THE BLOG
01/25/2016 03:33 pm ET Updated Jan 22, 2017

Memo to Kenyans: We Are Who We Elect Into Office

"What is honored in a country is cultivated there." Plato, "The Republic"

The latest decision by Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission (IEBC) is proof-positive that the country should seriously consider offering amnesty to the likes of Moses Wetangula and the rest of its "Who's Who" -- RAO, Musalia, Uhuru Kenyatta, Ruto, Waiguru, Moi -- all who have been mentioned or implicated in some form of malfeasance or impropriety.

That the body established by the country's constitution to oversee elections to any elective body or office established by the Constitution or prescribed by an Act of Parliament can allow someone with such a seedy past to seek re-election to the very office (or a variant of) he is accused of using to enrich himself explains why the country now nurtures a majority (of citizens) who believe that "it does not matter how one makes money as long as one does not end up in jail"!

Like subjects of the famed (and controversial) Stanford Experiment, Kenyans have taken to emulating their powerful and unethical leaders with a pace and self-assuredness that is ominous but not at all surprising!

It comes as no surprise that they have continued to elect into office kleptocrats, crimes-against-humanity suspects and unsavory characters of ill-repute. Like Pavlov's dogs, Kenyans have come to expect and embrace those who can make it rain at "harambees" and "offer 'free' land to settle landless squatters" while glibly asserting that "the issue is not a about entitlement. It is about hard work".

Like many Kenyans, I am way past being disillusioned at the stark dearth of leadership in the country of my birth. It is a given! And as I see it, it is not an "apples and oranges" assertion that the same bureaucracy - IEBC - that "found no proof and justification to delete Wetangula's name from the voters' register" is from the same gene pool as the one that hoisted Mwai Kibaki into office (in 2007) under cover of darkness; in the process fomenting the post-election violence that brought the country to the precipice of Rwanda-like ethnic-fueled violence.

Given its sketchy history, it makes perfect sense that the bureaucracy (IEBC) came to its conclusion on Mr. Wetangula's voter bribery case even AFTER the former Minister for Foreign Affairs was adversely mentioned in a report that accused both he and Martha Karua of accepting bribes from agents of British-American Tobacco (BAT) Company to stop (Kenyan government) action against cigarette smuggling. And as if that stain of corruption was not enough, the same individual was implicated in a suspicious land deal in Japan that lost Kenya millions of dollars.

The question as I see it now is how sustainable the path Kenyans have charted for their country is. Let me offer the opinion that the level of corruption and the accompanying impunity is not sustainable and eventually, the malfeasance exhibited by the country's leaders, beginning with Jomo Kenyatta and currently book-ended by his son Uhuru will come home to roost.

The reality is that all the lofty predictions of a "Kenya undergoing transformation" may be for naught. As vividly illustrated in Tunisia, Libya and other participants -- willing and not-so-willing -- of the "Arab Spring", the decades-long "development" and current semblance of stability can explode into paroxysms of pent-up anger and frustration directed at the country's incompetent and selfish leadership.

While no one can predict when/if the country will reach that tipping point or who its Mohamed Bouazizi may/will be, the convergence of circumstances akin to the ones that drove the Tunisian vegetable seller to self-immolate are real and palpable in Kenya. Those poo-pooing this ominous assessment don't have to look beyond the country's borders or search far back into its history. The post-election violence of 2007/2008 are less than a decade old!