Let's Give One Party A Clear Majority
What our country needs from the forthcoming elections is a government with a clear majority in Parliament to enable it to implement a clear programme of reform. If we send to Parliament representatives of many parties with no one party having a clear majority, we will force these new MPs and Senators to repeat ‘coalition rule’.
Our experience with Coalition Governments has been as unfortunate as our experience with one-party rule. If we vote in a Parliament fractured into many parties with different programs, not always of reform, we will see a repeat of what the current MPs are doing – buying and selling their votes in Parliament, and shifting loyalties to and from different political parties.
With a de facto coalition government since mid-2003 and a de jure coalition government since 2008, these past ten years have seen divided government in place in Kenya. Policies have either failed to be agreed upon, or when agreed have failed to be implemented in united fashion. The most obvious example is the continually impeded implementation of the Constitution after August 2010.
The result is that the country has been unable to achieve development at the pace Kenya is manifestly capable of. We have the right demographics in human resources, a driving entrepreneurial energy and the technical skills to move this country massively forward. We are held back because politicians and their financial backers have put themselves before the country. This was the position during the Moi years. After 2002 we expected that the approach would be different and nationalistic.
The Kibaki administration of 2003 dashed Kenya’s hopes. We saw them ignore their partners in the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) government; they ran the 2005 Referendum with a divided Cabinet; we saw them then drive the others out of government; we saw them run an exclusionary government from 2006-2007. The result was the disastrous ‘election’ of 2007 and the post-election violence that followed.
After that, still refusing to learn any lesson from the tragic violence, and still in disregard of the national interest, they were prepared in January 2008, to run a government again exclusively controlled by themselves. However in February-March the National Accord and Coalition Government was put in place. Notwithstanding that agreement, they carry out sabotage of national goals even now because they are part of the coalition administration within which they manipulate the slowing down of implementation.
The lesson is clear. We have to put an end to coalition administrations if the 67% who demanded the Constitution are to obtain its benefits for all. The way to do this is to vote in a party of reform with a clear majority. This alone is how reform can decisively be carried out.We are not unique in needing that clear majority to ensure reform and progress. A familiar example of this took place in the U.K. from 1905 to 1945. The Conservative Party had refused to bring in change over that period to achieve social justice and greater social equity in the country. The Labour Party pressed a programme to that end. In 1930 there was a National Coalition Government with the Labour Leader as the Prime Minister. (It was Ramsay Macdonald, the father of Malcolm Macdonald, Kenya’s last Governor and first British High Commissioner here!). Despite this, Labour could not pass through their programme.
It was not until the 1945 Election that they won a clear majority and then formed the Government, this time without the Conservatives. Then they passed through a clear programme of social responsibility and introduced and put into place the fairer Welfare State, including the National Health Service, greater educational opportunities for all, and relief from unemployment. They too, in the years earlier, had had huge unemployment, social inequality and discontent, unfair educational opportunities, and huge doctor’s bills and ill health.
It was only when the party of Reform (Labour there) was given a clear majority in Parliament that it was able to implement the Welfare State which the overwhelming majority of people in the country wanted. We too must follow that route of the clear majority in the coming Elections to implement our Constitution. It expressly sets out social justice as the clear aim of all our future governments: see Articles 19, 10, 21 and the Preamble. To bring about this clear majority it is key that 1. We must register. 2. We must vote. Every single vote counts for Reform.
The writer is a lawyer