“There are times in life when, instead of complaining, you do something about your complaints.” – Rita Dove
Whenever you look at the social media and read then tweets and Facebook updates from Kenyans, you see a bunch of whiners who portray ingenious ignorance and sheer sense of helplessness. At times, you are tempted not to blame them due to the ignorance displayed but then again you look at their grasp of other issues and wonder why they can’t understand their own country and its structures.
You can pick a number of examples from not just the ordinary folks but also the country’s leadership by just reading their tweets and updates.
As one of my friends says, today, Kenya does not have a leadership problem. What we are witnessing is a ‘followship’ problem where the citizenry despite being empowered by the Constitution that puts in place strong institution still expects to blame and complain about its leadership all the time.
In the last couple of week’s some Kenyans and even some leaders like former PM Raila have complained that IEBC has taken too long to release the figures for other levels of election other than the Presidency. It is not like this will change anything such as the issue of the new taxes that we are about to face but it is, well, a genuine concern for those who live on and out of politics.
The display of ignorance, which many Kenyans can be forgiven for because they always appear not to know their laws, is that those complaining about those figures can move to court and in hours get an order under Article 35 of the Constitution compelling the IEBC to do it. It is evident that the country has a very pro-active and empowered Judiciary now.
Another good example is matters related to “public participation” as guaranteed by the Constitution in Article 10. Reading through the social media whenever there is vetting or a major issue is before Parliament, one will see all manner of complaints on nominees or individuals.
But a quick and simple survey will reveal that while it is every individual citizen’s privilege and right to raise these complaints before decisions are made, many do not bother to do so and instead are comfortable complaining. This was clearly evident during the vetting of Cabinet Secretaries. There were all manner of complaints and accusations against some candidates online and even in social gatherings such as bars, where Kenyans become loudest.
The most recent example is the Budget making process. You will be amazed with the complaints that have flooded the social media today. Yet when the National Assembly Budget and Appropriation Committee was holding sittings around the country, most of those tweeting or ranting on Facebook were probably busy discussing Huddah, Tujuane or something of the sort (not that it is wrong to discuss them).
Now look at the Senators, when their Supremacy battle with the National Assembly (writing about that shortly) kicked off, weeks ago, they had the opportunity to seek a legal advisory from the Supreme as they have now rushed to get. They lost the opportunity to offer leadership and instead went around whining and complaining just like those they lead.
But my best example remains the ‘#OccupyParliament’ demos that for me were a fail (here is where I wear my helmet). In the first instance, people went out to demonstrate (which is their Constitution right under Article 37), some arrested after being a “nuisance” and then went home probably tired or in pain from teargas and police batons. A week later, the Law Society of Kenya walked into the High Court and got an order that effectively blocked the MPs from what the demonstrators were complaining about.
It is not just about acting but acting right and effectively.
The second instance was the most interesting for most observers. This one was a bit peaceful but the roads around Parliament were left in filth and there were a few cases of vandalism. But the interesting part was that while the demonstrators were planning their demo, the salaries Commission had met the Parliamentary Service Commission and struck a deal that MPs and SRC (not the demonstrators) are comfortable with.
Stop complaining and act right.
“People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.” – Stephen Hawking