Political parties in Kenya not worth the mention

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BY ANTHONY KAGIRI

The 2012 elections are drawing closer and this one looks like its going to be battle royal.

President Mwai Kibaki is finishing his two terms and his successor is a good guess for anyone.

Some are saying it is time for the old guard to pave way for the young generation. The lieutenants of the targeted senior politicians claim time is ripe for those who “sacrificed” for the second liberation of our country to get rewarded.

The list for the hopefuls for the top seat is long enough (they are of course the obvious politicians of yesteryears.) One thing is lacking however; political parties with sound policies.

Our political parties are in shambles. They are a theatre of all the bad things. From suspected drug lords, high level corruption suspects and The Hague watch list not forgetting the daily squabbling and threats of splitting.

Looking on any of the 47 registered political parties to give us a good leader is probably a pipe dream. We are likely to recycle the old guard who control the nominating political parties.

Whereas political parties are meant to be institutions with ideals and values on which leadership shall be based on, ours are simply political vehicles created to ascend to power.

They are easily identified with “their” owners. It is not surprising that the top leaders are the undisputed presidential candidates.

Posts such as party leader and their deputies have been created to accommodate the many personalities disguised in the name of national outlook.

Take our main parties: PNU and ODM. They were both formed at that needy point to ascend to power. PNU, a conglomerate of parties affiliated to the President, was hurriedly established to help incumbent President Mwai Kibaki get power.

ODM on the other hand was borne after politicians opposed to the presidential system of government as outlined in the 2005 Wako draft Constitution that was defeated at the referendum later that year.

I am a patriotic African but I guess we could learn a thing or two from western nations.

Their parties are more organised and structured. You almost can’t tell the leaders of their parties. If you are an American you\’ll easily identify with the Democrats or Republicans.

For Britons the Conservative or Labour parties feature prominently in polls.

Governments are recognised by parties and their ideals and not by personalities.

That reminds me of that thing called manifestos. When the Grand Coalition government was formed, the new regime announced that the manifestos of the three political parties would be assimilated into one.

Three years on and we are not sure which manifesto the country is running on.

Is it the one of the Party of National Unity, Orange Democratic Movement or Orange Democratic Movement Kenya?

The coalition administration is probably not operating under any manifesto. You don’t have to look far for the reason we don’t have a visible manifesto running our government: our parties.  

Probably its time we forgot this business of political parties and have independent candidate for next year’s poll.

We now have a provision in the new Constitution that provides for these independent candidates. I am persuaded that for us to get “the President” we need to bring change we should get an independent presidential candidate.

An independent candidate has the advantage since the candidate shall not have to deal with the baggage of dozens of politicians who control parties whose interests the candidate will be obligated to defend.

At least we will be sure that what he will be implementing his thoughts and no some political baggage.

Anyone out there?

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