I have been talking to quite a number of “horseless” (don’t belong to any political party or tribe, at least in their thinking) free thinkers in recent times and I have to admit a lot of what they are saying has started making a lot of sense to me.
Currently the ODM and PNU arms of government are trying to reach common ground over controversial parts of the constitution. ODM wants both a president and Prime Minister with no clear final authority. They want a powerful parliament that will be more or less the final authority.
For starters such a system of government will NOT work. It has NEVER worked anywhere else in the world. It is really bizarre that a country where the current constitution has not worked is confident that a hybrid system will work. HOW????
Have you ever heard of any organization that has no clear hierarchy of authority? Can you imagine a company with a figurehead managing director and a powerful general manager? Where does the buck stop? When the board demands an explanation the MD will just shift blame to the GM and vice versa and nothing will ever get done because nobody is accountable.
In other words our current grand coalition government system is much better because although we have two principals we all know who the real boss is don’t we? Still the truth is that they have had lots of problems. Now you try and imagine a constitution that has given both equal powers? Chaos!!!
Secondly if you were a rich millionaire and wanted to bribe your way through the system, which system is easier to compromise? A powerful president or an entire parliament? Now before you rush to draw your conclusions let me warn you that you have to be a Kenyan who understands our system well to answer this question correctly. To an outsider the answer is obviously one individual, the president. To Kenyans who know better and have carefully observed what has been going on behind the scenes with both the last parliament and the current one, the answer is different. Firstly a president is very difficult to access. On the other hand parliament is sooooo easy to access. All you need to do is show them the money. If you doubt what I am saying just do your careful investigations and find out how Ruto defeated a censure motion against him. Secondly it is much easier to nail a president who was compromised than it is to nail an entire parliament that was bribed.
Let me cut to the chase. The international community is convinced that all we need in Kenya is a brand new constitution. They have spent millions to sell this idea to the Kenyan public and the result is that today the ordinary mwananchi on the ground now believes that all their problems will disappear magically and overnight if a new constitution is enacted. Do you guys know that when Kenya got her independence most Kenyans were sure that they would move from Korogocho to Muthaiga right away and many things would be free? I kid you not. The donor community had better start allocating cash for dealing with the dangerous hopelessness Kenyans will end up with after the passing of a new constitution assuming that one is passed.
The bottom line is that the ruling class in Kenya is already designing ways to beat the new system. So in fact things will be a lot worse if a new constitution is enacted.
My suggestions is that if we must have a new constitution, then retain a powerful president and get rid of the Prime Minister nonsense. Reduce the powers of the president if you must by getting parliament to approve key appointments and big decisions. Otherwise what is best for Kenya is to retain the status quo. It is our best bet for dealing with the ruling class.
P.S. For democracy to prosper we have to deal with poverty first. Democracy cannot come before we have dealt with poverty. Read history. It did Not happen in Britain and it certainly did NOT happen in America. So what makes you think it will happen in Kenya? Carefully examine the great emerging economies of today like Singapore. They did it with a strong benevolent dictator ready to make tough decisions. How the hell do you make the kind of tough decisions we need in Kenya with democracy and a bloated system of government where nobody has the final authority?