Kenyan Politicians: Good Guys or Bad Guys?

Today I revert to one of my best disciplines – ethics. As usual, my primary role as a social scientist is to decipher the complex and then present the findings in the simplest way possible for a general audience. In life we often view others and ourselves as either being ‘bad’ or ‘good’-seemingly very subjective concepts, but not really. A person is either a good person or a bad person, but what criteria are used in the definition of these labels? In truth, no one is 100% good or 100% bad regardless of moral context. For the sake of brevity let as take a ‘good’ person to be one who is 50+% good, that is ‘a person who is more good than bad’, and a bad person to be a person who is 50+% bad. Already you will notice a problem with this dichotomy, but again I ask we overlook it for the sake of driving my point home.
We can almost unanimously agree that what ‘is good’ is tantamount to ‘what adds value’ to the doer and those affected by his/her actions and what is bad is the opposite. Therefore, every human being’s life is a swaying pendulum between both extremes with the ideal being ‘good’. Likewise, in professional wrestling we have 2 kinds of characters – heel and face characters. Heel characters are the ‘bad guys’ who cheat, talk trash and do other amoral stuff and face characters are the ‘god guys’ who follow the rules protect the weak and eventually prevail as heroes. Now, to my analogy and the main point of this prose; does our society consist more of heel individuals than it does of face individuals? Of course to be a heel implies that one is ‘bad’ or, with regard to our definition above, ‘more bad than good’. This would mean that a heel’s actions do more injury (opposite of value) to society than good. In effect, if our society has more heel than face characters then by extension our institutions are heel institutions and our leadership heel governance.
A few weeks ago I wrote an article titled ‘Intellectual Terrorism’ in which I summarized heel characteristics of the modern-day politician. Leaders whose main concern is to plunder and pilferage the nation’s resources will be the demise of our country. Last week we saw an entourage of politicians who had gone to the Netherlands in support of post-election violence suspects. Firstly, for sure those who went abroad did not attend the parliamentary session that run last week meaning that they were actually absconding their primary roles as members of parliament. Furthermore, the same politicians plan to hold prayers for the suspects, which is okay. However, are these heel or face leaders? Use the above distinguishing criteria and decide on your own i.e. what overall value has their trip to The Hague had on themselves and Kenyans at large; or, would praying for suspects of a crime add more value to the nation than say praying for victims of the crimes the suspects are being accused of? At this rate one may argue, why not then pray for all the people in court charged with crimes because afterall, like the 6 Hague suspects, are innocent until proven guilty? This would also be okay, but my concern is this – what value is added to society? Another example that may help you understand the difference between heel and face is that of a lawyer. A heel lawyer would take up a case in which his client is guilty for the sake of money or for a hollow sense of grandeur that ‘I’m just doing my job’(note: guilty is used here to mean overwhelming evidence to that effect, not that he has been proven guilty in a court of law).
Number two on my list of heels is an institution – the media. I am convinced that the Kenyan media is heel (kindly do not stray from the definition; remember heel doesn’t mean 100% bad). The role of the media in any country is to inform, educate and entertain in a manner that adds value to the society. Information dissemination has been spot-on; kudos to the media. However, the media turns from face to heel in its unchecked entertainment and little if any education. I keep telling my friends who are journalists that I do support media freedom, but always add that with freedom comes responsibility. Many radio stations discuss lewd topics usually of sexual reference. Worse still, such stations play in public vehicles which ferry young children – what value is added here? Wouldn’t it be better to have more educative programs that inspire the youth and instill values to society? Ponder that, but allow me to revert to the ‘inform’ bit. The media, especially television news media, has programs that always highlight ‘how bad’ some communities are doing and how hard their lives are – well, it is good that such realities are mirrored back to the rest of society. However, a face media goes beyond ‘selling a story’ and winning an award for ‘best story’ to pushing for practical solutions and even going further to show a life after redemption via a follow-up story.
To cut to the chase, society needs faces. Be a face in whatever you do; a face doctor, a face lawyer, a face journalist, a face voter etc. The moral decadence we suffer is a result of heels and our refusal to change the status quo.
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