Guest post By Barry. O
There is something that has to be said about Kumekucha, whether you agree or disagree with bloggers on the site it truly is a great forum for debate and discussion. With that said, there are a number of issues that I have been waiting to discuss here but was mainly waiting to see if history would be with the election of Barrack Obama. Now that history has been made there are a few things that I took from the recent US election that I feel would greatly benefit the electorate in Kenya and indeed the country as well.
For the most part it still seems as though most Kenyans support leaders based on two main characteristics: tribe and personality. Going by the looks of things this has not augured well for Kenya. If I am a member of the Kikuyu community without ties to any powerful leader be it politician or businessman/woman, how has having a Kikuyu president benefited me? Have my living standards improved, does my family have better access to education and healthcare? The community where I live, is it now safer or do I feel more secure now that one of my “own” is in state house? What about employment are my chances of employment significantly better now that one of my “own” is in power? This is not to single out the Kikuyu people as the same question can be posed to members of the Kalenjin community or hypothetically by any other community that should happen to have one of their “own” ended up in state house. If the answers to the above questions are yes, then I must ask if you are content to succeed amongst those who suffer largely through not fault of their own but because one their “own” is not in power knowing full well that in the next election your circumstances could end up in the opposite direction(unless you manage to have your guy in power for 24 yrs!)? If you are someone who prefers a leader who all KENYANS can call “OURS” then let me suggest a few things.
One thing that I took a way from the US elections was that each candidate, whether it was Mc Cain, Clinton, Obama, Romney or even Palin had a record that could be identified, analyzed and evaluated against another. A great portion of this information was PUBLIC, that is to say that even a high school student with a keen knowledge for politics could go online or to the library and look up how each candidate voted on important issues or if the candidate voted at all. Most importantly perhaps, is that each candidate has a fairly identifiable ideology, be it conservative, liberal , moderate, republican or democrat. In Kenya we seem to just have parties and rhetoric. I can recall a few months ago before we were consumed by the waki report, a comment by Kiraitu where he said he and Raila had no differences just different ideologies. I asked myself what are those ideologies? Are they self evident, and perhaps I was just too blind to identify them? Back to US election analysis, because US politicians know that a record is important as well as having a message that resonates with the people it is extremely rare you find a candidate come from obscurity to make a bid to run for the Presidency. The reason for this is because the American voter has no record to evaluate that candidate, and if your record is without substance and thin, like say Sarah Palin your fate is quite often sealed the moment you announce you are running. We Kenyans need to be the kind of electorate that looks beyond rhetoric, let us know which MPs refused to be taxed, If the Waki report is brought to parliament let us know who voted for its implementation who did not and why who is alleged to have done what and why, who was not mentioned and why. Let those who wish to run for the Presidency explain to us how they have voted in parliament on other sensitive issues of the past, then we can have something to consider, evaluate and vote for or against.
When ODM was clamouring for Majimbo I really wish they had chosen another term, something simple like devolution of power or de-centralization. Kenyans would be much better off. In my eyes devolution would make becoming an MP that much harder. Councillors and local government would be strengthened and have more power to address local issues and based on how people performed in these roles would be a good indicator as to how they would perform as MPs or even President because now there would be an identifiable RECORD for voters to examine. Devolution would not mean each province would govern itself exclusively, there would be some room for Provincial authority but this would be subjected to the supreme laws of the Republic. Devolution would not mean the exclusion of certain communities in different provinces on the contrary each and every KENYAN could live where they pleased and own land by RIGHT. What it would mean perhaps, is that certain towns may determine through referendum that for example night clubs close by a certain time, schools in certain towns may determine which languages teachers are allowed to teach in and other unique laws provided that they were not discriminatory against any one community or tribe. I think if we had this in Kenya the electorate would no longer be held captive by tribal leaders who drive around Nairobi in expensive cars and lavish houses and only come home to visit or to ask for votes!
In closing I want to add my two cents to this whole Waki Report debate. As many people have commented and indeed witnessed, the post election violence of 2007 was one of the darkest days in Kenyan history and for us to act like we can just wish it away is not only immoral and foolish it is extremely insensitive to the innocent families who were victims and lost loved ones. I join Raila, Martha Karua, Mudavadi, Orengo, Kilonzo, Uhuru and others who have called for the full implementation for the report. I like many others Kenyans voted for ODM and even when the controversial if not fraudulent results were announced I saluted the call for MASS ACTION by Raila Odinga and others. Peaceful demonstrations should never be banned and disrupted in the violent manner in which they were by the police. At no time can I remember Raila or any other ODM member call for MASS VIOLENCE. I do not recall Raila calling for the forcible evacuation of Kikuyus or Kisiis. So if you fought for Raila and ODM, I am assuming you fought against election fraud and the POLICE who used live bullets, if the calls for MASS ACTION were misinterpreted than I think Raila should apologize for those who misinterpreted him and nothing else as far as MASS ACTION goes in response to the fraudulent election. If there is evidence that shows Raila incited violence by suggesting certain communities be evacuated from certain areas, than I would hope to see Raila and other names amongst those on Waki List. Even in Kenya you are innocent until proven guilty and given the fact that our MPs have the resources to hire the best lawyers in the land, proving their innocence in a Kenyan tribunal would be elementary compared to having to go before the ICC. By coming out and dismissing a report that has only made suggestions you make yourself seem as if you have something to hide in the court of public opinion. As to those threatening to quit parties over INDIVIDUAL stands taken on the report I would recommend that those people fight from within their parties as it is for the party’s ideals and philosophy that you are a member in the first place or is it the individual? I hope my ramblings have not stirred up too much and I have tried to be as non-partisan as possible I look forward to feedback positive and negative.
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