Colours are amazing. They are waves of light with different wavelengths and frequencies. The meaning and value that colour carries cannot be overstated. It reveals the inner feelings of a person regardless of whether one intends to communicate the same when choosing the colour or not.
A psychologist may tell you colour is emotional; a manufacturer will say color is coded while an environmentalist will admit that colour is a natural phenomenon that conveys climatic messages. A medic will link color to curing some ailments. For a politician however, color means ‘nothing’. A party will choose a colour for the sake of convenience and not necessarily for the principles they stand for.
Politicians will choose colors not for the meaning it evokes but rather on what the opponent has and the prevailing political trends. A party selecting a deep blue colour and claiming to be stronger should be an understatement in itself because blue is a ‘weak’ colour. On the other hand, a party with orange as its main colour striving to refrain from violence should be reminded that orange is a colour of reactivity; under which violence falls. In other words, the color doesn’t hold much water.
Suppose a political party whose ideologies fall on human rights and environmental conservation consults you about their party colours, you will most likely suggest white and green.. However, the scenario on the ground is quite baffling; some political parties have black and red without tangible attachments to the symbolic meaning of the same colours. All they look for is an outstanding colour that will distinguish them from other political parties.
This explains the tight competition being experienced on the political scene in Kenya during this year’s elections, where over 45 different political parties are fielding candidates in different constituencies and civic wards.
It has become a norm to associate a party with its leader and not its colours of identity. Either way, leaders of political parties emphasize more on personalities than the symbols they pick for their parties. In essence, they ignore the value of art and colour in influencing voters and voting trends.
In Kenya where election campaigns are in high gear, politicians of all mainstream parties dress in outfits that identify them with their party colours. From printed t-shirts and tailored shirts to printed shawls and caps, from ‘identity’ ties to lapel badges; the list is endless, if the pomp and colour that accompanies the campaign trails were anything to go by, then some of the parties would have pulled out for lack of ideas and creativity in marketing and publicity.
For the voter, the story is no different. He will vote basing on other factors except the party symbol and colour. To the voter, colour is meaningless.
By Antony Odeo
Mr. Odeo is an African Executive Staff Writer
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