It is rumoured that President Uhuru’s kitchen guys are swimming with options on what to include in the constitutional referendum. It was long concluded that DP Ruto will be in opposition, doesnt matter how hard he schemes, shouts or abuses Raila and his Luo tribe.
The option of crafting an all inclusive system of governance features prominetly the issue of rotational presidency in four main regions with Nyanza being matched with Western, Rift Valley, Mt Kenya region and Coast/Northen Kenya. It is reported that this is a hot issue and the modalities of introducing it to the public for debate are all set with opinion leaders like James Orengo, David Murathe, Maina Kamanda, Francis Atwoli, Hassan Joho, Lawyer Ahmednassir, Musalia set to lead the choir.
To understand what Uhuru power boys led by Prof Kagwanja are contemplating, just read this piece by Dorcas Sarkozy.
A CASE FOR A ROTATING PRESIDENCY/POWER-SHARING IN KENYA: THE MALEVOLENT USE OF POWER.
The closing speaker at this weekend’s African Business Forum at Stanford Dr. Acha Leke, Chairman of McKinsey Africa and Founder of the African Leadership Academy made a series of very interesting observations in his closing remarks at the event; observations that I summarized in last night’s banner:
The problem with Africa remains a corps of leaders who base the development agenda of the country on what benefits, in order, their family, their tribe, their home region then all the rest. They do this instead of basing the agenda on what initiative/s benefit the majority – regardless of family connections and/or tribe/region.
The corollary of the foregoing is a desperate, increasingly murderous struggle for power because the payoff once one gets power is huge.
One sees the foregoing sequence of events playing out in real time with the 2018 “handshake” between Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga and the duo’s upcoming junket to China – in search of another tranche of billions – this time to “complete the SGR journey” from Nairobi to Kisumu!
Unfortunately, this malevolent use of power ends up hurting the whole country because it fails to take full advantage of ALL the country’s natural AND human potential. It also fails to optimize its allocation of resources to get the biggest bang for the borrowed buck – and unscrupulous creditors such as China and the west are fully aware of that and charge a premium for any amount borrowed.
As frequently repeated, this gross inefficient use of her meagre resources explains why Kenya has slipped behind Ethiopia and Tanzania as the region’s top economy.
Even more importantly, Chairman Leke’s observation begs a question that has been asked and answered several times – since independence:
What happens when “your side is not in power” i.e. “out of power”.
This is what happened in 1978 when Jomo died and the man’s Mt. Kenya/Central power base was replaced by the Kabarak/Rift Valley Kitchen Cabinet team from Daniel “Passing cloud’s”. The ensuing quarter century was not kind to the progenies of Mumbi’s House because the “passing cloud” remained stationary – for twenty-five years!
Or as was the case in 2002 when Kibaki took over from “Moi’s side” and promptly claimed that it was the “Chania River side’s time to eat – again”?
Wasn’t it the tantalizingly close change of power in 2007 race that saw “Raila’s side” proclaim that “gino ne gi se kao”?
That with the diverse and national coalition featuring Odinga, Mudavadi, Kalonzo and yes, William Ruto’s ethnic bases, ALL under the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket, these hitherto ostracized groups were poised to wrest “gino” i.e. leadership of Kenya with the accompanying trappings they had been shut out of for a near-eternity from Mwai Kibaki’s PNU – this until Tharaka Nithi happened and Kibaki was sworn in as under cover; a move that set Kenya ablaze.
The same sequence of events followed in 2013 albeit with a twist – William Ruto’s Kalenjin base joined forces with co-crimes-against-humanity defendant Uhuru Kenyatta’s Kikuyu base and once again, the duopoly that has led Kenya since independence came out on top and proceeded to monopolize wanton theft and venal misuse of national resources that is only now coming to light with gross abuses such as the many dams supposedly paid for BUT not yet to have even a ground-breaking ceremony!
Without strong, mature and independent institutions – legislature, judiciary, civil society and as seen in Zimbabwe and most recently in Sudan, the military – to keep the megalomaniac and selfish tendencies of incumbencies such as Uhuru (and his deputy Ruto) AND their respective acolytes in check, the foregoing sequence of events will persist even as Kenyans suffer – some more than others – and the economies and quality of lives of the country’s neighbors continue to improve.
It is the cycle of “Boom” and “Bust” economic activities occasioned by who is in power that is at the core of the title of this piece; that the Chairman of McKinsey Africa was concerned about.
Is it time to consider a rotating presidency and deputy presidency to mitigate the greed and ineffectual governance that Kenyans have been subjected to because of the entrenchment/entrenched leadership yielded by its current system of government?
In 2013, it was Uhuru Kenyatta along with the likes of Chris Kirubi who visited China, tin cup in hand, for billions that are yet to be fully accounted for. Back then, Raila was a “mad man” who hadn’t done anything for “his people”.
The gods are now looking favorably on the erstwhile “kihii” and he is set to accompany Uhuru – again to China for more billions. On the outside – now looking in while fuming – is Uhuru’s former “brother” William Ruto.
Is this any way to lead a diverse society and run a struggling economy?
Should Kenya rotate its presidency and deputy presidency to mitigate the greed and ineffectual governance that has now been normalized?
Along with the rotating presidency/deputy presidency, should the presidential term be limited to one (1) term of seven (7) years with the terms for the legislators overlapping that of the president/deputy?
The suspect economic rationale for construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) aside, I don’t understand why constructing the railway FROM Mombasa to Kisumu VIA NAIROBI wasn’t THE main project plan and if it was, I don’t understand why funding wasn’t secured for the ENTIRE project – from Mombasa to Kisumu via Nairobi – from the get-go.
It is this seemingly scatter-brain approach to economic development; to implementation of major infrastructure projects and resultant imbalance of developmental trajectories between the respective communities/regions that also underpin Dr. Leke’s main point:
That economic development in Africa is a function of who is in power; that those in power then use it – either to reward family and friends or punish enemies – real or perceived. The prevailing narrative among some is that Raila’s base of Kisumu/Nyanza “sasa ita ona maedereo” thanks to the “Handshake Dividend”.