Relatives should not just inherit the seat

In Summary

• The wife of the late Paul Koinange now wants to stand for the Kiambaa seat against the family nominee

• Family members of a deceased politician can benefit from a 'sympathy vote' in by-elections


Last week, the Koinange family settled on Lenah, the daughter of Mbiyu Koinange, to replace the late Paul Koinange as MP for Kiambaa.

But now Koinange's wife June, a former Kiambu Women Representative, has declared her interest in becoming Kiambaa MP (P21).

Both Lenah and June are probably very fine individuals but should families decide who inherits political constituencies? Is this democratic?

Lenah or June will get the Jubilee nomination for Kiambaa which will make their election almost automatic. Both candidates would be convenient for Jubilee because a 'sympathy vote' will make their election easier.

Mutula Kilonzo succeeded his father as Makueni senator after his untimely death in 2013.  Just this month, Abdulkadir Haji was elected unopposed to succeed his father Yusuf Haji as Garissa senator. There are many more such examples.

In 1832 Britain passed the Reform Bill to stop landowners owning 'rotten boroughs' where they chose who became a Member of Parliament. It seems very old-fashioned that today a family can still choose who should succeed an incumbent who has passed on.

Political parties should look for the most capable candidate rather than just endorsing a relative of a deceased politician.

Quote of the day: "Studying physics, mathematics, and chemistry is worshipping God."

Fethullah Gülen
The Turkish theologian was born on April 27, 1941