when will we have lasting political parties?

True democracy is not just about holding elections every five years. It is also about having a constructive deliberative process. A process that focuses on issues. This is only possible with the creation of important institutions to mediate this process. In a true democracy, political parties are just as important as the legal provision for loyal opposition. Disorganized and unarticulated opposition is just as bad as, if not worse than, having a single party state. It breeds instability and degenerates into politics of contingency.

Sadly, Kenya’s democratic experiment is once again emerging as having failed. With the formation of PNU and ODM, I was hopeful that these two parties would consolidate and dig in their heels to become the peddlers of policies to the people. But sooner than later PNU started unravelling. Now we have ODM going throught the same trials. Members of parliament from the Rift Valley are threatening to quit the party – on what appears to be purely tribal grounds.

That Kenyan politicians are tribalistic is not a secret. It baffles me how nearly all MPs from a given area can always have the same positions on issues. Kenyan politics is such that just by knowing someone’s last name you can accurately predict their position on any political issue. This is total buffoonery. Absolute insanity. And at the very least extremely shameful.

I am disappointed in William Ruto. For a while I thought that he would be the man that detribalises the Rift Valley. While appreciating the concerns he may have over the implementation on the Waki report, he should not have come so publicly against it. He could have been more subtle and negotiated with the government – which he is a part of – from within.

Strictly speaking, I think the members of the Rift Valley have a point. The youth that were detailed for having engaged in violence were mere pawns of the political class. They should be freed. The people that should be in jail are the leaders who incited the youth. And Raila, Kibaki and Kalonzo should own up on their mess. Kibaki for not providind Kenyans with an open electoral process and Raila and Kalonzo for reacting to Kibaki’s mischief with mischief of their own.

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