As in the US, we must have one-term transitional presidency

Failure to do either means the system will continue to control who is sworn in as President for another 50 years.

In Summary

• There are two ways to go about this. One is to craft a strategic plan to implement BBI and allow Raila Odinga to serve a one-term transition presidency.

•  Two is for the people to force the system out and this can only be accomplished by a Ruto-backed presidential run by Raila

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga outside Harambee House on March 9, 2018.
HANDSHAKE: President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga  outside Harambee House on March 9, 2018.
Image: JACK OWUOR

Long gone are the days we used to look to the West, and especially the US and Britain as examples of governments we should emulate.

In the US, less than majority of voters elected a president in 2016, who few disagree was the least qualified for that office in the country’s history. In Britain, while the monarchy is holding steadfast to customs and traditions, the UK has come from being led by men and women such as Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher, to people like Boris Johnson with their divisive leadership.

Bad as Johnson leadership might be, the traditional and fundamentals of a stable British government system are in place where democracy and rule of law flourishes.

The same cannot be said about the US, where most analysts agree Trump has singlehandedly turned America into one not recognisable compared to just a few years ago when it comes to adherence to the rule of law and democracy.

The House of Representatives, which is under the control of Democrats, impeached Trump but the Senate, which is under the control of Republicans, acquitted him.

The acquittal has emboldened him to now go after his political enemies with a vengeance, if he could, while rewarding his family, friends, and cronies. As part of this, he has co-opted US Attorney General William Barr, who Democrats say has become more of a personal lawyer and fixer than the independent attorney he is supposed to be.

Trump’s lawlessness, antics, and downright embarrassing and unpresidential conduct has even some of those who voted him saying enough. Polls show the majority of voters either loathe or do not want Trump re-elected.

What is amazing is that for the first time in the country’s history, democrats, independents and a large number of Republicans are bound together in a chorus singing no more Trump in office come November, when they plan to vote in throngs to deny him a second term.

This even as Trump’s only opponent is a 77-year old Democrat.

Many are voting for knowing at best, he will only serve one term, given his age. Indeed, Republicans voting for him, even some Democrats voting for him will happily vote for a Republican to succeed him because this is the only way to get rid of Trump.

The system that has had a chokehold of our politics in Kenya since independence is our own Trump. There are only two ways to rid our country of this system.

One, is to craft a strategic plan to implement BBI and allow Raila Odinga to serve a one-term transition presidency.

The only other way is the people forcing the system out and this can only be accomplished by a Ruto-backed presidential run by Raila, who will nonetheless be a transition one-term president.

Ruto will then rightly claim his stab at the throne but this time with few enemies or those deadest against his vying for we would have had a break from a Kikuyu or Kalenjin president.

Of the two options, the one that makes more sense is the first.

Thus far, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila have managed to maintain the handshake and in due time, they will oversee the implementation of BBI to actualise their vision.

Building on this goodwill, they should take advantage of their two thirds majority in the National Assembly to make sure we have this one-term transition presidency.

If that takes Uhuru continuing to serve in the next government as Prime Minister, then so be it as long as Raila is at the helm as the transition president.

Failure to do either means the system will continue to control who is sworn in as President for another 50 years.

Samuel Omwenga is a legal analyst and political commentator

[EDITOR'S NOTE: While Biden has reportedly signalled to campaign aides he would only serve one term, according to a Politico report last year, in response, the former vice president publicly denied any plans to only serve one-term , if elected.]