A past political rally at Garissa Primary playground [File]
Whiffing and encouraging contempt has heightened into a general pursuit. Lately, our pregnant political speeches wound profoundly and extensively. It has turned into a double-edged sword of sorts that oftentimes embarrasses the orator as much as it scandalises the target. Thus, there is no secret that tolerating our pretentious violence occasions serious damage, not only to the target of our rhetoric but also our national fabric. In fact, this position violates the letter and spirit of laws and the Constitution.
Chapter Six of the Constitution deals with leadership and integrity of state officers. Article 73 provides that authority assigned to a state officer is a public trust to be exercised in a manner that is consistent with the purposes and objects of the Constitution; demonstrates respect for the people; brings honour to the nation and dignity to the office; and promotes public confidence in the integrity of the office.
Illustratively the guiding principles of leadership and integrity include competence and suitability. Ensuring that decisions are not influenced by nepotism, favouritism, other improper motives or corrupt practices is the crux of the matter. Public interest, demonstrated by accountability to the public for decisions and actions coloured by discipline and commitment in service to the people should be the motive of politics and governance. This is the standpoint from whence foul language and utterances must be mirrored.
There’s inherent dignity in every individual and it’s the duty of the state to have that dignity respected and protected. No person should be subjected to any form of violence from either public or private sources whether physical or psychological. As a result, any cruel, inhuman or degrading language is abhorrent to the democratic way of life that We the People of Kenya, painstakingly chose as our cradle.
Catastrophically, political leaders and the privileged class through our nation gamely go for cut-rate language and discourse when appealing and selling their agenda to the voters. Cut-rate discourse is only likely when we cesspit our opponents of their worth. We declare our faith in preserving each person’s value and self-respect until we discover that they are disagreeable or disgusting. In which case, we guise ourselves under the shelter of any political umbrella around which to caucus and secure our incantation.
Abuses, insults and other invectives have become a celebrated political norm in Kenya. If loose comments including ‘you are not my size’, ‘madoa doa’, ‘I’m old enough to be your father’ or ‘if we could rig election results before, we can in the upcoming elections as well’ were not in bad taste, the entertained and ostensibly receptive gathering was even more disquieting.
There is need to cut across any political persuasion to always keep in mind the fact that falling prey to tropes of humiliating our political challengers is not the same as disagreeing with them.
It’s important to remember that no one can completely domesticate the tongue. It’s an agitated organ, bursting with lethal toxins. With it we bless and with it we curse. The little tongue is mighty in its compelling annihilation. Our corrupted patois exposes our polluting nature.
Plentiful of our political speech, from the right, left and centre, leaks the culpability in our hearts spread by the spewing malice on our tongues. In struggling to openly label the wrongs in our opponents, we effortlessly uncover our guilt.
Restructuring power is the central theme and postulation of a democratic way of life; thus, let’s engage in public matters and discourses that better the quality of the lives of Kenyans. Let’s recommit ourselves to walking in truth, of stewarding the power of our tongue in a manner that fertilises love towards our neighbours.
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