Sunday, 12 March 2017

Politicians who die after Kenya general elections, 2017 included

After every general elections in Kenya there are usually mysterious murders of politicians. It has happened after every general election without fail. Why?

In all his over fifty years in politics, former President Moi never got to experience the heat of competitive politics. very fascinating isn't it?

He always clinched elective posts by being selected well in advance or by going back unopposed. On the very few occasions where he had a challenger, he always had such a big edge over his competitor that it was virtually a no-contest.Even with the re-introduction of multi-party politics in 1991, he was already an all powerful president and despite the strong emerging opposition then, the presidential race was hardly a serious contest. In any case Moi, his think tank and the secret police had "played all their chess" long before the election date so much so that the chances of any surprises on election day were absolutely nil.A vast majority of Kenyans also do not understand what competitive politics is all about anywhere in the world. Competitive politics is what left Hilary Clinton in a mess and in tears unable to even speak after the stunning victory of Donald Trump.

In Kenya competitive politics is even messier. People punch their opponents, get them killed attack their wives, slap the returning officers and so on. And I am talking about parliamentary contests and those other "small" offices.Indeed in 2007 when Kenya virtually slipped into the abyss it was mainly because competitive politics had come to the presidency and unlike in 2002 the two leading presidential candidates were from different tribes. Namely Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga. And as fate would have it those were the worst two tribes by a factor of 1000 or more to have to face off in a competitive presidential election in this our banana republic. Just look at the history of Luo versus Kikuyu politics in Kenya.

If you have ever had the opportunity of observing a closely contested political campaign at close quarters you will agree with me that elections are a moment of madness. Total madness. It is always a us-against-them-and-losing-is-not-an-option thing.So how do we ever expect to have a fair presidential race in Kenya when the situation is such that the incumbent will always be the boss of the referees (or umpire)? The incumbent will always be the one to make crucial decisions that directly impact on the coming elections. Oh yes we have an IEBC which we insist on calling Independent. But let's cut the cr*p and tell it as it is. The IEBC officials still stand when the president walks in. And they still call him or her your excellency. I can hardly picture a situation where anybody can have the courage of saying; "You are disqualified your excellency because using the intelligence community to fix an election will not fly as per the election rules."

In moments like this I remember one professor Yash Pal Ghai and his trashed draft constition which was a parliamentary system with a prime minister and a unifying weak presidency. In that kind of structure the heat and competitiveness to win a winner-takes-it-all presidency would be non-existence and the elections would be pretty close to completely free and fair in black Africa. Sadly the Ghai constitution is all water under the bridge now and what we have ahead of us is a presidential election that will be as competitive as that of 2007 and 2013. It is no secret that both those elections did not produce a clear winner or results that were accepted by all Kenyans.

God help  Kenya,and   East Africa  as we hurtle to the madness ahead of us this 2017.

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