El­ders mustn’t take sides and sell souls to high­est bid­der

The Star (Kenya) - - Voices -

One of the most poignant images of the 2007-08 post-elec­tion vi­o­lence is of an old wo­man cry­ing as a build­ing be­hind her is cov­ered in flames. As the coun­try gears up for the gen­eral elec­tion, pun­dits agree that the silly sea­son is here with us again — a pe­riod when lead­ers be­come ig­no­ra­mues and only think of their self-in­ter­ests. The role of el­ders in this pe­riod will come un­der scru­tiny as we progress. El­ders are por­trayed as the source of wis­dom, coun­sel and sta­bil­ity in so­ci­ety. They com­mand re­spect and at­ten­tion and they are thought or be­lieved to see ahead of the oth­ers. But as the po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties heighten, these el­ders should be wary of be­ing duped by politi­cians. Their re­spect should not be com­pro­mised by the high­est bid­der. In­stead of tak­ing sides or en­dors­ing cer­tain can­di­dates, they should high­light the com­mu­ni­ties’ needs and the lead­er­ship qual­i­ties re­quired to meet those needs.

KAR­IUKI GATHUITU Nairobi

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