IREN logo
Where a free human mind is capital
 
Table of Contents
Kenya on the Path to Rebirth

The Indian Ocean Rim as a New Frontier: How Prepared is Africa?

The Indian Ocean Rim presents socio-economic and political opportunities that must urgently be explored by actors from both private and public sectors in Eastern Africa and by extension Africa. Learn More...



Recent Articles

Kenya on the Path to Rebirth
Politically, Kenya is on a rollercoaster to transformation. Learn more...

Divorce Africa from the World Bank and IMF: Reflections on an Abusive Relationship;By James Shikwati
In the absence of World Bank/IMF and with Africa’s own governance institutions; monetary policy and genuine market system, productivity will increase on the continent and make Africa a major player in the global economy. Learn more...

Sporadic Ethnic Violence: Why Has Kenya not Experienced a Full Blown Civil War? ; By Professor Mwangi S. Kimenyi and Njuguna S. Ndung’u
With ‘prophetic’ insight, Professor Mwangi S. Kimenyi and Njuguna S. Ndung’u in their paper Sporadic Ethnic Violence: Why Has Kenya not Experienced a Full Blown Civil War? assert that Kenya is not completely immune Learn more...

Molding the Middle Class ;By James Shikwati
expanding the business class and cultivating a critical mass of businesspeople to supply the larger African market and the rest of the world, is key to alleviating poverty. Learn more...

Africa Does not Need Foreign Aid:Africa Does not Need Foreign Aid: Wer Afrika helfen will, darf kein Geld geben; Published by FAZ.NET.
with the prevalence of foreign aid to Africa, the continent’s economies are artificial Learn more...

 

Kenya on the Path to Rebirth


Politically, Kenya is on a rollercoaster to transformation. In the ‘80s, exploiting the argument that Africans prefer openness, President Moi introduced the voter queuing system. Kenyans did learn through this “open system” that their vote didn’t count. Voices of dissent increased until early 2002 when voters’ ballot paper changed leadership at the State House.

In the spirit of openness, the then Narc government in 2005 facilitated a referendum on Kenya’s constitution. Similar to Moi’s unpopular ‘kura ya mlolongo’ (voter queuing system) outcomes that were never respected; the NARC machine literally trashed the sentiments of the ‘No’ vote that won. That set the stage for 2007. It is clear that the political elite are always keen to manipulate the democratic system to come up with favourable outcomes.

The 22-year Kenya political history clearly indicates that one can ignore peoples’ sentiments at their own peril. From Moi’s time to Kibaki’s time, the electorate has continued to show that they are well ahead of their leaders’ thinking.

I am writing this piece while attending the World Movement of Democracy in Jakarta, Indonesia. I am also reflecting on the upcoming campaigns for the new constitution.

I have written before that our white colonial governors offer us a great lesson: they wrote laws to protect their own interests. The proposed constitution of Kenya does offer an important step towards Kenyans taking charge of this country. It is a step that we ought to take and be keen to hit the ultimate goal – making laws that safeguard our country’s interests.

I will vote ‘Yes’ and keep my eyes focused on the next step, and the next that will deliver Kenya to Kenyans.

It is also important to note that people might choose to vote ‘No.’ Drawing from previous political history, such a decision too must be respected. What the facilitators of this noble process ought to do is to prepare the country for such an eventuality to avoid the schism that was experienced in 2005. Either way, it will be Kenyans making a choice. The upcoming referendum ought not to be used as a rehearsal for the 2012 polls.

Kenya is on the path of self discovery.

We should avoid framing the upcoming referendum in terms of political individuals. The document we choose to vote for or against is meant to have a life of its own, a life that will outlive each one of us. We should soberly analyse it in the sense that we are creating a new dispensation for this country as opposed to creating individuals. I applaud the individual Kenyans and political leaders who have facilitated this process.

Wealth creators

What is missing in this enthusiasm to have a new Kenya is the economic drive. After voting, Kenyans need services from the government; they need economic freedom. A new constitution on its own will not deliver this. It is also important then that we push for a discourse that will lead to a Kenyan-driven development.

Failure to build a constituency of Kenyan wealth creators will lead to voting machines that wait alongside the highway for handouts from politicians and international aid agencies. God forbid.

I call that we initiate an economic rollercoaster for Kenya and Africa. Democracy in a country plagued with extreme poverty will still amount to the tyranny of a few.

By James Shikwati.

Mr. Shikwati james@irenkenya.org is Director of Inter Region Economic Network james@irenkenya.org.





E-mail this to a friend Printable version


 
Site Search
Enter Search words: 
Advanced Search 

Online Subscriptions
Enter your email address below and hit the submit button.
Email

Why Subscribe?

Subscribe so as to receive IREN Kenya's updates and publications.


KAM
Sister Cities
Disclaimer & Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © Copyright 2014 IREN Site Developed by Artsvisual LTD