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By CPA Michael Wanjala Makokha

There are many ways to skin a cat so it is said. 2022 being an election year, is one in which there are not only many cats to skin and bountiful innovations in methods, there is a fundamental need to ask the bigger question which is why skin the cat in the first place. This is the year of general elections. Many gymnastics are aimed at bending reality to suit one formation and, therefore, present itself to the electorate as a panacea for all the problems that Kenya faces. This is the year in which heavenly promises are made without abandon and with no care as to their practicality in the context of our reduced producing power and constraints imposed by the public debt.

It has with time been metaphorically presented as the crossing of the river Jordan and finally arriving in Canaan – the land of milk and honey. To add urgency to this matter and to make it more poignant, it is presented as the final attempt at national rebirth, renewal, or revival. Journalists and the media never to be left behind, have already labeled this election as the greatest battle of our lifetime, the most hotly contested election, or in fact the largest election yet. A careful review of media coverage of past elections will reveal that the same epitaphs, terminology, and lingua were used. And yet some are mere mathematical and logical realities – any new election will always be the largest since the population of voters keeps increasing by the day. Never mind we are about four clear months to the August General Elections.

It is imperative therefore for the accountancy profession to introspect, choose a role, and dive in so that they add to the mosaic of conversations around the future of our country and its citizens. In doing so accountants will bring along their dogma and lingua hence not only enriching the conversations by elevating the debates to issues but also playing their public interest role in society. In this article are a few thoughts on just what the profession and professionals ought to consider.

The first role and perhaps the “laughable one” is that accountants need to step up and assist the nation to count the days to the elections. We need to play a role in desegregating economic activities from the election cycle. It is disheartening that our economy takes a beating each election cycle. As professionals, there is a way we could assist the nation to carry on with life even amidst elections. The second and cardinal role is that as CPAs we must make our voices count, and we do so by registering as voters. It remains a tragedy that some elect to be bystanders in such a cardinal, national and patriotic duty.

We also need to offer ourselves leadership. I believe more than ever that our greatest need as a nation is accountability and our greatest enemy for now is corruption. It is at such times that accountants can play the most significant role in nation-building. And if harkening to the leadership challenge proves tricky, then the least we can do is to identify and support those among us who have started this great journey.

We have a duty to elevate the conversation around which manifesto is best for our nation. The incessant promises of a better life based on a distributive economic model is a white lie and we should use all media to call out the political elite who are promising without a thought. We can do this by availing ourselves for debates or by organizing those debates so that Kenyans are presented with realistic, believable, and deliverable manifestos within the prevailing economic context. A further entry point is to become a card-carrying member of a political party. In choosing to be a member of a party we can contribute to creating political hygiene, especially on matters of nomination. Our aloofness has resulted in nominations being auctioned to the highest bidder and therein are the fertile seeds of a future corrupt-ready-government.

The true cost of democracy is to be found in remaining eternally vigilant. As Accountants, we have done well but we can do much more by showing up and participating fully in “public participation forums”. On matters of economy and accountability, there can’t be a more suitable public than our profession. By remaining alert and by plugging in our governance architecture we can best chaperone the state towards a better future. The banter has been that between lawyers and accountants – which profession will be first at the presidency? This is your call to action, stand up, stand in and stand out, it is time for CPAs to matter in the trajectory of our nation Kenya.

By CPA Makokha Wanjala



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