REFORMS AND DEMOCRACY

Change the electoral system or else...

Kenya's woes have been poll-related and politically instigated with unspeakable consequences.

In Summary
  • If the country abandons the present electoral system and settles for a radically different system and format, campaign fiasco and party nomination flaws will be a thing of the past in future polls.
  • The decision to form the Building Bridges Initiative to diagnose the country’s political problems answers to national unity dreams espoused by the nationalists at independence.

Feuds within the ruling Jubilee Party and premature 2022 campaigns are impediments to the unity and peace pact by President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

The decision to form the Building Bridges Initiative to diagnose the country’s political problems answers to national unity dreams espoused by the nationalists at independence.

The team’s formation was informed by the elusive cohesion, suspicion and mistrust between followers of political leaders beyond the election date as has been the case. Common sense dictates that the BBI founded out of the ashes of post-election violence should prioritise scrutiny and diagnose the causes of perennial election chaos.

 
 

The country’s woes have been poll-related and politically instigated with unspeakable consequences. For instance, hitherto chest-thumping incites and provokes losers beyond tolerance. Unity in diversity evaporates and the campaign mood remains and persists as is the case now. Regrettably, marginalisation and dominance ensue as fear engulfs the nation each election year.

If the country abandons the present electoral system and settles for a radically different system and format, campaign fiasco and party nomination flaws will be a thing of the past in future polls.

Kenyans need a foolproof electoral system devoid of chaos, voter bribery, ethnicity,   gender discrimination and manipulation. One viable option is proportional representation, in which voters choose parties instead of individual village elders and freelance political practitioners.

The system could elevate village political entities to ideological outfits, reduce election costs and tone down political temperature and other forms of injustices. Parliamentary parties must start the process of restoring the confidence of Kenyans in an election.

The one million dollar question is, will the BBI report be a replica of the Committee of Experts document that could not stand the test of time, or will it be another reference material on dusty office shelves?

South Africa has conducted six peaceful elections under the proportional representation system. The number of votes cast for a party determines the number of seats it gets. Individual party nominees in the rainbow nation are posted by the electoral agency to any of the electoral units in the country where they serve a full term without interruption. Voter bribery, electoral violence and ethnicity are unheard of under the system.

Envisaged constitutional and legal reforms will be incomplete without relooking at the Counties Act with a view to eliminating obstacles and cobwebs identified on the path to the success of devolution. Issues for consideration are the mergers of devolved units into regional states or reverting to the now-defunct administrative boundaries.

Some of the regional economic blocs formed by the county governments should be transformed into viable regional governments headed by a governor general. The existing counties should be headed by governor generals’ appointees. Wards and parliamentary constituencies should also be merged as part of a cost-cutting measure.

 
 
 

Cacophonous voices are an impediment to dreams of a peaceful Kenya. For instance, a faction led by Deputy President William Ruto on the presidential campaign trail believes that the elevation of Interior cS Fred Matiang'i and a truce between Uhuru and Raila are ploys to block the DP in 2022.

According to Ruto allies, Matiang'i or Raila are hot contenders for the Jubilee ticket that could lock “heir to the throne” from the race. These assertions are by all accounts,  unfortunate and malicious.

Acrimonious exchanges between the ruling party factions are meant to scuttle or influence the outcome of the BBI report due to made public any time soon. The Ruto led opposition campaigns to the enactment of the new Constitution in a referendum nine years ago. It is little wonder that he is leading opposition to the BBI  today.

Unfortunately, BBI, on its last lap has acquired a new rival, the Parliamentary Committee on constitutional implementation. The Committee has commenced the collation of views from the public on contentious issues in the supreme law.

Former Attorney General Githu Muigai, who was also a commissioner in the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission has already presented his views to the Committee whose motive is unclear to Kenyans.

Endless jitters are not without a precedent in a country where chaos and political wrangles is a lucrative industry. The Kenyattas and Odingas are hot political commodities on sale during campaigns and beyond. The handshake that rekindled hope and peace cut off the livelihoods of many political merchants, cronies and sycophants across the divide.

The one million dollar question is, could the BBI team report be a replica of the Committee of Experts document that could not stand the test of time, or will it be another reference material on dusty office shelves?

The Committee, a product of the 2007 post-election violence was mandated to harmonise constitution drafts generated at Bomas doctored in Naivasha and Kilifi.

Siaya governor. [email protected]