The Swahili people have a saying that if you don’t seal a crack you will end up building a wall. True to that saying, if the electorate doesn’t act on the cracks the 11th Parliament is showing, building a wall will prove most costly. The 11th Parliament is keen on passing laws that only appear convenient to them. Consider the constant extension of Bills they should pass, like the gender Bill but don’t feel inspired enough.
Development that trickles down to the average Mwananchi only happens when we have a self-less leadership that is keen on serving rather than amassing wealth. However rogue legislators who fail to enact laws that promote civilization and party leaders that handle party affairs as their private affair are the cause of the problems bedeviling this nation. Kenyans must therefore seal these cracks for a peaceful and prosperous future and here is how.
To begin with, the blatant corruption experienced during political parties’ nominations causes many great candidates and legislators to lose to sycophants who have nothing to show except praises for the party leader. Indeed, this is why otherwise promising Politicians are joining the fight to maintain status quo in the form of party hopping. They have lost confidence in the parties that sponsored them to office and indeed their party leaders.
This is not Parliamentarians first strike though, earlier in the year they amended section 14 of the Political Parties Act that attempted to bring sobriety in terms of ideology and discipline with regard to candidates, and allowed themselves to ditch their parties at will. Yet, they could have embraced the proposal to quash party-hopping and utilize provisions in the Constitution that calls on parties to run internal elections free of influence from anyone including the party leader.
The Constitution demands that all political parties have an elected governing body. This is where politicians who mean well for this country can fix rogue party leaders by streamlining party nominations. If a party has a governing body that is above reproach then there’s no need to fear party elections. Additionally, they should rally their constituents to register as party members where their voice can be heard and their votes not auctioned by a few individuals in the party.
For the electorate, this is also why having a voter’s card and voting is not enough. Being a member of a party makes it easier for the electorate to begin the fight for good leadership right from the party nominations. By participating in party nominations and engaging in public agitation within the confines of the law to protest corrupt governing bodies that bend to the will of party leaders, the public has a chance to dictate the direction a party takes. Indeed a participant political culture is necessary if Kenyans are to enjoy the fruits of democracy.
The joint committee on IEBC’s attempt to deal with this political vice was met with unmatched rebellion. That the proposal was put forward in the first place is a testament that there are legislators who want to see a more coordinated and responsible politics. This is possible in the long term, if Kenyans join parties and get actively involved in how political parties are running their affairs in this country, otherwise elections will remain a rubberstamp for sycophants who get party nominations.
On the short-term, the public needs to borrow a leaf from the politicians and become self-interested in line with Article 1 of the Constitution which gives sovereign power to the people. First, register in the political party with the candidates that offer plausible solutions to the challenges you face as a Kenyan. Second, mobilize your families and friends to join your party and support your preferred candidates to ensure they get the nomination. Our chance to build the Kenya we want is now. Will you step up to the plate?