What is at Stake in the 2013 Kenya General Elections   Leave a comment

In the upcoming 2013 elections, Kenyans are going to be voting under a new constitution that promises profound changes in terms of devolution of power and empowering wananchi. People are going to be faced with hard choices in determining who among the aspiring politicians will bring about significant changes in their lives. The reality that we face as Kenyans is that since the country attained its independence, we have been led by a lineup of leaders who have viewed politics as a means of self-enrichment and self-aggrandizement. The mechanisms that have been at work in delivering power and wealth for these pack of “nyang’aus”  have been:

a. tribalism, nepotism and sexism

b. institutionalization of corruption at all levels of society

c. political repression effected through centralization of power and autocratic rule

d. politically motivated violence and murders

Our political parties have been nothing more than “protection rackets” that have used tribalism as a means of galvanizing the support of the rank and file of voters and making deals with other voting tribal formations.

Throughout Kenya, you will hear leaders trumpeting the grandiose slogans of the rule of law, tolerance of tribal and religious differences, promoting economic development, reducing poverty, improving education and health services, improving public safety, etc. But after every election cycle, their pronouncements remain largely compromised by their greed, narrow self-interests and cynicism towards “wananchi”—“Mjinga mle” or “Never give a sucker an even break!”  This contempt for “wananchi” has been the hallmark of the Kenyan leaders. Thus at times when the country may be agonizing over a fiscal crisis, elected members of parliament have no qualms with voting for themselves some hefty salary increases and allowances! Indeed the shortest route to acquiring or augmenting personal fortunes for the Kenyan elites has been the capturing of a seat in parliament.

The question that confronts as Kenyans is how can we act politically to effect some meaningful changes that will improve our lives through voting in the 2013 elections? Below, are some broadly stated political objectives and activities that can be construed as the “People’s Political Agenda for 2013 Elections”:

1. Advancing the education of our children by supporting the long-overdue increase in teacher salaries, allowances and working conditions: identify and take notice of the political positions of aspiring candidates;

2. Advancing the health of Kenyans by supporting the long-overdue increase in salaries, allowances and working conditions of doctors, nurses and other health workers: identify and take notice of the political position of aspiring candidates;

3. Identify the politicians who are trying to compromise the political appointments vetting process as spelled out in the new constitution; protection of agents of corruption is what these politicians are up to;

4. Identify the politicians who have voted for hefty perks in parliament: are these “nyang’aus” going to continue in this habit of plundering and pillaging the public coffers? If these “nyang’aus” do not change the errors of their ways they should rest assured that they will have to face the campaign of a “recall” vote!

5. How will the candidates address the issues of economic disparities in regional and local development, particularly as it affects the marginalized groups?

6. How will the candidates address the issues of infrastructure development and improvements: water, sanitation, public transportation, etc;

7. How will the candidates address the issues of public safety: drug trafficking and other crimes, police brutality and corruption, terrorism, etc;

8. How will the candidates address the issues of prejudice, diversity and discrimination with reference to: tribalism, sexism, religion, disability, gays and lesbians, etc;

9. How will the candidates address the issues of income distribution, class inequality and poverty?

10. How will the candidates address the issues of relations with other countries: East Africa, Africa and the rest of the world?

I am sure many of you can think of other issues that can be used to engage our aspiring political candidates in spirited discussions and vetting.

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Posted September 5, 2012 by edari1 in Political Issues

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