Saturday, December 8, 2007

It's them or them

For a moment I want to believe that the recent steadman polls are credible and that either Raila or Kibaki will win the elections. That being the case my concern is that we will not have made any significant progress.

Kenyan politics being what they are; we have allowed a culture of defection and manipulation of political parties so that they no longer exists on the basis of ideology but rather as vehichles to get into parliament. During the nomination there was alot of fury as candidates who lost blamed the top leadership of the parties for rigging the nominations. After these incidents candidates switched parties and are now convasing voters.

Consider the situation in Australia where the incumbent John Howard resigned after losing an election, he went with his running mate. He took responsibility for the parties dismal performance. It would have been ridiculous if he had defected to the Greens or crossed over to the Christian Democrats. If he was a seasoned Kenyan politician he would have jumped ship, (we have seen the leader of oppossition in Kenya supporting the government for a second term).

The instituion of oppossition in my understanding means that political parties seek to address issues in a different way and that in most cases they are motivated by different ideologies. In Kenya we have witnessed jumping of ship that can only be interpreted as oportunistic political esurvival tacttics. By allowing people to defect left and right we now have a situation where both leading parties represent the best and the worst politicians in Kenyan history so whichever way the vote swings we will not have fundamental changes.

Take an instance of the Anglo leasing scandal which of the two governments is likely to prosecute the perpertrators? Is it ODM with a former permanent secretary of internal security or PNU with a former minister in the same docket?

It makes no sense that people are fighting and in some areas(Kuresoi reportedly politically instigated clashes) killing each other for 'their' party. Parties which will wellcome defectors without questioning their past and looking if they reflect the parties aspirations. Of what use is it for a party to have amongst its ranks people who have been mentioned or investigated for curruption and abuse of office? We have weak parties whose decision making mechanisms are still one man shows, that are revived every 5 years in time for an election. Because we pride ourselves in democracy we must start by reforming our political parties so that they are accountable to the membership. The membership of the parties must also committ themselves to participate in internal political affairs and through that we shall develop a much vibrant and consiouc society.

For us to have a government that will take action on both pre colonial and post colonial errors we need a breed of leadership that has not benefiited directly from the status quo and on that basis I see the forth comming elections as part of the long journey that Kenya must take as we walk towards a better government. (With due respect to all the people who have blown the whistle while they were still in government).

Am proud that at the end of it all we will have played our noble civic duty, whether the elected president delivers the kind of leadership that responds to the plight of people in Korogocho and Kibera and other marginalized group is another thing.


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