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December 14, 2018

Single term will remove desire to steal elections

President Uhuru Kenyatta takes oath of office during the swearing-in ceremony for his second term at Moi International Sports Center, Kasarani on November 28, 2017. PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta takes oath of office during the swearing-in ceremony for his second term at Moi International Sports Center, Kasarani on November 28, 2017. PSCU

Moving from presidential to the parliamentary system will enhance diversity and promote proportional representation. Within proportionate representation the parties will allocate seats or have strengths depending on the total number of votes they get. MPs will have strengths depending on the number of registered voters they represent.

On a seven-year non-renewable term for the president, France had it but abolished and reverted to two five-year terms. Therefore if it is to be implemented here the pitfalls that France faced need to be studied in full and put under consideration.

For a president elected by a college of the Legislature to have any sense or impact on our governance needs proportional representation. This is because our constituencies don't reflect population size. You find a constituency like Garsen with 14,000 registered voters and Igembe Central with 160,000. Yet their MPs have an equal vote in Parliament, which isn't fair. In a scenario where there is no proportionality, Kenyans are denied a fair say on the election of their CEO.

A parliamentary system needs to come strictly with proportional representation so every vote can count.

Kenya's electoral violence cycle comes when an incumbent president is defending his seat. That makes Kenyan politics too divisive and at times violent. Therefore the two proposals of seven years non-renewable term and a parliamentary system will help bring down the high stakes related to elections.

A single term will also remove the desire to steal elections to retain power. But there is a need to have a watertight formula that cures this problem in all the other seats.

Recruitment to public service on merit and considering ethnic or regional balance will help address marginalisation as well as deal with rampant negative ethnicity and hatred. It can be addressed through stiffer penalties against those who carry out skewed recruitment.

I don't believe in abolition of the EACC. The institution should instead be strengthened and made fully independent from political patronage.

Implementation of the TJRC, NCIC, Krigler and Ndungu reports will correct past wrongs.

Gitile is leadership and management lecturer at Multimedia University of Kenya and former commissioner NCIC.

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