The whole exercise of going into politics has become an easy route to appointment to public offices and makes a mockery of our democratic process.
Political patronage ensures that a crop of Kenyans would always occupy powerful positions in government, regardless of how badly they fared in the elections.
Appointment of political losers should not be about getting ‘jobs for the boys’; it should be an exercise that is based on competence, integrity and fairness.
In recent years, it has become common to see election losers appointed to positions of authority. Such appointments are allowed by political parties as one way to appease communities or the aspirants themselves.
Winning and losing is the end result of any election. The winner, in many cases, deserves to rule the roost because they have become victorious by having been democratically elected. Getting the loser to have another bite at the cherry by appointing them to a state organisation, as a CAS or even CS undermines the democratic ideals required to establish fairness in elections.
There is no rule against Kenyans being appointed to state offices. However, it amounts to a form of recycling only a certain calibre of individuals. This causes the feeling that there are people who are indispensable. It also threatens the very essence of democracy that election is supposed to adhere to. Further, it does very little in tempering tribal conflict in areas that are prone to pre- and post-election violence.
The whole exercise of going into politics has become an easy route to appointment to public offices and makes a mockery of our democratic process. Essentially, it means there are no losers in Kenyan elections. Political patronage ensures that a crop of Kenyans would always occupy powerful positions in government, regardless of how badly they fared in the elections.
Politics in Kenya has become a lucrative business and source of employment. On the other hand, most of the aspirants’ intentions in politics is to acquire power (and, hence, wealth). When a political loser in a political race is appointed to a position that is higher than that of the victor, it shifts the position of power and places it into the hand of the former. This, no doubt, creates further tension between the two parties.
In our volatile political scene, that is not wise. It gives the loser, who now happens to be wielding more power than the bona fide winner, extra muscle to frustrate the work of the latter. It also has the potential of stoking further violence as the election loser, who now is closer to centre of power, acquires the wherewithal to fan tension on the ground by use of state machinery at their disposal.
The recent spurt of violence in Matungu and Marsabit have the hallmarks of the scenario of a power shift between the loser and winner that, potentially, may have led to tension. Whether interference of the now-powerful loser is real or imagined is immaterial. What is realistic is the threat posed by the power wielded by previously politically injured party in an election.