ETHNIC POLITICS

Kenya needs big national parties

In Summary

• Deputy President William Ruto wanted all his allies to fold their parties into his United Democratic Alliance

• Over the weekend, in Migori, he indicated that he is now willing to work with smaller regional parties to secure votes

National parties existed after Independence with Kanu and Kadu but were then destroyed or discredited by the emergence of the one-party state. The return of multiparty politics then gave birth to a multitude of small parties.

Deputy President William Ruto wanted all his allies to fold their outfits into his new national party, the UDA. But supporters like Moses Kuria and Mwangi Kiunjuri refused.

Over the weekend in Migori, Ruto indicated he would work with small parties that he requires to break up regional bloc votes. Ruto was bowing to realities on the ground but his original objective was noble.

Kenya will only move past ethnic politics when it has two or three large parties competing on ideology. The Hustler Nation can be a kind of 'Labour' Party representing the common man. There is still room for a capitalist national party (like the Republicans or Conservatives) and maybe a Green party.

The small regional parties remain guns for hire, votes in exchange for goodies. They perpetuate ethnic politics. 

It is a pity that Jubilee has been allowed to disintegrate and that Kanu is moribund. Kenya needs genuinely national parties.

Quote of the day: "Personalities and fame pass; the revolution must remain."

Samora Machel
The first Mozambique President was born on September 29, 1933