Kenya urgently needs a political party that prioritises the economically disadvantaged. 2017 is an election year in Kenya and as Kenyans, we all know that means politics will be the main topic of conversation from the barroom to the bedroom and everywhere else in between.
Sitting in South Africa, I’ve been thinking about what Kenya needs to radically shake things up on the political front, and I have come to the conclusion that Kenya needs a local version of South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party.
This party would require brave leaders, who understand the need to be kind to the poor and economically disadvantaged and relentless in their battle to create a just, equitable society.
Such a party would have to know that while eventual power is within reach, overnight success is not going to happen until Kenyans think of tribe only in the way Tom Mboya suggested.
We all know that Kenya’s history is defined by tribalism that transcends the economic and political realms. Mboya remained proud of his Luo ethnicity and “positive tribalism,” which embraced the comforts, stability, security and communality that positive tribalism can bring, especially to the less privileged.
The Kenyan EFF should be prepared for the bigger, established parties running them down while attempting to steal their revolutionary clothes and adjusting them to fit their own ends. They would have to be strong enough to withstand political and other forms of bribery and intimidation from the state and rival political parties.
They should be progressive on issues of gender equity, tribal and racial equality.
Their mission should include the provision of free universal health, a just and fair pensions system and other social safety nets.
This party would have the effect of concentrating the minds of other political parties to start thinking of the people and get the voters to see that their economic upliftment is more important than their tribal loyalties.
The Kenyan EFF would have to show that just because it is pro-poor it is not anti-rich. It’s biggest challenge would be to show that its policies could work to create a successful country with a population driven to unite for the good of the whole nation.
Policies that would enable all Kenyans to see quick and sustainable economic development.
Policies and practices that would bring about a highly educated workforce that created, used and sold cutting-edge technology.
But also policies that would persuade supporters to be prepared for the costs and changes necessary for their programmes to succeed.
This democratic socialism would require a radical transformation of the society.