It Is Time We All Stand Up And Reclaim Our Constituency. #The Thika We Want.

The old city clock along Kwame Nkurumah Road that is a symbol of Thika's heritage
Every day, I wake up in a town I do not recognise, though I was born and have lived there all my life. Gone are the days that Thika was the icon of hope for so many people especially those who hailed from its outskirts, people who ate and drank from the plentiful plate that was Thika. A town that was the envied by others all over the country.

I remember those yesteryears when everyone was their brother’s keeper. A time where leaders took great care for the people through rational social programmes like health care, welfare and unemployment. When leaders routed for a culture of tolerance for people from diverse backgrounds. Despite their challenges, the residents had unbowed solidarity and willingness to help each other get over their handicaps. Everyone was individually involved and would be glad both to help and to be able to view their town as open, humane, and conscious of its responsibilities.

A town of a hundred millionaires and a million paupers.
A couple of decades down the line, something perversely went wrong and we developed a society that creates billions in new wealth while the majority of its residents suffer in abject poverty. Where the super-rich keep building up their own numbers as our elected leaders do nothing except caring about how they will amass wealth for their campaigns.

Everyone keeps talking about the resurgence of our economy, the booming business and imaginary developments in the region. But instead, all we experience is the rise in unemployment and a market controlled by only about 10% of the residents. Too many once-prosperous residents have been beaten up and broken down, waiting in vain for their elected leaders to ‘take them to the promised land’.

Thika brimming with idiots.
The imbalance between positive and negative incentives amongst the residents has created bad leaders in Thika and Kiambu County in general. If our founding fathers could see us today, they would unfortunately come to the conclusion that Thika is absolutely brimming with idiots, incompetents and incredibly corrupt politicians.

Today it is very rare to come across a politician that still has any integrity left. Our Parliament, Kiambu County Assembly and County Executive have become such cesspools that corrupt even most of the politicians that originally went there with good intentions.

Our politicians openly hand out our money to their friends and to those who donated money for their campaigns. They waste our money on some of the stupidest things imaginable. The more they promise to improve the lives of the residents, the more money they seem to waste public resources. It is as though there is a ‘drought of common sense’ right now.

Incredibly corrupt politicians.
News of corrupt deals and mismanagement of public resources seem to come out almost daily now. Virtually every department is entangled in controversy that it is hard to keep up with it all with these politicians coming up with issues that make life even more difficult for all the rest of us.

It is rather sad that our voters seem to keep rewarding incompetence as long as those who plunder our resources keep oiling their palms with handouts. Today, billions of cash siphoned from our public coffers are flying around everywhere in the name of ‘meet the people tours’.

Creating a slave territory.
These politicians strive on impoverishing the masses to create a ‘slave territory’ where the subjects worship them for temporary favours. In this way, they are guaranteed of enough ‘puppets’ to manipulate in their favour at all times.

They will never initiate any comprehensive programme that is geared towards eradicating poverty as this will steal away their ‘master’ position that has worked in their favour over the years. All they come up with are skewed projects and initiatives that are short term and basically aimed at hoodwinking the public that they are there for their (public) good.

They will fight tooth and nail to ‘finish’ anyone who comes up with excellent ideas to create jobs/wealth for the people as this will jeopardise their chances for re-election, being fully aware that an empowered society is very hard to manipulate.

Reclaiming back our town.
This time, Thika residents need to decide between their future against personal political ambitions. It is time they said no to bad leadership; right from the MCA, MP and the county leadership.

“We want our town back!” should be the clarion cry. We can only reclaim our town and its privileges by voting in the right leaders.

Someone once said that a society deserves the kind of leaders they vote into office. Elections present voters with very important choices. Every time they make the wrong choices, the doors swing open for problems that stifle growth and productivity and hurt credibility.

Who qualifies to be your leader?
The offices in question are of enormous social, community and national responsibility. The leaders we choose are supposed to help the electorate to realise and implement their vision and dreams for their families, their country and themselves. Therefore, certain leadership qualities are of paramount importance in the up-coming elections.

A leader must be a person of vision, one that is able to set goals and objectives together with the community. Leaders must tackle problems and find solutions quickly and efficiently. The goals should be gradually but progressively realised for the betterment, development and growth of the said community. The people's aspirations, hopes and dreams must be picked up by the leaders and helped to be fulfilled and so that they can contribute to the advancement of social life and quality of life of communities. A visionary leader makes a difference to a community.

Having an excessive amount of charisma isn't a requirement for leadership. Leaders should be able to motivate their people. They must be accountable to the people they serve, not only for the resources they administer, but also for the exercise of their powers and duties as people's representatives.

Genuine leaders often consult and listen to others. They appropriately delegate, share power, make corporate decisions and give credit where it belongs.

Rubber-stamp Leaders.
Elected leaders should not be ‘rubber-stamping’ decisions of higher authorities, as it were, merely towing the party line, but must rather consult and represent the views and needs of their constituency and the ordinary citizens. There is a need for leaders who are with and for the people, leaders who are genuine representatives of their people. Such leaders will therefore listen to the views of their people and so will be able to deliver satisfactorily by fully addressing needs of communities.

Identifying the right leader.
We can judge the candidates in two ways: the positions they take on issues and the leadership qualities and experience they would bring to office.

When you consider issues, think about community problems that you want these leaders to address.
Leadership qualities refer to the characteristics you want in an effective leader. Do you look for intelligence, honesty or the ability to communicate? You should also look back at their background and experience; how well prepared are they for the job? Do they accept speaking engagements before different groups - even those groups that might not be sympathetic? Do they accept invitations to debate? and so on.

Seeing through the candidates.
All candidates are currently trying to sell themselves to the voters. Sometimes their language is so skillfully crafted that they distort the truth in a way that it is very difficult for even the most careful observer to detect.

Name calling and attacks on an opponent based on characteristics that will not affect performance in office, references to race, ethnicity or marital status can be subtly used to instill prejudice. Bad leaders thrive in rumour mongering and attacks on their opponents because of their support rather than their stands on the issues.

The electorate should wary of those leaders who are good at passing the blame without really offering any solutions, those that promise the sky as well as any leader who is fond of evading the real issues affecting the people.

Duty to Participate.
It is every citizen’s duty to participate in the electoral process as abstinence results to voting in the leaders you do not want. Through their votes, the members of public can influence public policies and governance with the values which can transform their social life.

The elite are the worst enemies to this country as they are known to make a lot of noise when things go wrong but never spare any time to participate in the choice of leaders they want. They never assist fellow citizens to get rid of the wrong leaders nor an apparent voter apathy. They are supposed to be optimistic and not people who leave things to fate. Things will not happen just because we wish them to happen.  

Everyone’s participation in the betterment of this constituency is necessary as everybody's vote does work a big difference in the leaders they choose for themselves and the policies which both the national or county government embark on.

How we will reclaim our constituency/county.
Next year’s elections will be won or lost in April during the Jubilee Party nominations. Those who will emerge victorious in these primaries will have an 80% chance of clinching the seats in August during the General Elections.

It is in the nominations where the politicians will employ all kinds of dirty tricks to outwit their opponents. Voters will be transported to polling stations. Others will intimidate their rivals’ supporters into retreat.

Our greatest enemies again will be the elite for they are too proud to even spare any time to go to the polling stations to nominate their candidates of choice. This will leave the fate of this constituency to be determined by hired mercenary who will endorse crooks into office, eventually paving way for another 5 long and painful years.

Otherwise, may the spirit of Christ our redeemer guide, inspire us and intercede for us in the coming months so that all electoral activities may be conducted peacefully for the betterment of people's lives.

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