IS THE KENYAN VOTER RATIONAL OR EMOTIONAL?


BY: JUMA HEMEDI 

Last week while revising for my exams I came across an article titled "The Ethics and Rationality of Voting" this article was published in July 2016 by Stanford University. 

The article was attempting to focus on six questions concerning the Rationality and morality of Voting. 

These questions included;

- Is it rational for an individual citizen to vote? 

- Is there a moral Duty to Vote? 

- Is it Justifiable for governments to compel citizens to vote? 

- Who ought to have the right to Vote and should every citizen have an equal Vote? 

The article asserts that, Economics in its simplest form predicts that Rational people will perform an activity only if doing so maximises expected utility. 

The rallying call during civic education every Election year,  has had a message that has consistently been passed down. "your Vote is Your Future". But does our "future" end at the ballot box or is that where it should begin? 

Today everyone in the Country seems to be complaining about this leader or the other. If it isn't the MCA, it is the Governor, MP or the President. 

At times we don't just complain we insult the very people we elected. Calling them names. We question their faith and fidelity in our constitution and at times their Patriotism. We call them all manner of names apart from the names their parents gave them. 

We seem to believe that our work as citizens ended the day we elected our representatives into office and that the remaining work is up to them to figure out what we need, how we need it and when. We are actually fascinated by those candidates who come to tell us "what they will do for us" 

We have a collective sense of aloofness in our Country/county affairs as citizens. After all we have someone to blame for all our collective failures and none participatory attitude. We will come back and claim how much of a failure the President is or the Governor or even the MCA while all along we failed to do what was required of us as a citizen, which is to Participate. 

Kenya is a "work in Progress" and the responsibility to shape it and continue with its work does not rest with the President alone, or the Elected and appointed leaders alone. Every Citizen has a duty and a responsibility to help remake and shape this country and bring it closer to our Ideals. 

We cannot vote, then sit and fold our arms and start complaining for five years about the people we elected, then come back again five years and repeat the cycle once more. We cannot continuously complain about our leaders and  own decisions. 

It does not take a university degree or a PHD to know how to complain, but it takes Courage and patriotism to rise up and play your Citizen role and own up to your misgivings. Your Elected leader or the other tribe is not responsible for your mistakes. 

We must bring ourselves to do what we asked of ourselves when we promulgated the 2010 constitution in Article 1. We must begin to play our role as the overall oversight and social auditors of our affairs. 

Are voters rational or Emotional? According to (Guerrero 2010) the rationality of Voting is perhaps not as a way to change how effective the elected politician will be, but instead as a way of trying to change the kind of mandate the winning candidate enjoys. 

The Causal theories of voting claim that voting is Rational provided the voter sufficiently cares about being a cause or among the joint causes of the outcome. Rational Voters Vote because they wish to bear the responsibilities for the outcomes and continue to participate in their decisions even if their influence is small. 

Political Psychology shows that most Citizens suffer from significant "inter-group bias". We tend to automatically form groups and be irrationally loyal to and forgiving of our own group while irrationally hateful of other groups.

The question remains "Are we Rational or Emotional Voters? 

Juma Hemedi

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