Article 75 (1) (c) of the Constitution states, “A State officer shall behave, whether in public and official life, in private life, or in association with other persons, in a manner that avoids demeaning the office the officer holds.”
This is just one part of the Chapter on Leadership and Integrity that clearly spells out how a state officer should conduct him/herself, which sadly has been violated in recent and past times. We have been treated to the spectacle of MPs making derogatory, inciting and demeaning comments and even worse, facing allegations on their involvement in corruption. Which makes the xenophobic comments by Starehe MP Charles Njagua, appalling but not surprising. Mr Njagua, alias Jaguar, is not the first and certainly won’t be the last legislator to make headlines for the wrong reasons. Stemming from the fact that the office of an MP is yet to be given the respect it deserves.
Those caught in the wrong have enjoyed the privilege that comes with the political and social capital tied to their positions which has been used to shield them from the consequences of their misconduct. More effort should be put in bringing dignity and honor to the office of a legislator who is supposed to reflect the thoughts, attitudes and morals of the people he represents.
While Mr Njagua meant to protect his constituents’ interests, it was the manner in which he approached the matter that stirred up a storm. What is discouraging though is that our neighbours, perhaps to prove that the political class is cut from the same clothe, retaliated with equally xenophobic comments against Kenyans on the floor of the House. Leaders, regardless of country owe it to the people they represent to have sober-minded conversations through the right legislative and judicial channels as opposed to making comments that endanger specific groups and stir diplomatic tiffs. It does no one a favor to rile up citizens in fury that could lead to irreversible consequences.