Leaders should listen to voice of the people

An opinion poll released at the weekend gave an unflattering assessment of the status of the nation as most of respondents said the country was headed in the wrong direction.

The main reason for this is that there are many issues of deep national concern that remain unresolved. At the top of the list is soaring corruption, insecurity, economic decline, mismanagement of public resources, and poor delivery of public services such as health and education.

Many arms of government are not working and there is a growing sense of intolerance. Anybody perceived to be critical or holding a dissenting view is scolded and intimidated.

There are attempts to entrench silence and unanimity by force.

Although the poll focuses on the national government, it is as much an indictment of the county governments that are equally messy. The level of graft, greed, and sleaze in the counties is just as worrying as it is nationally.

The situation has been made even worse by intolerance and recklessness. Indeed, that is what prompted retired President Kibaki to speak out at the weekend and candidly tell the Jubilee administration to listen to its opponents and eschew the aggression that has become its stock response.

Unless checked, the country is headed to a situation where corruption and other vices may become part of national life, which would be tragic. Already, the country is witnessing many cases where leaders commit serious crimes but are not penalised.

The opinion poll provides an opportunity to examine the status of the nation and make a resolve to deal with the critical issues affecting the population.

The government must stop living in denial and face the realities that are making people think that the country is headed in the wrong direction.