SCRAP PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN KENYA

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WHAT AILS KENYA?

 I have asked this question on different forums:  ‘what ails Kenya’ and the answers I get are always the same – corruption, nepotism, tribalism.

These are however manifestations or symptoms of what really ails Kenya.

What ails Kenya is:

1.        The Presidential Election- that one ballot out of six– Only one!

2.       Skewed and unbalanced appointment to public offices favoring a few select tribes.

INTRODUCTION

The president is supposed to be the symbol of unity and the unifying factor in Kenya.
He should be the proponent of peace, the defender of Equity and National unity and cohesion for all Kenyan citizens.

But is this the case in Kenya? Will it ever be the case?

The truth of the matter is - as currently constituted, the position of President in Kenya is our dividing factor, and it is the cause of hatred, tribalism, nepotism and by extension – corruption.

Presidential elections / agitation for occupancy of the Presidential seat in Kenya is a matter of life and death. It is the cause of economic stagnation, wastage of public funds that can otherwise be used for development; it is the cause of business stagnation due to the cyclical nature of political violence every five years, the cause of capital flight by foreign investors, and the cause of ethnic violence and destruction of property, the cause of death of innocent Kenyan’s.

PRELUDE

Growing up ,as a school going boy, in the 80’s and 90’s I could not help but notice that whenever a prominent person holding public office came up on TV – he was from Rift Valley!

It is only later that I realized the reason people from Rift Valley occupied nearly all public offices was because MOI - the President, was from Rift Valley!

Having grown up and schooled in a multi-cultural/tribal/ethnic/religious neighborhood of Ngara Nairobi, this did not sit in well with my conscience knowing Kenya to be a multi-tribal country and I hoped that the situation would change with the end of MOI era. 

15 years later - has the situation changed?

HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF

Jubilee is proud of delivering the SGR and we are all proud to have it - but after watching a documentary that ran on all TV stations prior to the launch of the new railway I noticed some anomalies that left me really disappointed.

A team of Engineers was sent to China to inspect the SGR trains before they were shipped to Kenya.

The team of Engineers - all Kikuyu, was led by the team leader Eng. Joseph Karanja – a Kikuyu.They arrived back in Kenya and were received by Kenya Railways MD Atanas Maina – a Kikuyu, in the presence of PS Min.of Transport Irungu Nyakera – a Kikuyu, who ushered in his boss CS Min.of Transport James Macharia – a Kikuyu, who finally introduced President Uhuru Kenyatta – a Kikuyu to officially launch the trains!

The SGR is a national project worth almost 400B – surely, where is the face of Kenya in all this?

Did I endure 24 Moi years of tribalism and nepotism just to go back to the same anomalies that I witnessed as a child – and worse still, be perceived to be part of the problem or a beneficiary of the problem by virtue of my tribe?

OBSERVATION

Clearly this is a recurrent problem.
The exact scenario will definitely play out depending on whom or which tribe holds the seat of President.

Politicians in this country have effectively managed to divide us along tribal lines to their benefit and to our detriment in their quest to occupy that top seat.

However, Irrespective of the problems that ail us as a Country, I choose to remain optimistic and believe that this ‘marriage’ called Kenya can work. I also choose not to adopt defeatist and cowardly statements like ‘irreconcilable differences’ which can only lead to ‘divorce/secession’.

We ‘the people’ need to need to change the course of our nation completely instead of waiting for the selfish and self-centered ‘political class’ to offer us a solution which will only serve to benefit their interests.

POSSIBILITY

The Council of Governors, as currently constituted, elects its Chairman and Vice Chairman every two years.

Without any acrimony the 47 Governors have elected four Chairmen from four different Counties to serve their two year term smoothly:

The Governors are:
Hon. Peter Munya – Meru
Hon. Isaac Ruto – Bomet County
Hon. Josphat Nanok – Turkana county (current Chairman)
Hon. Salim Mvurya - Kwale already elected to succeed Hon.Josphat Nanok

If the Governors can conduct such an exercise smoothly, then it is my contention that they can also give this Country a President and a Deputy President from among themselves.

PROPOSAL

My proposal is a ‘pro people’ and not ‘pro political class’ solution to our underlying and recurrent problem:

The Solutions include;
- Scrapping off Presidential elections. The electorate will only cast five ballots i.e. Women rep, MCA, MP, Senator and Governor. 
- The 47 Governors, through a select committee to be involved in all public office appointments in conjunction with the PSC to ensure there is equal distribution of all public sector jobs to all Kenyan’s communities.

SOLUTION 1

SCRAP PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS & ALLOW GOVERNORS TO ELECT PRESIDENT AND DEPUTY PRESIDENT

1. All the 47 Governors after being sworn in will retreat for three days and elect, from the pool of 'Outgoing' Governors who have successfully completed two terms, a President and a Deputy President.

2. Who qualifies to be elected as President and Deputy President? 
• An 'Outgoing' Governor who has been elected by the County electorate for two successive terms. 

• A Governor who has been elected twice to lead his County shows he/she has earned the trust and goodwill of his/her people

. A Governor who has served two terms without any documented cases of corruption, nepotism, tribalism or misuse of public funds in his/ her County.    

3. Vetting to be done on the basis of quantitative, documented, empirical, visible and concrete development agenda that a Governor has successfully implemented in his/her country.

4. Rotational basis - The President and Deputy to be elected on a Rotational basis every (7) Seven years to ensure that all the 47 counties are represented at the highest office.

We are all equal stakeholders in Kenya and this will ensure equal opportunity for every tribe. It will also remove the idea of ‘big tribe and small tribe’ and debunk notions that certain communities have proprietary rights over Kenya.

Example 1: After the 2022 Elections, the sitting Governors may choose to elect outgoing Makueni Governor Prof Kivutha Kibwana as President and Outgoing Turkana Governor Mr Josephat Nanok as Deputy President.

Example 2: First seven years - President from Makueni County, Deputy from Turkana County - Second term President from Migori County, Deputy from Laikipia County - Third term President from Kwale County, Deputy from Kakamega County.

SOLUTION 2

THE 47 GOVERNORS TO BE INVOLVED IN THE APPOINTMENT AND SCRUTINY OF ALL PUBLIC SECTOR JOB APPOINTMENTS

1. The 47 Governors to form a Committee of 47 members from all the 47 Counties tasked with ensuring that every tribe is represented in the distribution of public sector jobs.

We are all equal stakeholders in Kenya and distribution of jobs should not be based on who occupies the seat of the President and Deputy.

Currently, even with the National cohesion and equity opportunity committee in place, the reality is that public office appointments will always remain skewed in favor of the tribes of the holders of President and Deputy Seats locking out all the other communities.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THIS PROPOSAL?

I. Will address the issue of Winner takes it all – the 50+1 rule leaves the loser and his supporters totally disenfranchised because as currently constituted, the runners up to the Presidential election will be thrown in the ‘political cold’ for another five year period.

ii. Why one presidential term of 7 years? From experience, the last year towards an election is consumed by campaign while the first year is normally taken up by election petitions, setting up structures, office and administration. This leaves the elected candidates with ‘a solid 5 years of work’! 

iii. Avoid people whose Leadership/Management/Development/Strategic skills have not been tested to vie for President. A Governor who has managed a County effectively for two successive terms is tried and tested and is best suited to lead the country.

iv. Debunk the myth that there are tribes that will never lead this county

v. Demystify the office of the President and his Deputy

vi. Do away with the expensive Presidential campaigns that only serve to precipitate more corruption as successful Presidential candidates assume office with one main agenda: recoup the funds used in the expensive campaigns.

vii. Remove attachment with the seat of the President by having the tenure of office set to one term of seven (7) years.

viii. Do away with associations and collusion with ‘financiers of campaigns’ who come in peace but who will hold the newly elected government hostage as they seek to recoup their return on investment in campaigns.

ix. Will ensure the economy does not grind to a halt due to political risk

x. Will halt capital flight from foreign investors during the tense election period.

xi. Bring harmony, a sense of ownership and belonging to every Kenyan.

xii. Bring healing in this country as we all choose to forget historical injustices that hold us down and move forward as one unified nation.

xiii. Distribute public office jobs equally to all the tribes in the 47 counties

xiv. Will bring harmony and allow us to enjoy and celebrate our cultural diversity by removing the suspicion, perceptions and stereotypes associated with our tribes.

xv. There will never ever be any Presidential campaign in Kenya again and the stress and tension associated with it.

xvi. Finally, the 47 Governors will seek to outdo each other in development, taming corruption, economic empowerment, universal health initiatives, infrastructure development and industrialization of their Counties in the hope of one day being elected to lead the Nation. This positive competition among counties is what will ultimately propel this country to unimaginable economic heights. 

CONCLUSION

I watched the IAAF youth games at Kasarani Sports Center and I will never forget the cheering, the hugging, the smiles and the tears of joy witnessed when our own Kenyan girl Caren Chebet powered towards the home stretch to win the 2000 meters girls steeplechase.

During that precious moment there was no tribal division – there was no hatred – we were genuinely Kenyan.

I believe that with this petition and a change to our constitution, we can forever relieve those moments and propel this country to unimaginable heights.

‘Kindly sign the petition – let’s begin the journey of redeeming this country – together’

GOD BLESS KENYA

 



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