Friday, April 12, 2024

Kenyan Election:Let us choose our representatives wisely

As we approach the next presidential and general elections, it is time for Kenyans

to look backwards and forward and reflect on where our country ought to be at this

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point. It is true our infrastructure looks better compared to what we had; let’s say ten

years ago. But, remember that in the mid eighties we had a sound infrastructure and

economy. The question that begs to be answered then is this: where would our country

be had we kept on moving forward at that mid eighties pace?. Kenya would definitely

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be further ahead than we are today. It is evident that at some point Kenya did not only

stagnate [ developmentally speaking ] but we actually regressed.

The only way we can avoid the past mistakes is by not taking the path that led

us there, and the upcoming elections offer us a chance to maintain the momentum

we have gained and ensure that this time we do not take any steps backwards. What

caliber of leaders should we elect?. The simple answer is: visionaries who have the

interest of Kenya at heart. And, judging by the last parliament, there is only a handful of

those. Otherwise, why would we still have people who were displaced from their homes

over five years ago during the post election violence living in camps like refugees in

their own country?. Because the so called leaders have been pre-occupied with passing

legislator friendly laws that will boost their pensions and allowances, and creating largely

symbolic and misguided institutions and demarcations than the needs of the citizens

who elected them.

What is the point in having two chambers of parliament in Kenya and what is the

rationale behind the adoption of this concept?. The concept is not problem free even

here in the US where it has been the law of the land for centuries. All it does is create

a gridlock between the two major parties, unless of course one party has a majority in

both chambers. The senate will debate and pass a bill only for the same to go and get

blocked in congress [ read the current political drama in the US ]. The bill will then most

likely die or has to be amended and re-introduced, moved through both chambers again

with no guarantee that it will pass. All the while, the citizens are waiting for action.

What is wrong with the current parliamentary system that we have and the way Kenya

was administratively divided into eight provinces?. Why do we need Senators, Governors

and MPs?. It is not like Kenya has acquired more territory. Now, we have only expanded

the size of government at the tax payers expense, with no guarantee that this will be

If our leaders are serious about addressing poverty, inequality and other challenges

that face our country, let us at least copy ideas that will be effective. Take for instance

the economic model of Muhammad Yunnus, the Bangladeshi Nobel prize winning

economist. Yunnus, through his Grameen bank champions micro-credit efforts to promote

economic and social mobility from the bottom up. His bank specializes in extending

credit to the very small businesses that would otherwise have a tough time getting

loans from the major financial institutions. Besides Bangladesh, this idea has been tried

and borne fruits in other developing countries in Central America. Does this sound like

an idea that would benefit thousands of Kenyans who run/own small businesses or are

looking for a way out of poverty?.

Kenyans, let us take this opportunity during the coming elections to choose our

representatives wisely. Let us shun tribalists, war mongers and short sighted politicians.

The future of our country is at stake.

By Kiongo Muigai,

Birmingham, AL.

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