Thursday, October 10, 2013

POLITICS AND SEX STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

Some people say politics and sex are inseparable bedfellows. I agree. If there are two passions that have rocked governments, dispatched politicians into oblivion, and ruined marital relationships, they are politics and sex; in other words, it is raw power and what occurs under the sheets that collude to destroy careers.

Sex has seen the downfall of many politicians all over the world for as long as I have lived. From the very first political sex scandal I can remember, that of the British War Minister John Profumo way back in 1963, to the latest escapades of former US Representative Anthony Weiner, sex continues to play havoc to humanity.

It was sex that almost brought down US President Bill Clinton; it was sex that vanquished Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi; it was sex that rattled South African Jacob Zuma and Zimbabwean Morgan Tsvangirai; and it is sex that will most likely destroy the careers of some Kenyan politicians. The list of sex offenders in the political world gets longer every year as politicians get exceedingly careless and as young, beautiful women make themselves available for the good time.

Blending politics with sex is like sprinkling fuel on embers. The mixture bursts into a full-blown fire: attracts attention, raises moral questions; triggers public scrutiny and, when it graduates into a scandal, collapses careers and destroys families.

What Kenyans have been treated to in the past week - unsavoury images of two people we all may be knowing - has already passed the stage of raising moral questions and triggering public scrutiny. What Kenyans are waiting for now is to see how far careers and family lives would be destroyed. But before we get there some questions have to be answered: Are those pictures real? Or, were they "photo-shopped" as some people say? If they are real, who took them, and who posted them on the social media? And most importantly, did the two individuals know they were being photographed? And did they give consent? Only those affected can answer such questions. So far, we haven't heard much.

It appears our country's moral fibre is in grave danger of erosion. A video clip I saw recently of young people - some looking as young as 15 - dancing publicly in broad day light and in the most erotic manner, shocked me to the bone, more so because all those youngsters have parents or guardians somewhere who could stumble on the video the way I did.

But that is only a tip of the iceberg. How about the quick-spreading craze of swingers' clubs in our towns where lovers swap partners for liberal sex sessions? How about the so-called fashion trends where women walk on the streets half-naked without care? Or, the growing pornographic video industry - bestiality and all - in Nairobi and in the tourist towns of Mombasa and Malindi?

Traditional norms are being replaced by free lifestyles copied from Hollywood movies and Mexican soap operas.

Unfortunately, the people who are supposed to mentor the youth and show them the good way are themselves openly deviant and immorally corrupt. And it is not just politicians I am talking about. How about men and women of cloth? How about other religious clerics?These are the people who stand in churches every Sunday and in Mosques every Friday preaching the virtues of righteousness.These people are supposed to be role models.

I am not saying that leaders are not human and should not behave humanly. I am only saying that public display of immorality has no place in the Kenyan way of life.

Everyone agrees that the social media is the best thing that has happened to this world this century. It permits on-time delivery of information and pictures; opens up communication to a much wider audience and shrinks the world into a village. But as convenient and as innovative as they may be, the social media are also empowering users to be able to copy, re-work, share and re-tweet messages many times over, circulating them indiscriminately without regard to age or sensibilities of the bigger audience out there.

The proliferation of Internet powered laptops and hand-held devices means even minors can gain access to pornographic material without the knowledge of their parents. I am convinced  tens of thousands of under-aged children saw the distasteful pictures of their leaders splashed all over the social media these past few days.

We expect leaders to take the moral high ground and provide not only good leadership but moral uprightness.

Perhaps we should tighten our ethics laws further so that our leaders can be held to account at a higher threshold than currently provided. Electing leaders who are debauched, indecorous and dramatically showy is dangerous for the well-being of our society.


And that is my say.