For the last couple of weeks elected bad leaders have been seen hovering around in their localities confusing locals with the popular saying that bad leaders are elected by good citizens who don’t vote especially in the western part of the country.
Many have argued that the voter registration turnout in most of the oppositions ‘strongholds’ areas has been the lack of proper strategies on the ground to mobilize the eligible citizens to come out in large numbers and register as witnessed in the Central and Rift Valley regions. Try taking a walk in some parts of these regions and you will realize that the bone of contention happens not to be this lack of the so called proper strategy.
Locals here will tell you that they are fed up with the poor governance and lack of adequate service delivery that has continued to dig into the hole of poverty in their lives among many other issues. That is why they are not bothered when threatened with denial of services if they are unable to show up their voter’s card because they are used to it.
The finger of blame in this case is directly pointed towards the county levels of government that has absolutely delivered insignificant services to them. The ironic situation is that the beneficiaries of devolution have been members of the clans from which this county heads hail from. This is common in the rural areas of Luo Nyanza.
Elected leaders that were last seen on campaign posters have re-emerged and can now be seen warning and lecturing locals on the consequences of failing to register as voters.
The ‘leadership’ of Kisumu County for example, which has little to show on its performance score card, can now be seen taking advantage of the situation of people with low income such as boda boda operators by building for them shades. Neglecting the fact that insecurity, which is their main concern and has not been addressed, has continued to claim lives of these operators. These leaders are tenaciously working on dilapidated roads that play a linking role for some residential areas and commercial hubs with promises that they will be tarmacked if they are re-elected leaving thick dust billowing each and every day.
Voter apathy comes in when such leaders who have failed to deliver to their constituent electorates come with flashy vehicles to convince poor people they have ignored for a long period of time to come out and vote. One might argue that by having a voter’s card, one will be able to uproot these leaders from their offices but that argument might not hold enough water because the leaders who are eyeing these offices are the former leaders who performed worse during their times.
A section of people that have turned out to register have claimed that they empathize with their ‘king’ on the paradigm lose of presidential elections. Recently, this ‘king’ gave directions to the local leaders to mobilize people to come out and register as voters. The result has been the coercing of people and denial of basic services by the county governments.
The opposition risk remaining opposition if locals in their ‘stronghold’ regions do not find a reason to come out and queue for long hours on the election date.