Kenya is once again at the crossroads.
The 26th October 2017 repeat presidential elections – which H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta won with an overwhelming majority – do not just bring forth one of the most delicate moments in our independence history.
The rematch polls effectively rewind our history 54 years back when, the first independence elections were held pitting KANU – which was dominated by two large tribes (Luos & Kikuyus) – against KADU – the party that sought to safeguard the interests of the other small tribes.
While forming KADU, the pioneers of the party advanced quite a futuristic argument; one which could have saved us our current woes, if it was pursued to a logical conclusion.
Back then, KADU projected that, if the smaller tribes were not protected from any possible undue dominance by the two large tribes in KANU (whose combined tyranny of numbers could easily overrule any dissenting opinion), the dominated would gradually get disillusioned, feel sidelined in their own country and eventually develop secession tendencies.
Consequently, KADU leaders championed for a more inclusive formation through a federal system of government (known then as Majimbo) which would have ensured fair sharing of the national cake and thus make all Kenyans feel part and parcel of their own government.
Unfortunately, KADU’s initial noble cause appears to have been drowned by the power struggles of the day. Even the regional governments that had been formed – when KADU agreed to dissolve and merge with KANU in 1964 – never lasted to celebrate their 4th birthday.
The wisdom of an inclusive system of governance, as advanced by KADU, was thrown out of the window and instead, we decided to proceed our own way, totally ignorant of the dangerous path we were taking.
Not long after, the mistakes of the founders of our nation began haunting us, best examples being the quest for multiparty democracy of the 1990s and eventually the post poll chaos of 2007. A section of the country felt shortchanged.
CORRECTING PAST MISTAKES
And when our country started burning soon after Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner of the controversial 2007 elections, for the first time, we appeared to realize where we got it wrong and even tried to correct our past mistakes: first through a temporary solution that was the Coalition government and then, what was supposed to be a permanent remedy through the renewed constitutional review process that bore the Nzamba Kitonga led Committee of Experts (CoE) Draft.
Anyone who has taken time to read the CoE draft will concur that this was the most serious attempt we have made so far, to get our act right.
Besides proposing a three tier system of government that comprised of the National, Regional and County Governments, the draft could also have brought forth a more inclusive Executive which included a State President, Deputy President, a Prime Minister and his Deputies.
Sadly, when our politicians went to Naivasha to review the CoE draft, they did away with most of the critical proposals in the draft, went ahead to read the mutilated draft for us, campaigned for it and cajoled us to pass it to become the Constitution of Kenya 2010.
We were back to square one.
Fast forward 7 years later, the ghosts of the 1963 KADU argument are back to haunt us; this time with fury never witnessed before. Threatening to tear Kenya apart, for good!
KADU’s prophesy is coming to pass and even though the dynamics might have shifted a bit with the Kalenjins having replaced Luos decades ago to be classified together with the Kikuyus as the two dominant tribes, and the Luos having found themselves where Kalenjins were at independence, the scenario of 1964 remains constant.
No wonder, secession calls are finally here with us.
SO, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
Whether we like it or not, it’s time to revisit the KADU argument and save our republic.
Now that elections are over, it’s time to come together as a nation and think not just about ourselves but also our future generations. We need initiate an all inclusive national conversation (better than the Lancaster House Conference one) that will culminate into a constitutional review process during which, we shall focus on doing two things:
- Expand our Executive to be more inclusive and eliminate the feeling of isolation among a section of Kenyans who might remain in the cold for centuries due to the lack of numbers yet they are Kenyans too. Let’s create the position of a non-executive Prime Minister, answerable to the President, from the party with the majority seats in Parliament, who coordinates other Cabinet Secretaries & government affairs, and even does a Question Time in Parliament every Wednesday (or any other day of the week). He should not be from tribe of the President and the Deputy President. In addition, let him have a Deputy (from the party with majority seats in Parliament) again who is not from The President, Deputy President or Prime Minister’s tribe.
- Dignify our opposition. This winner take all madness is a disaster in waiting. Let the losing candidate:
- Become the Official Opposition Leader with enough powers and privileges such as perks, motorcade, an office, a budget and even a shadow Cabinet. His running mate should become the Deputy Opposition Leader with powers and perks slightly lower than his boss.
- Get a direct nomination as a Senator and his running mate as a Member of the National Assembly or vice versa.
This way, we shall have an inclusive system of governance that we shall all own. Kindly note that, I am not talking about the popular Nusu Mkate nonsense.
In conclusion folks, history shall judge us very harshly if it will be on record that, it was during our lifetime that the invaluable Project Kenya was terminated simply because we could not sit down and reason together.