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January 16, 2019

Is it time to adopt a parliamentary democracy?


I will admit this: I rolled my eyes long and hard when Raila Odinga announced that he would not participate in the election. But in retrospect, I think it was a clever, powerful move, especially after all the irregularities that happened yet again: If the IEBC has owners, step back, and let everyone see how few clothes the emperor has.

But in looking forward, I look back, too. I look at NASA’s declared objectives for the people’s assembly, for the planned task-force that is to analyse several different subject matters, and develop recommendations for adoption in the county governments. And I wonder: What on earth have you guys done the past five years? Would just this not have been your job in the first place? NASA, and its predecessor vehicles, simply have no researched polices, no actual agenda that goes beyond a copy-paste Powerpoint file. They were the opposition to a government that gave them opportunities on a platter month after month, and had not done more than loud shrieking, unfulfilled threats (or promises?) to really, really disclose the people behind the corrupt deals, and a knee-jerk ‘no’ to everything that the Jubilee government proposed.

Having no policies – and I know I’ve written about it a gazillion times, pole – is by no means unique to NASA. There are no parties with policies in Kenya, mostly because there are no real parties. While we can disagree on Boniface Mwangi’s methods, I think we can all agree that he has dedicated himself to activism, and his election campaign. But he – and any other serious politician – needs to take the next step and start building parties now, and be seen doing things that make a difference for people, and give them a good reason to vote. Not just cobble together yet another ‘vehicle’ half-a- year before the election.

I also think that devolution has given ODM/Cord/NASA a powerful platform to show that they can run things differently. Have they done so? No. Have they created a regional alliance of ODM/Cord counties and created regional strength? No. Devolution means that even if you don’t have the presidency, you can still make a very tangible impact in the lives of many people. Unfortunately, across the board, for Jubilee, NASA, everyone, devolution primarily meant that corruption was devolved first.

This look back makes me wonder on what basis NASA now claim to be able to improve this.

And, confusingly, I found myself agreeing with what was reported as the position of several Jubilee members: It’s time to move to a parliamentary democracy.

The writer is an independent analyst




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