Sycophancy Feeds Dictatorship And Eventually Leads To Anarchy

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JaramogiKenya has lived with political parrots since independence and have proved to be extremely dangerous to growth of democracy and the rule of law. A politician seeking the leader’s notice and support has always got something in praise of the leader, and dismisses and attacks others to ‘protect’ the leader. Quite often, the leader is bought into this sycophancy, and unfortunately turns from the national path to self-preservation. While it is generally assumed that individuals trigger sycophancy, the palace at times organises the programme in order to isolate, marginalise, eliminate and stop others from entering the nucleus. Kenya is at it again.

Between 1964 and 1966, Kenya was faced with unfamiliar diversion as the Kanu system assisted by white powers moved to have other political parties dissolved and created a de’ facto one party state. That done, a smear campaign was initiated to label some leaders communists and Marxists, unable to help build a new independent Kenya economically. According to the campaign, the communists wanted to take away people’s land oblivious of the fact that the war was waged for land and freedom. Hatred was sown, and sooner than later political allies became bitter enemies. Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, the singular and lone voice fighting for the release of Jomo Kenyatta and other political prisoners in the late 1950s and 1960, became target of ridicule, abuse and slander from the Kenyatta group. It grew into a bitter and intolerable battle that Mzee Oginga and his colleagues were forced to leave government and form an opposition movement. Kenya became an insecure ground as the society became openly divided. What happened in this environment is unbelievable: Shifta war was waged, there was an army mutiny, many assassinations took place, political detentions and arrests became common, an attempted coup d’état was organised, a seemingly ethnic marginalization programme emerged and there was a worrying presence of a sadistic dictatorship.

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The next regime took over this baggage and formulated a new African philosophy – Nyayo philosophy – to accommodate it, but also created its own despotic system. Between 1982 and 1992, the government became so agitated and intolerable that some regions became a target of political isolation, elimination and total exclusion, and activities were organised to work against community sobriety by contaminating the mind and abusing attitudes. In the central region, for example, sycophancy was promoted through corruption by recruiting wayward individuals to betray the course of their community and receiving heavy monetary and land bribes. While that happened, religious sects bordering on cultism were introduced while killer brews were made readily available to the youth, who today are overwhelmed by hopelessness in many parts of the region, and manifests itself through the jigger menace and the deletion of young men. Today, many schools in Central Province are either closing or merging for lack of children. That was a dangerous scheme for a society. But that and worse have been in other parts of the world to eliminate ethnic groups and races. The regime carried political eliminations, detentions more than doubled, the country witnessed another attempted coup d’état and many violent demonstrations became a daily occurrence. The country was veering into anarchy when the despot and cohorts smelt danger and terminated the dictatorship.

Some Kenyans say Kibaki’s time was the most peaceful. My, my, my. I cannot use such words when I reflect on 2007-08 events, or, the mass graves that Michuki had announced, or the many massacres by militia and individuals, most of them unidentified for prosecution. That is when Kenya heard of al Shabaab – the Kenyan nemesis. What is peace in our world? If in an armed conflict an army realises 10 casualties, it is labelled a troops’ slaughter. Why would deaths of citizens running into hundreds be referred to as peaceful? I am sorry. Those who think this way are backward, primitive and hold an acute don’t-care-attitude that needs to be addressed by the state as a matter of utter emergency. What amazes is that, this is a widespread attitude where Kenyans appear to be less concerned about the plight of their own countrymen. Suffering in one corner of the country does not seem to affect other areas, not even spiritually. It is assumed to be a sideshow. This to me is, primitive and does not reflect patriotism and cannot promote nationhood.

What can we say about the current regime? Ethnic clashes post general elections of 2007-08 and the subsequent 2010 constitution produced victims and propagators who have thrived as victims or in defence of the constitution. The two created political joineries of individuals who otherwise would have not but joined only to save their necks through marriages of convenience. Many scholars have argued that states are created and survive through violence. Therefore, the Kenyan situation is right.

The other fact that plays in this regime, which reflects badly is that the regime is a melting pot of the descendants and remnants of makers, riders and puppets of past regimes. They all find accommodation here so that the past, present and potential schemes, for and against, find fertile grounds. What this means is that Kenyans who did not belong to, know or even understand the regimes can find it extremely difficult to understand this one. Addressing the past, for whatever reason, from this pedestal would be asking for too much. This is beside the argument. My argument is that sycophancy feeds dictatorship and anarchy.

In the most recent days, sycophancy has shown its head and many wonder about its emergence. I have noticed that some members of Parliament regardless of existing facts and rules, not to mention the logic expected to accompany their utterances, are loud over no issues and anything that touches on the leader. Instructed or not, they scream to be noticed. Kenyans must be amazed at how incredibly they oscillate between political positions. They are so fast to take positions, which they shamelessly abandon as fast to align themselves with the leader’s body language. Do I need to name them? No. They are in both sides of the divide and are common knowledge, but may demean society to name the obvious.

Anyway, what the country recently witnessed in Migori against the President, followed by the event in Kwale against the former Prime Minister is a manifestation of acute sycophancy and if left to thrive, it can lead to anarchy and cause law and order to collapse. It is not a laughing matter as some of our people make it. Who would want a failed state? Stop it early!



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