Kensanity (noun); Ken-san-i-ty: the practice of accepting or tolerating corruption and incompetence as long as it keeps one of “ours” in power and prevents those “others”/”foreigners” from doing unto “us” what we do unto “them”. Kensanity: A portmanteau of the words “Kenya” and “insanity”.
Kenyans are once again in the throes of a disputed presidential election and as was the case in the prior dispute in 2007; they are forced to wait until an organization other than the body charged with overseeing the elections decides the legitimacy of the election results. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Kenyans had to sit on pins and needles until Dr. Kofi Annan crafted a power-sharing agreement between out-going POK Mr. Mwai Kibaki and current challenger, CORD’s Raila Odinga in 2007. The incompetence of the Election Commission of Kenya (ECK) caused ethnic violence that earned the president-elect and his vice – Jubilee’s Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto – a date with the good folks at The Hague on charges of crimes against humanity! It was also during that time when Kenyans heard the late head of the Election Commission of Kenya Mr. Samuel Kivuiti famously say that “he doesn’t know who won the (2007) elections” even though the charter of the organization he headed at the time included the seemingly simple and yet obviously lofty goal of being “…a model electoral commission that will manage free, fair, credible and professional elections…” It was also in 2007 when Mr. Mwai Kibaki was surreptitiously and hurriedly sworn in by a political appointee Chief Justice Evans Gicheru in a cagy ceremony attended by a handful of loyalists one (1) hour after Kivuiti’s team had bungled the elections and set the country ablaze!
Fast-forward to 2013 and the country is again faced with the apparent failure of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), another bureaucracy whose website offered the error message “Fetching of original content failed with the following error: Proxy Publisher Failure CONNECTION_ERROR. If you own this domain, please consult this FAQ” on March 25, 2013 @12:21PM Pacific Standard Time when this article was being drafted! I visited the organization’s website to get information on its charter and/or mission statement to see how either lined up with its current performance! That I received an error message, presumably from the organization’s server, is fitting given one of the issues at the center of IEBC’s current morass – servers that crashed or as inelegantly put by the chairman Mr. Hassan Issack; “experienced a database query problem resulting from high traffic” thus crashing the electronic system and forcing the IEBC to resort to manual tallying of the votes which were at the root of the 2007 fiasco! And here I thought it was only the Romney campaign team that was still living in the era of the typewriter and dot-matrix printers! To add insult to injury, it is also being revealed in the on-going investigation of yet another bungled management of an election, that the tender awarded to Face Technologies of South Africa to provide the voter registration kits was mired in irregularities. I am shocked; absolutely shocked that an issue in Kenya involving oodles of money is steeped in irregularities and possible wrong-doing – please note the dripping sarcasm!
On the other hand and given the definition of my newly-coined portmanteau “Kensanity,” it makes perfect sense that the tender was awarded to the second-most expensive bid which was almost kshs. 1billion ABOVE the body’s (IEBC) budget! The Daily Nation of March 25, 2013 reported that the team charged with overseeing the tender process resigned because “it could not go on with the work because it was being judged harshly on a number of issues by people who did not have full disclosure of what was happening.” The unnamed IEBC member went on to say that they “were for sure uncomfortable with the pressure that was being piled on them by various quarters…” Let me see if I get this right: The very people who were most likely paid princely sums of money because they were supposedly qualified and able to manage an election are now saying that they cannot handle being called to account for their incompetence?
People, how many times are we going to see this movie? And how many times are we, as a society, going to allow corruption, incompetence and the various permutations of “isms” to affect our lives to the point of “killing the goose (Kenya) that lays the golden egg (a vibrant and capable country)?” And just out of morbid curiosity, are we going to hold to account those responsible for the current fiasco? The elections currently being litigated are coming in the wake of the elections of 2007 whose results yielded an orgy of ethnic violence. This alone should have been motivation for all those who claim to love Kenya to demand an election devoid of the chicanery of 2007: No patriotic Kenyan should have been part of a decision that risked an event similar to the tragic paroxysms of 2007. That we seemed to be facing the same situation we faced six years ago is indeed the latter half of my portmanteau – insanity. As a country we seemed to be doing the same over and over again and expecting a different result.