BWIRE: Sharing short term power not a referendum issue


On August 8, Kenyans go to the ballot to choose their leaders for the next 5 years ...
File image of one of the polling stations

The recent handshake politics and much talked about Constitutional review talks while healthy and welcome; it’s not the first time politicians are doing it in Kenya; once more raises the nature, structure and processes of our politics.

The lessons learnt should be extended to the issues raised in the previous reports about historical injustices and the need to resolve them, in the same manner politicians solve their differences so that we reconcile and move on as a people.

The mood in the country is good, and the political leaders have once more the opportunity to move Kenyans to the next level of national development and way of doing things. Mature democracies anticipate that people compete during the elections and related political processes in the country, and agree to move without necessarily holding the country at ransom forever.

That the country requires a political transformation that must be done within the constitutional requirements including a review processes is not in question; but the review should be aimed at only creating space to accommodate our political interests. The review and re- arrangements must be guided only by the need to solve political problems, but more importantly be geared towards solving the challenges the country has seen since the implementation of the new Constitution and lessons from our history as a country.

It will be near impossible to achieve the big four agenda or even win the war on corruption in this country, if will limit the anticipated constitutional review on only expanding the executive, cooling off the political heat and hibernating to a temporary nice time moment, for the some of the challenges the country is facing are rooted in inequalities, divisions and absence of a national psyche as a result of historical injustices we have faced over the years.

Kenyans want to hear more about, after the handshake, and current mood in the country, what form and structure the next levels, especially, the much talked about Constitutional review process will be like. We want more than just the talk on expanding the political space and politics of inclusivity, to dealing with issues of public interest, including corruption, recovery of looted public resources, leadership and integrity for people working in public service, and the national greed that is currently affecting our nation.

Several commentators have noted that the political life of Kenya has been marked by ethnicity in the formation of political groupings largely dominated by five big tribes, flawed and stuck electoral system with political parties without any firm ideology, large scale abuse of rule of law and everlasting concentration of power in the hands a of a few individuals and institutions.

The system perpetuates a culture of formation and reformation of ethnic alliances for the purpose of electoral contests and not necessarily for players who are interested in leading the country to any level or facilitate the democratization process in Kenya.

It is time we prioritised and revisited our national values and relooked at our electoral processes so that the process leads to improving the lives of Kenya and entrench a democratic culture in the country. Public appointments must reflect the face of Kenya and not only those who won the elections. The issues of dynasties are global, and should not worry anybody in so long as we have strong and independent institutions, that provide oversight on our processes.

Our electoral system must be reviewed to establish a system that promotes inclusivity, build stronger political parties and resourcing of the registrar of political parties to play the role of oversight on management of parties effectively.

We must nurture and respect the rule of law, not the current selective application of the law, vetting of people filling positions of leadership and public offices, respect the one third gender rule and enhance people’s participation in decision making.

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Story By Victor Bwire
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