Kenyan political system main cause of tensions and poverty

Our political system, for over the years the main cause of tensions and poverty in Kenya is still intact.

In Summary

•Media seems to be giving a lot of space to the endorsement projects, while they could have set a public agenda on performance and service delivery.

•The media pushing the dominant party or coalition thinking should be discouraged, and political parties made on invest to strengthening themselves, conducting internal elections, party primaries and nominations according to the law.

A crowd at Uhuru Park during a political rally
POLITICS: A crowd at Uhuru Park during a political rally
Image: FILE

We are at it again; media is already setting an agenda towards the formation and election of political leaders on party coalitions. The prevailing national narrative is being shaped around political formations pitting themselves against each other, with little attention on what hoard voting has cost the country.

Media seems to be giving a lot of space to the endorsement projects, while they could have set a public agenda on performance and service delivery.The media pushing the dominant party or coalition thinking should be discouraged, and political parties made on invest to strengthening themselves, conducting internal elections, party primaries and nominations according to the law.

Political parties are publicly funded, and must do some basic minimum things, before entering into election coalitions- this is encouraging laziness and monologue in our search for elected leaders. Even with the political parties and Elections Acts, there is still serious confusion in the political sector in the country and as such we likely to see the same individuals and parties dominate both the county, national and senate systems for a number of years.

Our political system, for over the years the main cause of tensions and poverty in Kenya is still intact. The same people who have dominated Kenya’s political and by extension economic system are still in charge of the reform process of the country- and being interested and having been beneficiaries of the old skewed system that has seen them dominate.

We need to push our political party process to such a level, otherwise achieving the desired economic and social goals will still remain elusive; they are highly tied to the political processes and the quality of our political leadership is very important.

The legal regime has largely to put in place structures that would instil discipline amongst the politicians so that we at least bring sanity in the political/economic spheres of the country. The current registrar of political parties is too weak to help the country realise the much-needed reforms.

Our political parties while big in names largely operate like personal fiefdoms of certain founding politicians. Many of political parties remain dormant between elections only to resurface during elections or when clamoring for funds under the political parties Act.

Few of the parties abide by the law, which provided for proactive publication of information about political parties operations, membership expenditures and source of funds.The Political system and processes in South African and Tanzania, while limit unlimited democracy, show a mature, structured and system oriented approach than our individual based party politics.

While in SA and Tanzania, the individuals selected through their party process might be problematic, at least they have a structured and documented process. We need to push our political party process to such a level, otherwise achieving the desired economic and social goals will still remain elusive; they are highly tied to the political processes and the quality of our political leadership is very important.

The past and current by elections around the country are already showing serious matters that require to focus. Matungu and Machakos are showing how public servants and resources are being used in election related matters.

Electoral campaigns are not official government business hence there can never be any justification whatsoever for using public resources to conduct what is

essentially unofficial and private business. Media and other agencies must monitor, document and publish such events with a view to having the culprits prosecuted because using public resources towards political campaigns constitutes blatant waste and misuse of our scarce resources.

Public officers must remain non-partisan in the electoral process and not engage in political activity either through acts that could compromise their political neutrality or acting as agents of political parties.Section 16 (1) of the Public Officer Ethics Act prohibits public officers from participating in partisan politics. Officers incurring expenses including per diems, travel costs and related to involve themselves in party activities must be surcharged.

Media and institutions including the Commission for Administration of Justice, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, Teachers ServiceCommission, National Police Service Commission and others must be vigilant and expose such officers.

This constitutes abuse of public office and the Public Service Commission has clear guidelines on such breaches.Political parties, a number of which currently receive public funding, must be monitored and forced to abide by the law. Political parties must respect the democratic choices of their party supporters during the nomination process and avoid imposing unpopular candidates on the electorate.

As already seen, most of the violence is being witnessed associated with the political activities and which are likely to heighten during the nominations is mainly because of voters resisting the imposition of unpopular candidates on them.Media should ensure that political parties are made to uphold the Electoral Code of Conduct as relates to conducting their nomination exercises.

Media exposure of parties violating the law must be followed up by action by the IEBC, which if cases proved should punish the parties and/or candidates violating the legal requirements of the said Code of Conduct during nominations.

The failure to strictly implement the Political Parties Act, has allowed failure to instil discipline amongst the politicians so that we at least bring sanity in the political/economic spheres of the country. We have parties that operate like personal fiefdoms of certain founding politicians.