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Political & Social Empowerment

BUILDING BRIDGES INITIATIVE DOCUMENT SERIALIZATION: CHAPTER 6 & 7

CHAPTER 6: INCLUSIVITY

Diversity; as discussed in the Kenyan perspective, is a wide raft that entails ethnicity, race, culture, religion, gender, age, disability status and socio-economic circumstance in life. Concomitantly, the citizen’s interests, priorities, capabilities and experiences become highly complex. Democracy has the strength of empowering different Kenyans of diverse backgrounds to inject their zeal, passion, skill and intellectual acumen to contribute to progress in Kenya. But to cater for this myriad of interests it has become paramount to now make a call for inclusivity in appreciation of the fact that despite our diversity, none of these parameters marks one Kenyan as superior to the other.

The lack of political inclusivity is rifer within the Executive Arm of government. It’s an open secret that there is a cabal of elite professionals and profiteers who believe with religious conviction that only by having a con-tribal kinsman in the executive will they have ease of access to resources, jobs, state largesse and government procurement. The much-reviled system of patronage has worked to pay credence to that aforementioned sentiment. Ethnic mobilization merely for the sake of attaining political power as the prime rallying call in the Kenyan political life though primitive and reprehensible is unfortunately the reality of the day. Even the current process of change to the constitutional structure still has to jump by this very hurdle. Needless to say, the current effort for reform is geared at dissipating executive authority both as a way of curtailing the propensity for executive overreach and also broadening political leadership for optimum accommodation of diverse interests. A home truth that has to be disseminated to the rank and file of our Republic is that not every ethnic identity can find space at the pinnacle of government either national or county at the same time.

From the many submissions made to the BBI task force, these are the essential qualities of inclusivity:

  • Government appointments must forthwith manifestly represent the face of Kenya.
  • Equality in the ability to vote for all Kenyans of majority age.
  • Decision-making becomes a product of deliberations, debates and participation by all the foremost political players in Kenya.
  • Gender parity in leadership. Measures to comply with the two-thirds gender rule that seeks to level the playing field must not merely be a PR exercise but a reality on the ground.
  • Government should henceforth respond positively and visibly to the concerns of the rank and file of Kenya.
  • Protect the foremost Principle of Democracy where the majority have their way but the minority too have their say.
  • A keen eye on the needs of the most vulnerable groups in society inclusive of the youth, women and people with disabilities. Additionally, the economically vulnerable should also be accorded equal say in the mechanics of government as the prosperous and privileged.
  • Death to this ambiguous entity dubbed the ‘deep-state’ simply explained as individuals or cabals of people wielding heavy economic power, abusing their grandeur to substitute the will of the electorate for their own.
  • Government should respect cultural and religious diversity of all the citizens of our country.

Inclusivity will for the purposes of this process, be deemed the highest degree of responsiveness by decision-makers in Government to the interests of all encompassed within our boundaries. Cognizance must be taken to the fact that historically Kenya has formulated marvelous policies and laws but the crux of the matter is implementation, operationalization and enforcement of these strictures. Public trepidation is at an all-time high and this could adversely affect belief of these current recommendations being operationalized based on the fate of the many action reports that lie fallow in the Office of the President gathering dust and mold not to speak of the many articles of our pristinely promulgated constitution in 2010 that remain unenforced.  State Institutions, Departments & Corporations too have failed Kenyans in not ensuring Article 21 (2) detailing the Bill of Rights elements covered under Article 43 are fully implemented i.e Rights to health, adequate food of acceptable quality, clean water, social security and education.

Citizen awareness too will go a long way in ensuring public officers actually execute their mandates.

Major Recommendations with this regard include:

1.) Political, Economic, Social, Religious, Cultural, age and Gender-based Inclusivity – Political by means of equal power of vote at the ballot box.

Women in Kenyan Leadership

Economic by equality and equity in undertaking development countrywide.

Religious by safeguarding freedom of religious association and protection from fraudsters masquerading as authentic clergy to their unsuspecting congregants. A Public Register of all churches, mosques and temples must exist and subject their finances to an annual independent audit and publicize the results.

An appellate court within the Kadhi court system was requested.

Cultural inclusion by promoting indigenous knowledge, technologies, foods and natural remedies.

2.) The Marginalized must refrain from reciprocating the same gesture – Those bellyaching about marginalization by the national government must not do the same to ethnic minorities within their counties.

3.) Office of the Public Participation Rapporteur – This will enhance transparency, quality and inclusion in public participation processes required by our constitution. The Office will work on behalf of state and non-state entities undertaking policy and operational initiatives calling for Public participation. Their operations must be above board, accurately chronicling their work and be responsive to their relevant partners. Also, Public Interest Litigation should be within their purview in a manner free of influence from those litigated against in a model emulated from India.

4.) Transparency in public procurement and business lobbying – An end to the culture of trawling the offices of State Functionaries with express aim of empowering disproportionately, unelected parties to abuse their economic advantage albeit corruption to parochially influence governance & policymaking. The envisaged Office of the Public Participation Rapporteur will be furnished with legal authority to record all activities of business lobbyists (tenderpreneurs) who seek to interact with officers with the sole aim of influencing legislation, policy, regulation and public procurement favourably to their businesses.

Echoes of the hocus-pocus at the corridors of Harambee House Annex in February 2020 where an unelected official (a disgraced former Cabinet Secretary) engaged in fraudulent business unsanctioned by the national government that ultimately was to deprive the exchequer of revenue still ring ever so loud! Mister Deputy President; the Principal occupant of the office complex, has denied any awareness of such a caper at the moment of my authoring this piece.Henceforth, occupants of his office and all government installations will be ridded of these unscrupulous characters wielding power usurped from the ordinary citizen.

Godfather complex

5.) Employment in Public Service should reflect the Face of Kenya and be rendered corruption-free at recruitment – The worst kept secret about employment in public service is the existence of ‘Godfathers’ who seek bribes to proffer this advantage to the highest bidder and ensuring that the appointee curries favour with them in depriving the citizenry of the requisite social services. Many careers in civil service are initiated by corruption and so it has been difficult for the holders of the office to uphold any quantifiable integrity. In appreciation of the onerous task of restituting professionalism to public service recruitment:

Disciplined forces both Specialists and servicemen will be recruited by a consortium of Private Sector recruitment companies that are internationally reputable to ensure impartiality and be able to reflect both merit & diversity.

Affirmative action will be enlisted in situations where no candidate meets the criteria for qualification and diversity so that minority candidates are facilitated to enhance their chances for the positions.

The Public Service Commission will be required to make public the annual diversity report in the Public Service.

CHAPTER 7: SHARED PROSPERITY

Our very own National Anthem envisaged the dream of prosperity post-independence, in the first stanza last verse in Swahili, “Raha tupate na ustawi” in addition to “tuungane mikono, pamoja kazini” the second last line of the third stanza. Unfortunately, 56 years after independence we find ourselves a discordant lot who have ended up among the Least Developed Countries of the world. I could go on and on about how South Korea and Singapore that were at par with us in terms of development in 1963 are now far over the horizon, but that would be an exercise in futility. We have shot ourselves in the foot with myopic leadership, ethnic balkanization and partisanship just for parochial gain. The same rallying call of fighting against poverty, illiteracy and disease that our forefathers had at independence is tragically now repackaged as a campaign promise by individuals who know only too well they won’t do diddly-squat to improve our lot. Unemployment albeit underemployment is now rife among the youth of this nation. The yawning gap between the have and have-nots notwithstanding, economic prosperity is now only the preserve of the Big-business owners and no trickle down to the man on the ground. Irrational barriers to entry are erected against innovation and growth hence curtailing job creation for the highly-skilled manpower churned out of our tertiary institutions ceaselessly.

I have at one time been advised by one of my principal mentors to endeavour never to antagonize but look for areas of cooperation while partnering with huge corporations when working on innovation to eschew the prospect of being crushed by the larger entity or worse still being bogged-down under a myriad of frivolous litigation, not to mention the manifold rough-hand, arm-twisting and mafia-style hostile takeover tactics available to the dastardly of heart, mercilessly grabbing concepts from the architects of original, unpatented ideas.

Gatekeeping and rent-seeking castigated in the above Chapter is actually a crippling malfeasance in the corridors of power. Brokers have become a national pestilence. No less the President himself is on record putting up his hands in dismay and admitted there is little he can do about these shadowy characters in his very office; but today by political will, he’s weeding them out gradually but not without their deleterious impact on the perception of state as currently exists in the eye of ‘Wanjiku.’

The dream of entrepreneurship in Kenya pitched to millions of the unemployed is nothing short of an invitation to tread water, in dissonance to the case in developed countries where business owners and employers are facilitated, subsidized and even given tax rebates. I invite those who can, to read through Fred Trump and his son Donald Trump’s exemplum chronicling their ascent to the top of corporate America and the enabling factors. In the USA; coincidentally the same year Kenya courted liberty, Martin Luther King Jr. articulated a dream whence his four little children would grow to live and work in a nation where they would be assayed not by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. Our founding fathers, no doubt followed that epochal speech closely due to our long-standing links with not just the Negritude movement but also solidarity with the Black American Civil-Rights Movement. However, in modern-day Kenya the key determinant of success has become your ethnic extraction, parentage, who you know and where you live. This makes it an exercise in futility trying to make a clean break with your current circumstance without external help. It’s indeed circumvention of Newton’s First Law of Motion! Incoherent and non-existent policy direction puts us in a deeper quandary. No successful nation has ever been built on the substratum of such disparities where exclusion, corruption, poverty, mounting hunger, unemployment and lack of a common national ethos are the flavour of the day. The logical sequel to such a state of affairs is societal ills, criminal activity & ultimately civil unrest. When the poor have nothing to eat they will ultimately gourmandize the rich, an eventuality so macabre it’s gut-wrenching!

I do not even for a second envy the guy working at the state department in charge of national planning. He has to provide a policy direction to the conundrum of how to generate more jobs for all who are old enough to work. New thoroughfares are appreciable, a standard-gauge railway is fabulous. But all these pale into oblivion when looked at from the prism of a man burdened by debt, seeing little economic prospect, hunger gnawing at his innards yet he’s merely given nebulous figures about our burgeoning economic output and present rates of investment. A complete economic revolution & workaround is required to deal with the monster called unemployment linked to underemployment and the arch-nemesis ‘the working poor.’ An enlightened diagnosis is the first step for any treatment regimen to be undertaken. It’s no longer enough to discuss the sharing of the minuscule national cake we presently have but rather how to bake a bigger one that can satisfactorily be shared by all of our 47.6 million-strong population. Individually, I have had the great privilege to live and work in Luanda, Angola and can avow to the fact that Kenyans are regarded as more skilled, aggressive and conceptual thinkers compared to many other Africans. In fact, anybody who displays guile, counter-intuitive thinking & is enterprising in Angola is more often than not panegyrized as working like a Kenyan. Just like in the ’90s when everybody wanted to be like Mike (Michael Jordan) in Angola today everybody wants to be like a Kenyan! But looking at GDP Per Capita figures it becomes galling that Kenya is only a small percentage better off than their Southwesterly African counterparts. Despite all our education and enlightenment at a level more than any of our progenitors, we languish in the nadirs of the global prosperity index concurrently being celebrated for advancement in technology, having a vibrant, mixed economy, newly exporting oil but being bedeviled by many of the same ills that weigh down our African contemporaries.

Thoroughfare

We need the same level of transformation that occurred in South East Asia where Singapore roared from the same starting point as Kenya to become a First-world economy. The rallying call was a famous maxim by their former Prime Minister, the venerable Lee Kuan Yew who uttered, “No country can become a major economy without becoming an industrial power.” There is no option but delving headlong into manufacturing to become an economically veritable world power. In the late 1980’s and 90’s, we tried Liberalization. This returned a mixed bag, as well run firms reached the mythical ‘el Dorado’ – The Land of Gold, while those criminally mismanaged have been relegated to the backburners of antiquated asininity in the same league as the saline statue of Lot’s wife! The point I try to pass is that as a nation we have failed to gather sufficient thrust and flight to achieve the escape velocity requisite for full-blown transcendence to the next level. Our efforts have been reduced to the realm of necessary yet insufficient to meet the transformative agenda. With exponentially greater access to all the information of how the Asian Tigers gained their status and closed the gap with high per capita income nations of the developed world, it behooves us to copy from best practice. Pick what has worked while discarding the drawbacks.

Critically crucial is the need for a new economic paradigm for job creation and prosperity. Development should not be adjudged as extremely disproportionate in its distribution as this impacts on our unity and peace as a nation. Every section of Kenya contributes its share to the national kitty. For standardization sake it will be quixotic to convince anybody that for instance Runda Estate deserves more social amenities than the adjacent Githogoro slum merely because more tax revenue is gleaned from the earnings of company supremos, embassy staff, political aficionados and senior state functionaries that reside in the former. It becomes a responsibility of state to equalize development and assure equal routes to prosperity for both the privileged and economically disadvantaged. A task of such a magnitude can only be executed through a well-orchestrated, multi-sectoral engagement between the government and the private sector. Fiscally, our economy must be set on a trajectory of continuous growth while the state offers economic relief to those hit by financial shocks. We must depart from the path of peppering over the gaps in our revenue collection and expectation merely by external borrowing. A culture of increasing the domestic national savings must be inculcated, at a rate of at least 25% of our GDP. We have no option but to grow and incentivize labour-intensive manufacturing with our core market being our neighbours as we prepare for political federation. In the circumstance that Kenya aggressively pursues this agenda, we could potentially position ourselves as an important link for trade, investment and manufacturing between East Africa and the Indian Ocean rim benefiting from the ensuing market and capital for more investments. Economic coordination between State and the private sector must be the new mantra as opposed to strait-jacket State Ownership. As the government will never have capacity to employ everyone, we need to exponentially grow the number of entrepreneurs by facilitating ease of doing business for start-ups and small business debunking the withering calamity of many closing shop before their 3rd birthdays! Logic dictates that greater profitability for SMEs will equate to maximized returns for our national Revenue Authority. This will in turn ensure better service delivery and amelioration of the welfare of the citizenry.

It is by now empirical wisdom that the majority revenue earner in Kenya and indeed many of the Least Developed Nations is Agriculture. In Kenya; regrettably, it has been infiltrated by cartels that abuse political patronage to rig processes thereby disenfranchising the main producer, the farmer. Before I forget to remember, in 2018 Kenya was rocked by a maize scandal where 66 fictitious corn-growers ostensibly pocketed a cool sum of 2.1 billion Kenya shillings among themselves! Invariably, the consumer is equally frustrated as he is forced to pay a heavy price despite copious seasonal availability of the product in question. This leads to poverty for both the farmer and consumer as the products are laden with so many mark-ups as to raise their prices to exorbitant levels leading to consumers who have a fixed income having to pay over-the-odds for food. The middleman simply has to go! The epoch of roadside declarations by Agriculture Cabinet Secretaries that are as hollow as their medium of conveyance is over. A National Intelligence Service-led audit is required on the activities of these creepy-crawlers leading to state sanction under the anti-corruption and Government reform Agenda.

Major Recommendations for shared prosperity include:

A.) An Economic Revolution – A 50-year plan is paramount. We need to think Big and long-term to build an economy that can cater for the now and tomorrow.

The plan must be more technocrat driven and milestone-based than political to survive election cycles and regime change.

Promotion of local investments by the Kenyan Diaspora will go a long way in tapping into both the foreign currency and the acquiesced know-how brought in from the more developed nations.

Embracing of Economic coordination as opposed to state ownership will be key in achieving labour-intensive manufacturing for export. This will also multiply the existing entrepreneurs when ease of doing business is achieved.

A Government driven initiative to provide legal and regulatory guidelines to financial organizations to lend part of their portfolio to key market drivers such as the MSMEs, renewable energy, export credit, agriculture (livestock & fishing), manufacturing, health, housing, education, sanitation and waste management. Banks lacking specialization will be empowered to shift the float to a specially designated development bank with relevant capabilities.

The Government must forthwith be the prime mover of industrialization as its narrative. Active incentives like subsidies, waived import duty and tax rebates will be required to foster lower-technology, labour–intensive and entrepreneurship-led cadres of industrialization.

Intellectual Property protection policy and law to be strengthened for Kenyan inventions, genetic resources, folk knowledge and cultural expressions.

Increase Government savings to 25% of G.D.P to drive a diversified economic agenda without inordinate borrowing.

Offer incentives and economic protection to the Kenyan Diaspora so that they can plough back more of their earnings to Kenya.

Employment conferences held in every county to get more views on job creation.

Spend on more on development than bureaucracy. Write into law a target ratio of 70:30 for development versus recurrent expenditure.

National Expenditure should be fair and proportionately distributed. Planning should be guided by a published and updated index from county to county.

Broaden the tax base, simplify the taxation regime and bring fairness in its application to reduce tax fraud. Criminalize tax evasion and punish all its agents.

Regulate online & mobile loan applications that are aggravating the indebtedness of poor Kenyans.

Build the economy from the grassroots. Expand extension services for livestock and agricultural sectors to effectively advise and set clear standards and market linkages.

Empower farmers with retail price information to make a profitable sustenance out of their toil. Strengthen their various cooperative movements to have heightened bargaining power in price determination. Curtail corruption in the agriculture and livestock sectors.

Promote Research and Development as this is the cornerstone of technological development. Trends are transient and dynamic, so to avoid being trapped in a rut you need to move with the times.

B.) Entrench Article 43 on Economic and Social Rights – This should be a pet project of both the national and county governments. The electorate should be vigilant to hold the politicians that come to ask for their votes during the crazy campaign season to account by ensuring the Party Manifestos laid before them consist of this agenda item.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics is entrusted to ensure a National Human Development Index domiciling the UN developed version is enforced within our soil. The report must be published annually and put online.

C.) Beware of the predilection of corruption to fight back undermining efforts to attain shared prosperity – Unimpeded, the tentacles of corruption spread far and wide resulting in abuse of economic power by import substitution schemes that will adversely affect quality such that substandard products will be found on the shelves of our shops.

D.) Safeguard future generations from mounting debt and unsustainable environmental degradation – Every generation must endeavor to live within their means and not mortgage our progeny’s future by overloading ourselves with irresponsible borrowing merely for prestige and devoid of value.

Dispense with Private betting firms in their stead set up a national lottery whose proceeds will work to uplift youth activities, sports, culture and social good. The proliferation of unregulated and private betting firms is killing the drive for enterprise in our youth leading to hopelessness and desperation. The proceeds accrued are often carted offshore with little left for developing the host nation. The adage that in gambling, the house (company owners) always wins has never rung ever so true.

E.) Use scarce public resources more for development than bureaucracy – Also to address is the large discrepancy in income by professionals ostensibly in the same Job Group. Eliminate wasteful expenditure on refurbishments and new cars when the old ones are still functional. Important is to note, the need to optimize on the forgotten conference facilities lying idle before enlisting some swanky hotel. Scrap sitting allowance for government aficionados on salaries.

F.) Nurture opportunities for personal initiative, innovation and entrepreneurship from a young age – Aggressively hone entrepreneurship from an early age while minimizing taxation for fledgling enterprises, a tax-holiday if I may opine. Not nurturing the business sense of our children from a young age is akin to condemning them to a death sentence knowing full well that there are minimal opportunities for employment out here.

Support creativity and sports where young Kenyans show enthusiasm, potential and interest. The careers of Macdonald Mariga, Dennis Oliech and Victor Wanyama should be sound validation that there is money to be made in sports.

Identify & invest in special talents and needs at the Early Childhood Development Stage.

Formulate a mentoring, training and support centre chaired by the president and coordinated by the Private sector that engages budding entrepreneurs to mentorship, training and support. Youth Entrepreneurs will be matched with respective Business Development Advisors and a national network of volunteer mentors. Work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy classes are urged from the age of 12 until graduation.

Facilitate the youth to start business by having an open advice desk at every local Huduma Centre manned by a Business Development Expert.

Technical and Vocational training should be freely accessed by all to effect self-employment. Of colossal importance is to dispense with the outmoded mentality that technical work is for the academically challenged. Two parallel but equal paths are needed between academic and technical training with the assurance that both will potentially lead to rewarding careers and meaningful sustenance.

G.) Government Development Action plans should be undertaken in every county – No region should be shortchanged of their own development in the name of project implementation elsewhere. Remedial policies must be implemented for regions that lag behind. An equalization fund must be set up as an affirmative action measure in an initiative dubbed the ‘Kubadili Plan.’ This has at its heart providing all Kenyans with quality services, foundational to the theme of shared prosperity. Build social amenities and security apparatus in marginalized areas to give them a chance of reaching the levels of the better-developed regions within three years of inception of this action plan.

As opposed to the run-of-the-mill, worn-out paradigm about seeing business plans, we entreat the government tiers both national and county to focus on product developmentEach county should henceforth be facilitated to establish Product Development Parks and Innovation Hubs that allow young, entrepreneurial Kenyans to have the benefit of expert know-how on transitioning from having a promising idea to a marketable product.

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Political & Social Empowerment

BUILDING BRIDGES INITIATIVE DOCUMENT SERIALIZATION: CHAPTER 2 & 3

CHAPTER 2: LACK OF A NATIONAL ETHOS


hen our colonial overlords ruled over us, they amalgamated our different ethnic nation-states to become one big entity dubbed Kenya. They drew boundaries arbitrarily which cut across families, clan spheres of influence and even bisecting tribal identities in absolute disregard to these sensibilities. Of course initially, when colonization came it never portrayed these Caucasian seafarers as the run-of-the-mill cackle of hyenas keen to dominate of our lands, waterways, cattle & other factors of production; far from it. The seminal manifestation was when the missionaries and explorers came here; quixotically discovering and naming physical features, that have no doubt been in our purview since the dawn of time, dishing out the names of their monarchs to these newfound edifices. They found us gullible and unrefined taking advantage to purchase our ignorance with silk and paper all the while easing themselves into our spaces and reviling our cultural identities as devil-smut! Then came the industrialists under the Imperial British East African Company. These ones had an actual pecuniary interest in the amalgamation of population tufts as these would come in handy as sources of labour for their ventures and a market for their manufactured goods. What was initially portrayed as an ‘iron snake’ no doubt snaked its way upcountry opening up our hinterlands to the fairer globetrotters.

Kenya is one country that has the propensity to soar to much greater heights but eternally contrives to relegate albeit stifle her ascent to the pantheon of the most successful African Nations. This is partly due to the fact that we are governed by individuals shackled by mediocrity, greed, tribalism and bloated egos. In actual sense, many of these are men and women sentenced by the gods to die a thousand deaths as the consequence of choosing the coward’s avenue by lying low when authentic ‘sons of the soil’ espousing solid credentials came out in full force and gave up their lives for the liberation of their country in both the independence struggle and the 2nd liberation strife for multiparty democracy. They have unfortunately survived to enjoy the heritage reserved for the noble & valiant which to me is tear-jerking.

What is now clear to all after 56 years of self-governance is that despite congregation into a country, there was never envisaged any congenial universal ideals to bond us together. Our shared struggle for independence, the future endeavour to upstage poverty, illiteracy and disease has proven of minuscule value as a cohesive bond, leaving the tribal extraction as the only unifying factor for many of our compatriots.

Herein stands the crux on which Kenya has had to be crucified henceforth; a lack of a national ethos. From the etymology of the word ‘ethos’, it appears to be a much-vaunted Greek ideal that was bequeathed unto Western civilization and cherished as to be propagated into the succeeding Roman Empire’s Latin language to mean the overarching “character” or “aspirations” existing as the guiding beliefs, attitudes or philosophies that characterize a community or entire nation. It is the characteristic spirit that drives any group which every member is expected to subscribe to for continual existence and maintenance of any semblance of unity vital for development. Post-independence, the fledgling union has had to grapple with this lack of shared identity that has for the most part been our greatest undoing. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has arisen to define, develop & subscribe to an unyielding collective vision that ultimately leads to a united Kenya that can overcome not just our historical challenges but the many more we will encounter in future. In repurposing the lyrics of a track by the great rapper and music business impresario Shawn Carter a.k.a Jay-Z called 99-problems, “I have 99 problems but a b***** ain’t one”, as Kenyans we have a myriad of hurdles to jump over but let us never allow the absence of the unity of purpose to be one. This national ethos will beholden to appreciate and honour excellence in our civic responsibilities of leadership and not forgetting our consideration of each other. Respect for the divergence in cultural heritage, beliefs and autochthonous religions will be the cornerstone of this new-found ideal. Like any pathological condition, its remedy begins with accepting that you have a problem and desperately require an amelioration for this offending circumstance.

As a result of a lack of shared identity, our nation is poised in some sort of quasi-purgatory state between our traditional heritage and the undeniable worldview touted superior to the former called globalization. Many still have a sensation of disconnect from our pre-colonial societies, the broken historical narratives infused upon us that our way of life is inferior to those of other jurisdictions. Kenyans are a resilient people that have adapted to change each time acquitting ourselves better. A National ethos will further act to expand our circles of brotherhood so that every Kenyan will view his continued membership in this sovereignty, as a thing of pride worthy of commitment and ownership. We will need initiatives to innovatively marry the young, dynamic and urbanizing culture with the enduring folk-wisdom of our diverse cultures. This will ultimately be a bottom-up initiative commencing in the family unit and local community up to local leadership, culminating in the Institutions of State and Executive Authority. Along the way the support from the civil society, private sector, academia, the media among others will be much appreciated. It will most certainly not be a single note from one composer but a multifaceted song; an acapella of sorts, where every note and voice will be sampled individually and weaved in unison to create a melodious harmony. We need a country where virtue is not reviled and ridiculed rather emphasized as a path to prosperity. Hard work, integrity, respectfulness, justice and an unerring predilection to peaceful co-existence should not just be noted and nodded to in appreciation instead promoted and even feted. We need a logical system where he who exerts the most effort is expected to reap maximum return. In building an enduring national ethos let us also be cognizant of previous efforts that resulted in what now corroborates a mixed bag of success. Previously concocted slogans include: Uhuru na Kazi, Harambee & the Nyayo Philosophy of Peace, Love & Unity. In hindsight, the state was more often than not thoroughly at odds with the philosophy it preached with its functionaries sempiternally contradicting sentiments they themselves loudly mouthed off at public rendezvous. The absorption of this national ethos ought not just be a top-down endeavour but also a bottom-up policy interspersed by diverse approaches in respect of our cultural origins but with a keen eye on globalization so that we don’t sacrifice solidarity with the rest of the world; probably a greater ideal, at the altar of nationalism. A balance should be sought.

The Recommendations touted to encapsulate a national ethos among our people include:

  1. Think Big and Long term – Needless to say Elections will oft come and go but Kenya will endure! We need a unique vision that will produce the archetypal Kenyan civilization that must be a product of meaningful, inclusive and multisectoral ideas. We need ideals not slogans that will outlast election cycles and even the party manifestos of the rulers of the day.
  2. Need for an Official and Inclusive History – Rename the Kenya National Archives as the Official Historian & National Archival Service and broaden its mandate to work in consort with Libraries, Universities, Museums and individual historians to research, analyze and present a thorough and definitive Kenyan history. The Institution should be led by an acclaimed scholar of African history or world-class expert on Library science/curating having participation from private curators, artists and elders. Our history should accurately be traced as far as 1000 years back, providing a definitive account of settlement in Kenya. Not to be denigrated in this initiative should be the roles of philosophers, anthropologists, theologians and political scientists. Presentation should be in a form understood by Kenyans from all walks of life.
  3. Finding Comfort in our own African skin – Harmonize the modern Kenyan identity with our diverse cultural heritage to eschew the prospect of living in disparate worlds. Strengthen the Ministry of Culture and promote its initiatives. Devolution of Traditional Knowledge and cultural identity as per Schedule 4 of the Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions Act of 2016. Replace Boxing Day on 26th December with National Culture Day. Public participation and expert knowledge will be vital in codifying an official pantheon of Kenyan heroes. Officially recognize and enshrine into law the provision of state support to recognized living paragons of national heroism if deemed vulnerable and destitute. Heroes are to be henceforth defined as men & women that selflessly gave themselves up as a fragrant sacrifice in our crusade against colonization, the modern-day strife for democracy & civil liberty and outstanding achievement in human endeavor. These heroes should forthwith, be pictorially displayed in museums and academic curricula.
  4. Development of a sense of responsibility – It behooves us to have the senior ranks of leadership being the prime-movers of this national moment. At every twist and turn, they should preach this gospel but also espouse it in the way they live and interact. Lessons on morality & the sacrosanctity of truth from the domestic level will be valuable. Civic Education must forthwith be an integral part of cultural initiation into adulthood. The 4th Estate should play their keynote role in education, promotion of national identity, lionizing the distinctiveness of every soul and keeping the powerful to account. The virtue of service to humanity should be inculcated from an early age and formalized through the National Volunteer Service. Structured volunteer activities will be enhanced to reflect compassion, cooperation, empathy and responsibility among the youth. Religious leaders should adjunctive to the tenets of their faiths, also preach the inalienable role of a national ethos. This rooted in morality, ethics and integrity must become part of the academic curriculum.
  5. Round the clock focus on ethics – The EACC should not only be tooled to impede economic crimes but also accorded the requisite constitutional protection. The National Cohesion and Integration Commission should be subsumed in the Ethics Commission and have a specified mandate inclusive of monitoring, reporting, advising state, surveying all government entities with regards to adherence to ethics and publicizing the results, conducting civic education on morality and lastly enhance the link between cultural systems of ethics and Kenya’s Constitutional strictures.
  6. Link Cultural values & current norms of Kenyans – Formalize cultural rites of passage and benchmark them with the newly acquired national ethos.
  7. Enforcement of our National Ethos – This is to be reactivated or modeled if non-existent along the lines of Chapter 6 capturing National values and have functional mechanisms for enforcement. Bullying, misinformation, demeaning public office & discrimination should be deemed breaches of our constitutional order and be severely reprimanded if not prosecuted.

We must no doubt understand and be ready to defend the ideal of Kenya being bigger than any of our individual parts and be promoted as even greater than those singular entities that constitute it living in appreciation of a common national ethos.

CHAPTER 3: RESPONSIBILITIES AND RIGHTS

As has been demonstrated by both empirical and experiential wisdom, democracy is the best system of government though the most expensive as such never delivered to the polity on a silver platter. This is because politics and by extension democracy is run by politicians. Contrary to popular belief, being a Politician and leadership are mutually exclusive entities. James Freeman Clarke, an American Theologian once sagaciously opined, “A politician is subsumed by the worries of the next election while the Statesman mulls about the next generation, as a Statesman seeks to steer the vessel keenly a politician is at home drifting in the current!” Many here in Kenya go into politics uninitiated, seeing this as a rapid conduit to amass riches, personal aggrandizement, create business for their personal enterprises & associates, a clear representation of their selfishness, egoism and vanity as human beings. Historical evidence is clear that even a great leader of the mettle of Julius Caesar continually had creases of worry on his forehead during his period as an elected consul in 59 B.C which vanished when he became Emperor and Dictator for Life. With this in hindsight, a politician may more often than not be forced to even trample on the rights of his electorate for self-preservation. Consequently, vigilance is urged on the part of the plebeians with regards to their Rights, Obligation & Responsibilities because no one else will act on their behalf, not even those constitutionally mandated to do so. Kenyan soldiers brave enemy troops defending our territorial integrity, many making the ultimate sacrifice to protect our liberty. Who is blind to the numerous IED attacks on the policemen patrolling our porous frontier with Somalia in recent times? I have suffered personal loss of good friends but this is definitely no arena for my tears! Many of these sacrifices have not and can never be captured by TV cameras or lauded in the dailies as patriots rise to encourage, heal, rescue and sacrifice it all for the sake of their compatriots.

Despite all these, it’s an appalling statistic how few people are actually aware of their responsibilities as enshrined by law. As a break with tradition, it’s incumbent upon us all to dispense with this outmoded system where we take a back seat and have politicians read important documents of national concern for instance, our own Constitution and now this BBI document on our behalf then dictate to us the position to take. This is dereliction of our hard-earned liberty to exercise our volition at junctures that may never be available to us again. We have deprecated ourselves to those who ask, “What will Kenya do for me?” instead of taking matters into our more than capable hands as our progenitors did and more importantly our future progeny expect us to. We think of there being a caste of ‘wenye nchi’ (Owners of the country) while relegating ourselves to mere spectators – ‘wananchi.’  Consequently, the siren call of corruption and dishonesty compromises public service as the ravenous try to bridge the gap to whence the grass is greener! This has left us vulnerable to insecurity and even disasters.

A walk down memory lane clarifies the fact that in pre-colonial times our individual nation-states used to be egalitarian in nature built on the enlightenment that ‘I am because you are.’ Brotherhood and good neighbourliness was our raison d’etre. Sharing of responsibilities created a system where human rights were inherent and everyone was reliable of the other man such that one provides security against external aggressors while his neighbour works on the farm to grow the food that will feed them all. And for centuries this ensured the continuity of our communities. Taking up these responsibilities was concomitant with adulthood in many jurisdictions. After colonialism, we were westernized and our longstanding socio-economic traditions were lost in the interest of preserving white hegemony upon us. Our indigenous knowledge-base petered out. Post-colonialism we were left in a chasm as we retained a superfluity of our traditional system but felt the predilection to formal legal rights that were promulgated as our Independence Constitution in 1963. This new supreme law failed in its entirety to capture eons of folklore and conventions choosing to majorly ape the systems of our former oppressors. Consequently, today we have a rights-heavy and responsibility-light dispensation with civil society replacing the use of our personal consciences. These missteps have seen us almost stumble into the cauldron of chaos albeit National Armageddon in 2007 and in 2010 a new constitutional order was formulated.

What recommendations does this chapter have on our continued nationhood?

 

  1. Cognition that Responsibilities and Rights of Kenyans are inherent and promote knowledge & attitudes that enhance responsible citizenship – The spirit of interdependence must become our observance again! Rights exist side by side with responsibilities and prudence dictates that where my fist ends is where your nose begins! This should be knowledge infused as a life-long odyssey as opposed to one or two course units in the curriculum. New systems to fight malfeasance in government will be promoted i.e. a whistleblowing culture or reporting malevolent elements of society to the security apparatus and such efforts forthwith be rewarded. Communication channels for this will be open and manned by personnel espousing integrity. Civic (Citizenship) Education will be prioritized in government policy and initiatives in both the County and National government. The culture of taking responsibility must never again be deemed intuitive but be deliberately inculcated in the Kenyan upbringing. Initiation ceremonies will be integral in edifying the newly-minted adults into a world where responsibility is the key marker of their succeeding stage in life.
  2. The Culture of ‘Skin in the Game’ and ownership in leadership – ‘Skin in the game’ mirrors the age-old adage stating “What is good for the goose is also good for the gander!” There has been a superiority complex in the leadership cadre where national hospitals and schools cater for the proletarians while for our rulers only treatment or tutelage outside our borders in the western world will make muster. If you deem the handiwork of your regime sufficiently good for the ordinary Kenyans then the same must be estimated as functionally effective by you Mr. Politician, your wife and children. Double standards have bred discord as chalk-circles demarcate the respective castes in society. A Ministerial Code and policy statement must have included within an enforceable clause that Ministers are compelled to use the social services under their purview without fail. These principles must also percolate to the Counties.
  3. Teach Effective Parenting – This will be pivotal in raising healthy and enlightened children in the dynamic Kenya of today. Just like marriage counselling in many churches pre-nuptial, efforts should be made to strengthen parenting by means of a generic & simple curriculum. Parents are meant to be their children’s principal role models & mentors.
  4. Entrench ethics awareness, training and accountability in civil service – Integrity and Ethics Charters should be the tapestry of every office.
  5. Life-long Service – This is the best way to inculcate responsibility into all of us. Kenyans should be encouraged to voluntarily give 6 months of service to the republic in early adulthood (18-26 years).
  6. Operationalization of the African Charter on Popular rights to develop civic awareness on responsibilities – Unbeknownst to many, Kenya is actually party to the African Charter on Human & Popular Rights.

As per Article 27: Duty of care must be exercised by every individual towards his family, society, the state, the international community and other legally mandated communities. Rights and Freedoms of each individual will be exercised with due regard to those of others.

Article 28: Mutual Respect and tolerance devoid of discrimination is our way of life.

Article 29: Preservation of the harmonious development of the family, respect for parents and maintenance in times of need.

  • Have yourself at the disposal of state for service.
  • Never compromise the security of your state.
  • Strengthen and preserve national solidarity.
  • Protect territorial integrity and preserve national independence in accordance with existing law.
  • Work to the best of your abilities and remit taxes religiously for state benefit.
  • Help preserve positive African culture emphasizing dialogue, tolerance and consultation for the moral health of society.
  • Promote the attainment of African Unity.
Categories
Political & Social Empowerment

BUILDING BRIDGES INITIATIVE DOCUMENT SERIALIZATION: CHAPTER 4 & 5

How did we get here?

I wrote this on a Previous Blog in May 2018 –

In most of 2017, Kenya mirrored the behavior exemplified by Abunuwas cutting a tree branch he was sitting on. After the January 30th 2018 swearing-in ceremony for the People’s President of The Republic of Kenya, Raila Odinga there seemed to be no way back. The fission looked complete. With two ‘Presidents’ installed in the same country, only fire and brimstone clouded the horizon. The fall-out from eons of neglected historical injustices, the bitterly yet closely contested election in August 2017 and the consequent brutality meted by state players on the opposition, the nullification of that entire process and the farcical fresh election seemed to have pushed us to the edge of the precipice. Battle lines had been drawn and positions entrenched so deeply the tension arising was virtually palpitating. In most households in the opposition strongholds, murmurs of secession were evident and poignant for all to see. And these sentiments were no doubt justified. Hateful rhetoric was spewed from all quarters and the same leaders who we elected as our symbols of unity, morphed to become the very wedge that was splitting asunder the gargantuan woody tree representing what we have learnt to call our motherland, Kenya. Dubious and quite shady characters; some purporting to be members of some ‘business community’, were co-opted on an inexplicable basis to militantly protect the interests of the majorly unpopular but imposed ‘majority’. Polarization was the order of the day and like a living cell that is in the Telophase stage, a seismic split was definitely on the cards. Then the seemingly unexpected happened, an anticlimax of sorts. On the 9th of March 2018, a meeting was secretly concocted at the President’s Office between him and his bitter rival catching both ally and foe speechless. The aftermath of the meeting was an unexpected handshake between the bitter antagonists and a cessation of hostilities.

[ https://dennismukoya.co.ke/wp/blog/2018/05/06/what-the-handshake-between-uhuru-and-raila-must-portend/ ]

This was the beginning of the Building Bridges Initiative which seeks to take advantage of the cooling of existing tensions between the antagonizing fronts to create space for national dialogue and sort out the issues that have eternally threatened to split Kenya into smithereens every time a General Election is called, putting us on a needless warpath with our erstwhile good neighbours. For nearly one and a half years the taskforce for the implementation has been working on developing the problem statements and county to county traversing to ask the citizenry of the major issues that bedevil them seeking for a panacea to the ills that impede our nationhood and the prospect of every citizen avowing pride to be a Kenyan. This document urges Kenyans to make the deliberate jump from merely being a nation united by blood ties to a body that finds concord in aspiring to a set of predefined values and mutually satisfactory ideals. This can only be achieved by amending the injurious sections of the 2010 constitution while adding new elements and call for greater seriousness in enforcing the culture of constitutionalism by the relevant authorities.

CHAPTER 4: ENDING ETHNIC ANTAGONISM AS BOTH A CAUSE AND CONSEQUENCE OF POLITICAL COMPETITION

A supporter of National Super Alliance (NASA) presidential candidate Raila Odinga.

Diversity is a beautiful thing. The Almighty in his infinite wisdom made every person though similar in form and shape but unique in his/her own way. However, in Kenya diversity has turned out to be our Achilles’ heel. First it begins with innocuous taunts over long-standing ethnic stereotypes, developed over many years of folklore and interaction with neighbouring communities. Unfortunately, this morphs into actual contempt, insults, frayed emotions, injured egos and ultimately outright brawls. When the strife for resources like jobs, prosperity in business, prime residential & commercial real estate, multi-million shilling government tenders becomes a function of belonging to a particular group – either by default or design, then inevitably conflict must result. Political power invariably pours fuel into this powder keg. Diversity is meant to be celebrated and enhanced. If we continue finding sadistic pleasure in spreading hatred then we are merely setting the stage for shared doom. Even the current benefactors of this state of affairs will lose, even to the interminable, transcendental generations after theirs.

Strife for resources and clout are a natural phenomenon. Kenya is consisted of a multiplicity of ancient nations, linguistically diverse, culturally rich with variance in models of governance and dispute resolution. With time these nations learnt to exist side by side and even wrought mechanisms for regulation and solution of cross-border conflict. Unfortunately with the advent of colonialism, came the winner take all system and belief that ‘might is right’ using state machinery as a tool for disenfranchisement and oppression. We inherited this rottenness and sharpened it to brutal levels at the attainment of independence. This is at variance with our traditional consensus-led model for political and social dispute resolution. Politics here has consequently mutated to an ethnic census where the winner takes all in absolute disdain to our cultures of yore. We are denied capable stewards with a strong, national vision to rally us to shared prosperity. The result is pettiness, insincerity and leaders keen to create dog-whistles that only work to resonate to our primal instincts, pitting ‘us’ against ‘them’. The result of all this is seldom peace and prosperity. Group antagonism due to the tribe, family ties, religion, familiarity, friendship, clans, race among other considerations is ultimately to the bane of us all. Regional Integration with our neighbouring countries is one means to escape this insidious descent into anarchy. Political Federation into the East African Community will stop in its tracks this phantom of tribalism as the parochial ethnic politics of today will find no space in a greater community as the tribes become only a minority stirred into our soup of the East African Community. Sovereignty will only be short-lived before we join each other legally, policy-wise and administratively.

The Recommendations reached to end our needless ethnic antagonism include:

  1. Build & Enhance ties that bind us as opposed to rifts – From a young age everyone will be incentivized to respect ethnic and religious diversity. This principle will have its physical manifestation in public service constitutionally stipulated. School curriculums will be enthralled to feature compulsory courses on history, cultural & religious diversity as these attributes’ interlink with the practice of constitutionalism. Additionally, public boarding secondary schools will be compelled to have not less than 50% of the student body from outside counties. The National Museum Society will forthwith be compelled to showcase without diminishing importance, the cultural diversity of Kenya. Cultural Centres will henceforth become a feature of every county.
  2. Scrap forthwith the ‘winner-take-all’ model for Presidency, opting instead for a more consociational (power-sharing) model that thrives for ethnically-divided societies – Many a hopeless romantic have regaled their damsels with tales of giving them the moon, in absolute disregard to the obvious reservations with what then will illuminate the path for the rest of us at night! Madness that is quintessential of romance notwithstanding, this is the same question that Kenyans have asked for eon – If the winner takes all, what becomes of the loser? Going forward, we are urged to be more consensus-oriented as opposed to appealing to our ethnicities as our primary mode of political competition. This will sound a death-knell to the archetypal do-or-die style of politics that is endemic of our societies today. The Executive (Cabinet) should reflect the face of Kenya highlighting the political will of the nation and not lean heavily on the President’s region of extraction in the guise of coaxing loyalty merely by aboriginal association.
  3. Resource distribution should be fair with this impartiality trickling down to the grassroots – All Kenyans should be deemed equal in resource allocation. The per capita share of national resources inclusive of healthcare provision, agricultural dividends, social services, natural resources and access to livelihood opportunities has to be equitable and guaranteed to every citizen of the Republic of Kenya. An Equalization fund should be set up to ensure those previously or currently being marginalized are given extra support to come up to speed with the rest of the nation. Institutions mandated with resource distribution should report their work clearly, periodically, without withholding information or erasure to all Kenyans.
  4. Committee of Elder Statesmen (Baraza la Washauri) – In cognizance of the President as our national symbol of unity, he should benefit from the advice of eminent, experienced and venerable citizens serving in a Council of Advisors as pro-bono consultants.
  5. Accelerate Regional Integration – a means to escape the diabolically interminable cycle of ethnic political competition by federation with our neighbouring countries. To the uninitiated, The East African Community Treaty is already part of our Laws and Government. Political and economic federation is the ultimate aim of EAC. Federation will result in the major tribal groupings of Kenya merely being reduced to minorities within a Federated nation which is much welcome.
  6. Institutionalization of Agenda-based politics by National Political Parties – All Political parties will be compelled to reflect the Face of Kenya in Ethnic, religious, regional and most importantly gender terms. A dearth in the level of refereeing; the term referee here alluding to the Registrar of Political parties, has resulted in the chaos we now witness in the name of democracy. Going forward, we seek a financially and ethically strong, assertive, independent and proactive Office with regard to political party registration. It’s appalling that since the establishment of this ostensibly august office in 2007, it has lacked a substantive Registrar in absolute breach of not just our constitutional order but also the Political Parties Act. As a deserving gift to an audacious new Kenya, we need to recruit and appoint a substantive registrar; in so doing maintaining the position in future with a keen eye on the stipulations of Functions of the Chairperson of a Chapter 15 commission. A new office empowered to monitor the implementation of the Political Parties’ Code of Conduct and sanctioning those who flout it.

CHAPTER 5: DIVISIVE ELECTIONS

It’s an open secret that Kenya’s glaring failure is understood even internationally to be in her governance and the poor leaders that our weak system churns out. Conflict is the hue that colours our political contests every 5 years interrupting almost every facet of life. We have a crude, adversarial system devoid of any middle-ground as it’s ‘us’ versus ‘them’, albeit Angels versus Demons tags to our contests. This is worse for the Presidential race, whose contestation more often than not is the major source of these destabilizing elections. This current status quo ensures that every five-year period we morph into gladiators for our ethnic identities, fighting it out with our good neighbours for no other reason than our candidate versus yours. The desire for inclusivity fuels this quandary as access to resources has for eon been primitively attached at the hip to whoever gets the presidency. The perception of personal gain from being the clients of a successful political leader means that as a populace we become ready to pull all stops for a victory. This is in antipathy to us being 7 years into the era of devolution, where resource allocation was supposed to be decentralized. Consequently, as other nations seek to bake bigger cakes, Kenya is trapped in the loop of trying to share the little that is available. Going forward, we need an election that guarantees peace, economic stability, personal security and an opportunity to fete meritocracy. This can only be secured by an end to the winner-takes-all system of leadership to stop the exclusion of other taxpayers from state largesse. As we have seen with the 7 years of Jubilee Party, even where the winner appoints members of other tribes to his own Cabinet including the losing side; more often than not, tokenism is the only thing in play rather than meaningful expressions of genuine goodwill.

In the past, before the promulgation of the 2010 constitution, we elected our Presidents through a plurality system in which a winning candidate had to secure a simple majority in universal suffrage with at least 25% of the mandate from 5 of our 8 former provinces. This yardstick obviously did not pass muster with instances like the 1992 election where despite the benefit of government machinery consequent to incumbency, Daniel T. Arap Moi still managed a paltry 36.6% of the national vote. The current system raised the threshold to 50%+1 with a provision for a run-off if the leading candidate during the first election does not meet this exceedingly high threshold. This has only whet universal appetite for greater representation of their political interests in the executive. Not just that, but Kenyans have demanded for greater social and political accountability from their leaders at the high table of both county and national government. A do-or-die dimension to our presidential contests have seen extreme skepticism and mistrust of the electoral process. It is no secret that the quest for victory in the national elections has seen the major players even resorting to uncouth tactics like outright rigging of the polls and sometimes even the rejection of credible results. There are seldom winners’ medals for the Electoral body no matter how good a job they do as the opposing side will always cry foul in such highly charged contests.

Prima-facie, the Kenyan Government purports to have equality and equity in governance and distribution of national resources. While the law attempts to deliver oversight necessary to achieve this, high-level corruption suggests that officeholders still exercise a level of discretion that is vulnerable to abuse and ostracism of other Kenyans. Moreover, Kenyans have noted that few communities have ever had a chance to have their kinsman at Statehouse as Presidential Elections in Kenya are oft an ethnic census. The BBI puts great emphasis on strong, multi-ethnic and nationwide parties that permit leaders of stature to grow no matter their tribal inclination. The desire for greater inclusivity, equality, fairness, equity and accountability was observed among most Kenyans. It has proven a stumbling block for a political class that owes oodles to tribalism as a rallying call for them to turn round and cultivate the political will to downgrade its importance. Certainly, this can be only achieved by concerted efforts by enlightened and determined leadership able to shift this paradigm, by so doing, lay the foundations for stable, ideology-based politics for future generations. In the antiquated dispensation, size & inefficiency of government contributed to this current debate. Equally useful to bear in mind, a model that works for Kenya must entail a cohesive and strong leadership cadre that assures of decisiveness at critical times without the paralysis induced by bureaucratic sibling rivalry courtesy of ill-defined constitutional parameters open to double-entendre style misinterpretation by diverse opinion holders.

The recommendations to sort out this conundrum include:

i) An autochthonous (homegrown) National Executive – Since independence, we have experimented with the three major Western models to the Executive. Circa 1963-64, we had a pure Parliamentary system; moving onto the Hybrid semi-presidential system between 1964 – 2007 which was an abject failure. Between 2008 -2013 we tried Hybrid Cohabitation that proved a slight improvement but ballooned the government wage bill. After 2013, we have experimented with the Pure Presidential system that has been abysmal to put it generously and an utter farce as far as the actual state of affairs is concerned. A homegrown inclusive system is now sought as we had in pre-colonial times. Kenyans want a system to guarantee not just a strong President for decisive leadership, but also an accountable Parliament. Not in the least, a strong opposition is needed to offer checks and balances to the government of the day.

-The President will continue being elected under the strictures of the 2010 constitution. He remains as Head of State, Government and Commander-in-Chief. He will Chair a Cabinet consisting of the Deputy President, Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers. He retains the 2 term limit.

-A new feature of this pristine system is the reintroduction of the Prime Minister. Within a stipulated period after an election, the President shall appoint a PM. He will be an elected Member of the National Assembly from a party with a majority of members and will be forced to canvass for the seat among his colleagues to gain the support of an absolute majority of them. Parliamentary approval will be mandatory in an absolute vote.

Afterwards, his roles will include:

  • Authority over control, supervision and execution of the day to day functions of Government.
  • Leader of government business in the National Assembly.
  • Chair of Cabinet sub-committees on presidential prodding.

He/she will earn a normal MPs salary with none additional to his role. Additionally, this appointee may be dismissed in case of a vote of no confidence.

-The Seat of Leader of Official Opposition will make a comeback, this person being the runner-up of the Presidential Election. He will be an ex-officio Member of Parliament. The holder of this position will have no presence in government by being a coalition member with the winning party or individually. This individual shall have his shadow cabinet. During a prescribed Question time, the opposition will play a key role in putting a PM and Government Ministers to task over their dockets.

-Principal Secretaries will be free from parliamentary approval as their accountability will be strictly administrative and technical.

ii) A Mixed Cabinet – It’s still up for decision whether to go the American way: With technocrats or Our old British way: with MPs. The Members will be appointed in consultation with the PM. They will be a mix of technocrats & Politicians. A Minister of State will be tasked with shepherding the political and parliamentary accountability side of things. The Position of Cabinet Administrative Secretary to be scrapped.

iii) Popular Representation – It is to be upheld through free, fair & transparent systems. The principle of equalization of representation shall reign supreme as the Gender rule and other measures of inclusion are enforced. All 290 constituencies will be retained. We will have 360 members each elected by registered voters from both the 290 constituencies and 70 more from single & multiple-member constituencies. We will have a Senate with 94 members, a man and woman nominated from each county.

Independent candidates will continue to contest. Devolution of political parties will be urged to the counties with political fora to hold elected leaders accountable throughout their term. Nomination lists will be completed transparently overseen by the Registrar of Political Parties and IEBC.

iv) The Referee Body – Leaders of Political Parties will have a say on the recruitment of the Head of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and their fellow commissioners. Non-partisanship is greatly encouraged, with a sound record of accomplishment and integrity. Known political activists and supporters of political parties will be shunned. All IEBC staff henceforth should be appointed on 3-year contracts renewable only once for good performance. This will end the culture of error propagation to the next team. Returning Officers are to be hired through a competitive process and basis for appointments be available explicitly, handling only one election.

Any person with at least 15 years of management experience is urged to throw his/her hat into the ring for appointment as Chairman of IEBC. It should no longer be the preserve of ‘learned friends’! However, at least one commissioner should be a Lawyer. The composition of Electoral Commission must reflect the face of Kenya. Provisions enshrined under Article 86 of the current Constitution regarding simplicity, security, accountability and transparency of the voting process still remain.