In Summary
  • First amongst our failures is the political process and it is driving reason for writing this article, as we choose those who will represent us for the next five years. 
  • We must reflect and interrogate their promises, assess their viability, and make the right decision.
  • My proposal is to revert to the original 210 constituencies and have two elected Members of Parliament, a man and a woman. 

“I'd rather attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed.” 

These words by American evangelist, Robert Schuller, are very relevant on the eve of Kenya’s general election. 

After a botched election in 2007/2008, we had the courage to attempt to do something. We promulgated a new Constitution, which nearly everyone agrees is progressive, but it has had mixed outcomes.

Today, the entire world is watching us. It is for this purpose that in this article, I review post-2010 interventions to build a successive democracy and highlight successes and lessons to learn from where we have failed. 

To succeed as a people, failure is inevitable. However, it is the courage to continue attempting to succeed that leads to success. 

In the field of entrepreneurship, failure is celebrated because you will always learn from failure but never from success.

The implied objectives of Kenya’s constitutional changes were to address matters relating to equality, justice, individual liberties, national unity, and protection of the environment.

Vision 2030 was developed to address these issues. It has three overarching pillars, that is, Social, Political and Economic. Amid the cacophony of political vitriol, we have made tremendous achievement with respect to the implementation of the Vision. 

Save for new challenges that we must overcome, these successes include: devolved governments, judicial reforms, land reforms and public service transformation. Kenya enjoys greater individual freedoms than many African countries.

We also have made significant developmental strides in infrastructure, ICT and education with the removal of fees at primary and secondary level, as well as on the attainment of global development agenda targets.

Therefore, measured against Vision 2030 and constitutional objectives, Kenyans must be proud of their achievements.

UNILATERAL DECISIONS

There are, however, many other areas where we have failed.  First amongst our failures is the political process and it is driving reason for writing this article, as we choose those who will represent us for the next five years. 

It is often said that elected leaders are a reflection of society. The same holds true for the media. As we approach the general election, the air is palpable with tension and copious amounts of intrigue, and no side is losing.

Interestingly, this is a situation where the employer, who in this case is the voter, gets the short end of the stick. 

Our employees, especially in Parliament, let us down as they set their own levels of remuneration, made unilateral decisions that affect the employer without consultation, have no performance appraisal mechanism to which they subscribe, terrorise their employers through neglect and incompetence and selfishness, and do not report on progress.

The records with the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) show many have been hurling insults at their employers while others cheer them on. Curious indeed.

HOPELESS EXASPERATION

Tomorrow we must remember that because democracy or governance is a social contract that places certain people in certain positions to enable them serve those who put them there, it is important that they be selected with the utmost care.

However, the current performance of leaders across the divide, which is normally judged by their rhetoric, has left the electorate with a sense of hopeless exasperation. 

This is further compounded by our tendency to retreat into tribal enclaves, through which we will vote for anyone who appeals to our base ethnic instincts.

With the introduction of universal free primary education, support for secondary school education and the availability of loan facilities for tertiary education, the voter should ideally have become more discerning in his or her choice of leaders.

In addition, the internet connectivity we enjoy as a country should enable us to benchmark with best practices globally. We can draw lessons from countries like Switzerland whose system is simple, developmental and equitable, to the extent that it doesn't matter who the president is. 

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