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How we make political decisions

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How We Make Political Decisions The Problem With Warri, How We Plan To Fix It — Gov Okowa
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How we make political decisions by Kenyans247(1): Mon 09, November, 2020 03:39pm
What you need to know:
After a brief hiatus caused by Covid-19 regulations, the political season has once again started in earnest. In spite of the resurgence of the pandemic, people are organising.
As we get into electioneering, let’s look for people who can tolerate criticism and objectively look into critical issues that brings inclusive development. We can at least change decision making in political process.
The political term that began in 2017 has been a very strange one. It is as if political campaigns never stopped.
kenyans247
After a brief hiatus caused by Covid-19 regulations, the political season has once again started in earnest. In spite of the resurgence of the pandemic, people are organising. The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) is rearing to brave through the current crisis.

But what is fascinating is how political decisions are made in this country. More enthralling, we rarely question even the ones that don’t make sense.

Since 1995, I have actively participated in the political process either doing background research where applicable or simply providing moral support by hanging out with the candidate. In the process, I have come to learn that personal emotions, fear and anxiety affect political decision making.


Before I get into the details of decision making in political process, let me narrate what happens on the ground. The very first political campaign I got involved in was a bye election in my rural constituency. The previous Member of Parliament (MP) had occupied the seat for 30 years. Each electoral cycle he promised to tarmac the road leading up to my village. He never did until the Kibaki administration decided to honour its promise.

I accepted to work with one of the candidates because I was bitter with the collapse of the coffee industry and wanted an MP who could at least fight for us to recover the assets of our cooperative movement. The coop used to deduct farmers, including my mother’s hard-earned resources, to make investments. Many of the buildings in Kisii town were owned by cooperative movement but the leadership had decided to appropriate the investments.

I pushed the candidate to have his first rally at Nyaigwa coffee processing plant. I was fond of this place because as a young lad we carried coffee on our heads for processing at the plant. It was the first factory I had ever seen in my life. In every sense I was a stakeholder. People had gathered to listen to the agenda of our candidate.

The Master of Ceremony, someone who had not been on our entourage stood to introduce the guests.

“Zamuda oyee!”, he started and the audience responded: “Oyeee!

“Now let me start with this one, our son,” he said, pointing at me and ordering me to great the crowd.

With my poor voice, I took a minute to reminiscence about the venue but unfortunately it was too boring as the charged crowd went silent. The MC cut me short telling the crowd that I had mistaken them for a university class. Nevertheless, he praised me as a true son who is teaching at the University of Nairobi. “Zamuda Oyee!,” he yelled.

“Oyeeee!”, the crowd responded.

The aspiring MP stood up and the crowd went berserk. They broke into a dance which took 15 minutes. The MC had to plead with the crowd to calm down in order to allow “our MP” to give his speech so that he could also visit other places.


When he finally spoke, he asked women, men and youth to organise themselves for “tea.” There was no discussion about the misappropriation of coop resources. I later learnt that the issue was considered too sensitive. My candidate won.

Two types of politicians
In 1997, the political script in my rural village was the same. Although deep in my heart I felt that we should help build cottage industries and make it one of the major issues for the political campaigns, the narrative had changed to not touch one of our clansmen for fear of being marginalized by other clans. I was relegated to driving noisy supporters of our candidate.

In 2002, I moved to national politics helping some of the candidates refine their political manifestos. In spite of spending many hours to research and write, some mandarins thought it was a waste of time. Indeed, the candidate often had virtually no time to even listen to a verbal presentation. The failure to grasp issues before winning usually has repercussions. Nevertheless, a politician will always have their way out by whipping up the electorate’s emotions sometimes by creating unnecessary fear and anxiety.

In that period, I have learnt is that there are two types of politicians. Thin- and thick-skinned politicians. There is no in between. I learnt this lesson in the hardest way possible. My sin at one time was asking if we could do a survey to at least inform us the electability of the candidate.

Before I could finish with my thought, the “supporters” bombarded me with questions: What are you talking about? Were you sent here? Others told the candidate that I was a mole in our camp. I didn’t last too long because the candidate was not happy with me.

All I needed was an evidence-based decision as a pre-condition for discussing a winning strategy. The previous night, I had spent the whole night developing relevant issues to market the candidate but it was all in vain. The loyalists in the gathering had a different idea. They wanted to know how soon the candidate will start opening the financial taps.


The concocted opinions of advisers often overwhelm reason. The cabal of “advisors” can either make or break the candidate even in victory. They feed their own interests at the expense of inclusive national programs. They destroy everybody in their path though lies and misuse of power.

Thin-skinned politicians never make good leaders. They are the kind that want to hear themselves glorified. Perhaps the key determinant for who to lead should be on how they can tolerate criticism and to what extent are their decisions are determined by data.

As we get into electioneering, let’s look for people who can tolerate criticism and objectively look into critical issues that brings inclusive development. We can at least change decision making in political process.
https://nation.africa/kenya/blogs-opinion/opinion/how-we-make-political-decisions--3015972

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