Monday, April 27, 2009

Politicians blind to what Kenyans really want


Sunday Nation, April 26 2009, Page 19.

The release of a recent opinion poll indicated that the majority of Kenyans do not believe this grand coalition will last upto 2012, and that they actually would welcome an opportunity to elect a new team to run the affairs of the State.

Interestingly, instead of listening to the voice of the people, politicians are once again mistaking their own personal interest for the welfare of their constituents.

Their argument that “Kenyans are not ready for another election” smacks of transparent self-interest.


Several reasons may be put forward for the calls for early polls, but the biggest reason would be the apparent paralysis in government.

Key decisions are being made late or not at all because the coalition partners keep second-guessing each other, unsure how the other will react.

The current arrangement where there are practically two governments in power is untenable in the long run. What is needed is a government with clear lines of responsibility and an ultimate office where the proverbial buck stops.

When religious leaders called for fresh elections they were quickly condemned by the political class and asked to first attend to the logs in their eyes before trying to remove the specks in the eyes of the political elite.

Opinion columnists followed suit, and both arms of the grand coalition asked the “media” to stop fuelling unrest with “irresponsible journalism”.

Now the ordinary Kenyans are speaking, and they are saying that no matter who won the election, they all voted for bountiful harvests, better security, education and health, none of which is forthcoming.

No Kenyan voted for the current discord in government, and indeed no Kenyan voted for the triumvirate of the current President, Vice-President and Prime Minister to serve in the same government.

The three and their cohorts found themselves working together after a bungled election and the resultant mayhem, so none of them should delude themselves that they have the overwhelming mandate from Kenyans to do as they wish.

The argument that a fresh election is impossible at this point in time since Kenyans have neither healed nor reconciled with their neighbours does not hold much water.

At the current pace of doing things, Kenyans will be no better off in 2012 than they are presently. In fact, all indications are that they will be worse off if nothing is done now to forestall inevitable conflict.

Little focus
There is very little focus on national cohesion and reconciliation today.

The meagre peace-building efforts going on in the countryside are being supported by non-governmental organisations and humanitarian agencies with very little support from the government.

Instead of berating Kenyans for telling them to face them at the ballot, our “leaders” should finalise the formation of the transitional electoral and boundaries machinery and hopefully put in place a new constitution before paving way for a fresh election.

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