is it time we had fresh elections?

So the weekend retreat in Tsavo of the big-wigs in Kenya’s coalition government failed. Instead of addressing real issues (reforms, corruption and Kenya’s land problem), the discussions veered into side-shows – like the Premier’s salary and the opening remarks of the president and his prime minister.

I am beginning to think that the coalition government has outlived its purpose. I am beginning to be persuaded by those who have been calling for fresh elections – most notably the clergy. The coalition government, as currently constituted, is dysfunctional at best. The prime minister and the president (and their respective camps) seem to be pulling in opposite directions on just about every issue. May be it’s time we went to the polls and gave a mandate to a single party instead of having the collective tyranny of ODM and PNU. I think we have a better chance with just one of these parties in power. May be then the government can act more responsibly on reforms instead of having cabinet ministers constantly pointing fingers at each other and blaming the other party.

On a different note, I hear rumours that Martha Karua might quit the government if she is not given more space in the Justice ministry. I hope she gets what she wants, i.e. more space to implement her brand of reforms in the judiciary. Hate her or love her, I think Martha Karua is one of the few Kenyan leaders who speak their mind and who have the balls to implement what they believe in. I remember reading somewhere that the problem with African politics is the lack of ideology. Many leaders act like blind men in the dark, constantly wandering around without any direction.

African social organization and politics have mostly been driven by contingency rather than ideology. The only country that ever produced a true ideologue on the continent was Tanzania. And for all its faults, Ujamaa helped Tanzania a great deal. God knows where the country would be had it not been for the commodity crises of the seventies and mandated structural adjustment programs of the eighties (yeah Gordon Brown, down with the Washington Consensus). I think Martha Karua may be Kenya’s real ideologue, and for that she is increasingly becoming one of my favorite politicians, even though she and I may not see eye to eye on her actual policies.

4 thoughts on “is it time we had fresh elections?

  1. Opalo,

    and who do you propose we elect? raila who has no problem entrusting Key government ministries to looters and killers in his half Cabinet or Uhuru of the Mungiki or the miraculous Kalonzo?

    i pity your narrow way of thinking. what we need is a revolution not elections.


  2. this is not the time for elections but a time to start looking for leaders who have character. leaders who, just like you’ve put it “speak their mind and have the balls to implement what they believe in”.and like you, Karua is increasingly becoming my heroine. it’s time we Kenyans saw what she is doing and support her.


  3. if only we had a less fractious ethnic situation… then a revolution would have worked. Lacking any concept of class consciousness, Kenyans are not yet ready for a revolution. Plus revolutions only end when they go full circle to consume their originators (Ropespierre lived it) and we don’t want such a volatile situation in an ethnically divided country like ours.

    Your criticism is well taken though. The only problem is that we can only work with what we have.


  4. I feel thinking of a revolution now is a little bit ambituos if not myopic.

    Revolutions world over occur as a result of class struggles,just as Ken has put it.What we Kenyans need to do is to stop dreaming of a revolution and start working towards it.Personally i think the first step should be extensive and intensive civic education.The biggest population is found in the rural areas where people still dwell in their tribal enclaves.People should be made to know that there are only two tribes in kenya the havs and have nots,i mean one of the DPMs is from my ‘tribe’..and what have i gained? zero.

    Where im at we have joined heads together to work out the modalities for this revolution.I believe we will reach there no matter what and how long it will take.

    As for whether we need another election…to be frank i dont care,all these pips are a chip from the old,corrupt,filthy block..though i must give it up to Ralia,lakini he cant hack it with all this tribal balkanization.


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