Kenya describes itself as a Democratic Nation but that Democracy is largely on paper. I say so because the wielders of power are the minority few. A certain clique of leaders has addressed themselves as the owners of Kenya. This sets a very terrible terrain for the leadership of the country. Among the mature Democracies, that we purport to admire, no individual wields any excess powers to an extent of capturing the state. For example in the USA, of which we’ve borrowed a huge chunk of constitutionalism from having the best illustration of what a Democracy should look like. The power is vested in the people and through political parties. Separation of powers has also been inclined so well, that the Executive, Judiciary, Congress, and the Federal units know what is expected of them.
For Kenya to be like these countries, then the people must come out and claim what belongs to them. This power belongs to them. They are the true owners of the system. The constitution gives us the freedom and the chance to exercise our mandate and power through the ballot. Politicians however have mastered the art of dividing the local man. They know that in case the local man is given the platform to exercise his will without any interference, the likelihood of change is high. This is why instead of just asking for your vote, they go to the extreme to a point of bribing you to make a decision. Voter bribery is not uncommon and this has led even to the phrase, the ‘biggest briefcase’ takes it all. Where this cannot apply effectively, they marshal their community against the other on divide and rule tactics leading to deep ethnic divides. And when this fails they employ violence.
It is such practices that have made the Kenyan people unable to partake in good governance as it is enshrined in the constitution. However, as Kenyans, we must let go of the notion that power only belongs to a few lucky people. This makes Kenya sound rather like a monarch than a democratic state.
We must guard our conscience and take responsibility for our leaders through the ballot. We must come out as the lot that refuses to be suppressed into submission. We must take back our power. But for that to happen, then we have to let go of ethnicity and stop accepting bribes from politicians. We must also fight violent attacks and hold the electoral commission accountable for the election results.
Through this, we will achieve complete people’s power and we will always partake in nation-building.
Lincoln Oyugi – Law Student at MKU and Member of Africa’s Formula For Development
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