• High table compromises make it hard for constitutional organs to function properly.
• Take, for instance, in the previous Handshake regime. You couldn’t tell the difference between the Majority and the Minority side in Parliament
To attain the zenith of democracy, Kenya must move beyond the vestiges and the hangovers of the Westminster legal framework.
Democracy matures when the constitutional institutions are empowered to operate as envisaged by the law of the land. The 2010 Kenyan Constitution moved the premium from individual leaders to organs of government and their respective institutions. We moved from the big boys' distribution to a legal distribution between the millions of Kenyans. It is from this architecture that the 2010 Constitution was birthed.
Therefore, it is mendacious of the ruling class to believe or imagine that their compromise on the high table can bring forth a better republic. Whether you call it a handshake, bipartisan talks, a merger, cooperation, or any flowery term you would like to call it, any of these attempts remain a coup on the legitimate will of the people and go against the spirit of Article 1 of our supreme law.
A nation will always face new and emerging challenges and, for it to move on and become prosperous, these issues must be addressed within the four corners of the Constitution. The prosperity of a nation is tied to its institutions and not its leaders, as the former endures while the latter is a moving target.
It is in light of this that the nation cannot be adjusting its national focus every five years to accommodate those who want to sit at the high table without using the door. Our prosperity as a nation is dependent on our fidelity to the Constitution and its enabling laws, which, in turn, establishes institutions that should be viewed as sacred.
On August 15, 2022, the IEBC announced the winner of the presidential elections. The Supreme Court, being the final arbiter and the only institution mandated by law to have a second bite at the cherry on the presidential election's outcome, went ahead to uphold this win. This verdict brought an end to the election circle regarding the presidential contests.
All those who might have been aggrieved by this turn of events have very limited options regarding the subject matter. They have two options: either to join the opposition and offer oversight or go back to the drawing board and prepare for the next electoral cycle, which the same Constitution stipulates is in just five years.
Our elections cannot be measured on the premise of the candidate who lost but on the strength of compliance with the law. For Kenya to be counted among mature democracies, we must run away from this political appeasement culture. Let the winner reign, and the loser take his position on overseeing the government. We create a mockery of our democracy, if we continue bending over backwards to appease election losers on the premise that they got a certain number of votes. Whereas that must be respected, we have to destroy this thought that an election loser has half of the country.
For the umpteenth time, let's go back to basics: What is democracy? It is the ability for people to exercise their right under universal suffrage where votes matter to singular digits, so much so that a winner can be declared with a difference of one vote.
High table compromises make it hard for constitutional organs to function properly. Take, for instance, in the previous Handshake regime. You couldn’t tell the difference between the Majority and the Minority side in Parliament and with this, Wanjiku lost a lot because there was no proper oversight on institutions due to the camaraderie.
Assume if each gubernatorial candidate was to pull a Raila Odinga, would we have a nation? Or the MCA candidates? We must not allow this Kanu regime modus of political cooption. The nation is greater than its leaders.
Joe Khalende is a lawyer and political strategist