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Kenyan Fast Changing Political Landscape

Politicians are not ready to enforce leadership and integrity rule of the constitution by watering down all ethical measures that would be used to block persons with dubious character from vying.

Politics is one of the key social system components charged with leadership, administration and management of a state. However, politics is ever changing scenario because it is determined by many factors, namely, the people, ideologies, trends, systems, external and internal forces, and also by socio-economic dynamics among other interests.

The analysis carried out in December 2016 indicates very well that politics in Kenya is changing very fast. Some parties have already been de-registered by their leaders while new ones have emerged. New forms of alliances are being created while some other alliance have been shot down to create space for mergers. Some of those who eyed presidency almost 5 years ago are now eyeing governorship or becoming Ward Representatives or have since given up their aspiration.

This is not a strange occurrence but an ordinary political process in every democracy as we know it. For instance, not many people believed in Trump winning the 45th President of the USA. It came as a shock and disappointment to many. This is how politics works. It can come up with a leader that no any rational being had thought of. In Kenya, such political surprises are not far fetched. As eyes are glued on Raila versus Uhuru, this may not be the case. Surprises are possible in politics.

As general elections are planned for August 2017, so much is going to happen in the early period of the year. There will be political surprises and shocks if the trends remain as they are. However, what is evident to the eyes of many Kenyans today is that political big wigs are preparing for big deals based on interests other than policies and ideas. In 2013, general elections, ICC served as a pivotal focal point on which politics swung. In 2017, the pivotal focal point may shift from the ICC to corruption and grand graft. Some politicians tend to distract the public by revisiting the ICC and urging Kenya to pull-out of it even if most of the Kenyan cases have since been departed.

Another episode, some political big wigs have switched to the game of hatred and foul language to undermine the reputation of others. There is calling of names and rubbishing what one is doing. This is expected in any democracy and open society. Some even go as far as accusing others of planning rigging even if they have no evidence of what that rigging is going to be.

What is serious is that the majority of Kenyans look fearful, tired and hopeless about the future. The economy is doing poorly. Many Kenyans struggle to make both ends meet. Prices of commodities are sky rocketing. Food security is a threat in the new republic. Water is becoming a very sensitive issue as it is coupled by cartels and shortage. Ordinary Kenyans are more worried than ever in the history of the nation.

The nation is more divided than ever before. Ethnic groups are forming entities like nations to exclude others from the shared resources. Stealing of the public resources is the order of the day. It includes the national and devolved governments. There is no fair and equal play field for the citizens. There are no job opportunities for the youth. As many are getting increasingly worried, businesses are closing down due to corruption, and institutions getting weaker, there is the plunder of salaries and remunerations. Professionals in various specialized fields are ever on strike due to low pay and poor treatment by leaders. Medical personnel have been on strike making public hospitals perform poorly. General public are now constrained to seek medical services at private hospitals that have become prohibitively expensive.

The only people who get it right are people with corruption inclinations. A saloonist becoming a billionaire while a professor turning into a street beggar, is only happening here due to wrong, weak and ineffective policies. The Salary and Remuneration Commission created by the constitution has become redundant and politicians carry home more than any other qualified professional. It has made some professors opt for changing their career to join lucrative political business.

The hands-off kind of governance in Kenya has made it possible for markets to take charge and control the system at the detriment of the public. It is a pure capitalism which makes it difficult for ordinary and honest persons to make choices. Trade policies do not offer any protection to traders and bidders but promotes blind liberalization of the market.

The constitution of 2010 introduced vetting system that has become irrelevant and ineffective. Vetting authorities and commissions get salary but do too little to curb graft, bad practices and crimes including arbitrary killing by police force. Vetting bodies turning to be part of the problem rather than part of solution. Still discrimination and violations of human rights are rampant. It is sad, that so much tax revenues are collected but the disabled persons are in inhumane pathetic conditions. For instance, public transport has nothing in place to safeguard and secure rights of crippled and mentally ill persons. They end up being crushed by ruthless motorists almost everyday and lawless matatu sector.

Instead, the government has declared war on civil society. First and foremost, the attempt to enact legislation to limit the freedom of worship which was rejected by religious leaders is the best example. The frustrations by the Public Benefit Organizations by allowing the Board to restrict their operations. Actually, many NGOs in Kenya have since closed down and turned to other states due to wrong and prohibitive policies. How then would you expect the poor to be assisted without No Profit State Actors in place? No Profit Organizations do what the government fails to do. Being the third estate it keeps checks and balances on the leadership tendencies and bad policies on behalf of the voiceless.

There is no true access to justice even if this is one of the key provisions under the Bill of Rights. Unfortunately, the judiciary has become another lucrative industry where lawyers, the rich, professionals, and judges mint wealth with no any proper check and balances. The wealthy criminals bribe their way to justice with no problem. Petty offenders, instead, end up in maximum prisons. In Migori County, a lady of 85 years who was arrested and charged of stealing a plastic chair worth barely 20 dollars was sentenced to serve several years in jail. A woman found in graft of billions of shillings from the public coffers is free walking in the streets and even vying for leadership position which is very possible.

Such contradictions in the system hinder the African growth and blocks it from becoming one of the economic giants in the world today. Honest persons, the intellectuals, thinkers, hard working individuals are systematically excluded and have no option. Most of them die in poverty and perish. Shrewd persons who are good and smart at what I would call immoral acts, instead, end up in top leadership positions where they form hegemony. Sad enough they are the policy and decision makers. You will find such crooks in the Ministerial positions banking huge amount of stolen money with no shame.

Those who are lucky do migrate and settle outside the country. This is new Diaspora we are talking about. Africans are the enemies of Africa and there is no doubt, there shall be little gain from foreigners other than the true sons and daughters of Africa.

About Peter Onyango

Dr. Peter Onyango O. is one of our main contributors. He is a senior law lecturer, a writer, a consultant, peace ambassador, and a researcher. He assists so many professionals, legal minds, and debaters with his skills and scholarly wealth! He supports children and village community as a way of giving back to community. He edits, proof reads, and publishes various articles for our page!

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