America is America while Kenya is Kenya. This blog is interested in discussing whether Kenyan politics can borrow a leaf from the American politics? Kenyans have adopted personality based politics. In addition, Kenyans are still too ethnic oriented than any political analyzer can believe. Besides Kenyans politicians are not firm on issues but either on buying out their supporters or seeking support from their ethnic backyards. It is more complicated than what is happening in the United States of America.
Americans have learned how to reduce corruption, how to understand their issues as a nation, how to carry out their day to day life without politics. Kenyans have not managed to do much about corruption. Kenyans understand issues but fail to make them the basis of their campaigns. Ordinary Kenyans see their protection and security when a member of their ethnic group member is in government and not in the opposition. And in Kenya, when the government fails, the impact is felt up to remote villages despite the devolution.
America has many more ethnic groups in the world. Almost every world race is represented in America and their integration process is far advanced. American populace is far literate as compared to Kenyan communities that still believe in ethnic myths and legends. In America, one can live in any state of choice other than in Kenya where individuals still identify themselves with their ethnic groups.
Even if some Kenyan politicians think that Kenyan politics can adopt the style of Republicans and Democrats, the reality on the ground is totally different. In Kenya there is politics of betrayal whereas Americans speak straight and prefer issue based actions. Kenyan politicians still see their strength in their communities and this make them fail to stand out as national figures.
I don’t see Kenyan politics adopting the American politics until the issue of ethnicity is solved. Kenyan political contenders are using ethnic divide to make mileage in their campaign but this does not work well for them neither.
Devolution was also meant to take development to the people in the grassroots but this is not the full reality. Devolution has also taken some ethnic direction due to geopolitical divisions that see ethnic counties. Only few counties are metropolitan. Nairobi, Mombasa and Nakuru appear to be more mixed than others. Other 44 counties are either tribal based or dominated by an ethnic groups and forms blocs.
It is saddening to hear opinion makers referring to such words as western nation, meaning, the Abaluhya people, or Kamba nation to mean, the Akamba people, or central nation to mean Agikuyu and others within the central region. There is nothing as Luo nation to refer to Luo people. Such division would not work well for the national politics. Kenya is a unitary government but politics pushes it to be a confederation of nations that tend to perceive their existence as distinct from the united nation. Politics play with such ethnic blocs such as Kisii, the Kalenjing, the Mijikenda and so on.
The main leading parties and alliances such as Jubilee and Cord are all outfits to make Kenyan politics work in the same line with the Republicans and Democrats in America. But such affiliations among parties still suffer from ethnic affinities. ODM has been likened to the Luo, ANC has been likened to Luhya, TNA or the defunct PNU have been likened to Kikuyu. Wiper has been identified with Kamba while other smaller parties also take the ethnic identity of the leader. This is not how politics is in the United States of America and Kenya is far from getting any closer to the American politics.
The Kenyan former PM, Rt. Hon. Raila has tried to come up with theory of pentagon to put together political leaders representing major communities but even this political strategy is not working well for him. The Jubilee leaders, President Uhuru and his Deputy W. Ruto use other mechanisms such as buying out influential leaders from various communities promising such communities positions in government. This is nothing to compare with the American politics. Paying a politician money in order to get the confidence of his community is political corruption that will not help to unite the nation.
It is a fact that every political scenario is different from the other. Kenya is Kenya and America is America. America has a longer experience as a Republic while Kenya is young in democracy. The two are not equals even in the economy or education level. The American electorates are more informed of issues than Kenyan electorates where poverty is still dictating on whom to vote. In Kenya, politicians still give handouts to people to vote them or compel the poor to surrender their voting cards and IDs just by giving little money. America is economically advanced while Kenya is still poor despite the increased middle class group in the recent years. The majority of the population still live under 2 dollars per day and this is making many voters vulnerable to the exploitation of politicians.
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