity drama. Then the court will pronounce itself on some law that raised the cost of living and we will swiftly move on to this hotter issue.

Somewhere along the way, we will be focused on edible oil cargo, a brawling MP, national examinations, a dispute over some oil shipment, our constantly travelling leaders, among other issues.

Not to add the many other things that will be happening further afield like the conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine. With such an endless stream of infuriating scandals and titillating news, many issues barely stay on the national agenda for a week. It is literally a revolving door of issues.

Fair enough, it is not easy keeping up with all these at the same time. Unfortunately for us, when we move on from an issue, we do so completely and focus on the next one. We forget to look back on any other past matters. As a result, people continue committing terrible things and successfully escape accountability. Even those who are meant to take action against them but do not feel like, for whatever reason, can afford to conveniently look the other way as the issue smoulders.

Or some may take the rocking chair approach and issue summons if only to be seen to be doing something about it before letting it slide when things cool down in a few days.

The default response for many of those individuals who are caught up in these kinds of scandals has always been to, at best, lie low for a while to let it all pass; or at worst, bait alternative national attention including leaking nudes to distract attention.

The limited attention span is part of the reason that issues around the cost of living slipped from the national dialogue agenda. We were too distracted to notice that what mattered to the majority of us was no longer on the table. With no one keeping track and fuelling national discourse, it was soon water under the bridge until an attempt to reintroduce it caused a storm and some half-hearted actions were proposed.

The only way that we will be able to move this nation forward is by improving our attention span on things that matter so that those who lead us can begin caring about their track record and legacies.

The touch-and-go mentality has gradually bred a culture of disrespect and nonchalance by those who lead us. Aides, so indifferent to the public mood, will issue retorts and hurl expletives. They know too well that no one will remember.

Things might be tough throughout an administration but once the election approaches, actions will be set in motion to remedy everything. Typical of us voters, nothing will be held against them; and we will be the first to support their re-election.

Elsewhere in the world, leaders pay keen attention to the public’s approval ratings and work towards keeping them healthy. This is where we can get to if we choose not to move on fast, maintain attention and keep everyone accountable.



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