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THE DIE IS CAST

Raila’s presidential star sparkles as Ruto’s dims

The system does a lot of things besides stealing elections.

In Summary

• Whoever the system says is the next president in Kenya will be sworn in.

• Conversely, if the system says you are not going to be president, you won’t be.

DP William Ruto hosting President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga at his Karen residence, Nairobi.
TRIO: DP William Ruto hosting President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga at his Karen residence, Nairobi.
Image: FILE

Ask Raila Odinga and those who have been in the trenches fighting to liberate the country what has been their biggest challenge and their answer will be 'the system.'

The system or the 'deep state' is not some nameless, faceless ghost wandering somewhere in the corridors of power waiting to reare its ugly head every five years. These are humans either holding key positions in government, or outside but exercising enormous influence.

'The syste' is nothing new in Kenya, and neither is it only in this country.

 

Every country in the world has its own 'system' in place to make sure power is kept by only those who keep the 'deep state's' interests in safe hands.

The only difference is to what degree.

In autocracies such as North Korea, 'the system' is the ruler and the ruler is the 'system'. Nothing happens in such countries without their despotic leader’s approval or disapproval. Voting is irrelevant.

In Norway, which is the country that leads the world as the best democracy, their king is 'the system' and 'the system' is the king. Being king or queen, of course, is hereditary.

In between these two types of governments, you have where about 95 per cent of the world falls — countries with flawed democracies of varying degrees. Each one of them has a system that determines getting to power and staying at the top. However, they differ in how their systems work.

In the US, for example, there is no system that directly influences or determines who becomes President, nor is there one that can rig in our out any candidate in the presidential vote. Instead, the systems are in place within the nominating process for the two dominant parties.

Thus, for someone to be nominated as a presidential candidate, they must first beat their opponents at the primaries. This is where each party has its system, complete with power brokers and schemers, no different from what we have in Kenya.

These are the ones who influence or determine who the party nominee will be. They, however, cannot do anything beyond that to guarantee victory to the nominee: Not their money or influence.

The US is only one of a handful of countries with flawed democracy where it is not possible to rig national elections. All the other countries with varying degrees of flawed democracy have their respective system’s ability and success in rigging polls time and again and without fear.

The system in Kenya has been in existence since independence. Indeed, as it was reported in the media recently, some of those who were in Jomo Kenyatta’s government as part of the system are still alive and one provided a revealing interview confirming this.

'The system' does a lot of things besides stealing elections. They kill real or perceived political opponents, or politically neuter them. They do this either at the direction of the president, or, as is often the case, without even his knowledge, let alone direction or approval.

The irony of it is they do not always know each other within the system; rather, one may be in or out without even knowing as a new subsystem can exist or be sprung up leaving them out.

One thing is for sure and you can take this to the bank: Whoever the system says is the next president in Kenya will be sworn in.

Conversely, if the system says you are not going to be president, you won’t be.

By this measure, Raila is sitting pretty, given recent developments, while Deputy President William Ruto has been read the riot act to quash his bid.

The die seems to be cast for Raila to be the next president, if all these activities and others to come mean anything, especially activities related to Jubilee vice chairman David Murathe and Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli.

Samuel Omwenga is a legal analyst and political commentator