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It’s Kenyans who choose president, not the 'system'

They vote not to assuage anyone’s interests but their own.

In Summary
  • Omwenga alleged, to my consternation, that the said ‘system’ is not ready to ‘give’ power to either William Ruto or Raila.
  • His assertions that the transition should not threaten the system are therefore neither here nor there.
President Uhuru Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta
Image: FILE

In his article in the Star edition of June 6, 2020, titled, “Why Uhuru Needs a third term” Sam Omwenga argued that President Uhuru Kenyatta should stay in power as a ‘transitional president’ post 2022 with Raila Odinga as a ‘powerful prime minister’.

In his opinion, this would appease a group whose details he did not disclose, which he christened ‘the system’. He also alleged, to my consternation, that the said ‘system’ is not ready to ‘give’ power to either William Ruto or Raila.

I find this axiomatization retrogressive since it suggests that Kenyans do not elect their leaders; rather the leaders are selected for them in order to appease some cabals and groups. Further, it purports that power is given to the selected as opposed to being wielded by persons elected by Kenyans in their trust. It would be a dereliction of my duty as a citizen to allow this erstwhile retrogressive view to stand.

Every five years, Kenyan voters troop to polling stations across the country to elect their leaders. They do so to exercise their democratic right and to elect those who they believe will better their lives and lead them to prosperity. They do not do so to assuage anyone’s interests but their own.

Kenyans therefore elect their leaders, including the president, and not the so-called ‘system’. Consequently, the existence of the ‘system’ that selects and imposes leaders on Kenyans is at best chimerical.

President Uhuru Kenyatta completes his second term in office in 2022. The Constitution of Kenya, as it is now, provides that this will be his final term in office. This is a diktat and come 2022, if this will still be the case, Uhuru Kenyatta must hand over power to the person who will be announced as duly elected as president by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission in the general election.

However, Kenyans in 2010, while adopting the Constitution envisioned that in future there may be need to amend the constitution. In doing so Articles 256 and 257 were incorporated in the Constitution to guide such a process.

If Kenyans in their own wisdom, before 2022, in a referendum initiated and conducted in accordance with the law governing the same, decide to amend the constitution and abolish presidential term limits and create more positions at the apex of the executive it will be on their own volition and not that of the ‘system’.

Subsequently, when the 2022 election is held and Kenyans decide to reelect President Uhuru Kenyatta, then Kenyans will have demonstrated that they have belief in the person of Uhuru Kenyatta to lead them for another term. This will be a decision Kenyans themselves will have made and not the cabal Omwenga claims should be mollified.

Omwenga’s assertions that the transition should not threaten the system are therefore neither here nor there since it’s Kenyans themselves, at the ballot, who decide who their president will be and the term limits thereof. It would be mirthful banter to suggest otherwise.