“Uhuru seems to have a propensity to disregard systems. We can draw contrast using the very scenarios highlighted above. When Raila opposed the unilateral appointments that were a disregard of the law, Kenyatta banged the table insisting the process was credible.”
The tragedy of democracy is that the tyranny of numbers most often overwhelms sense, yet, democracy’s nobility as a means of expression of self determination remains unmatched. It provides us with a unique opportunity, an opportunity to exercise choice, or apparent exercise of choice, and with its deficiencies, I would never opt for its alternative.
When you walk into an election booth, on 3rd April, and perhaps later on, I would urge you of one thing, vote for yourself, which is what I will be doing. I am unable to summon enthusiasm, sufficient enough to walk into the election and vote a President. But I can always vote for myself, and cast a ballot for whosoever I choose, not because I choose them, but because I remotely hope that they can espouse my hopes in the ultimate, however tiny.
The reality of our nation is that the next five years will be extensively strenuous. We are faced, with a novelty of governance structures, an ambitious reform agenda that targets to redress the steps we messed and more importantly, the vision, to which we have pledged the loyalty of our effort, Vision 2030.
We need a person, therefore in president, who can assure us that they will nurture the values we aspire to realize as a nation, mediate the failures of our past and reconcile the present with the dreams of tomorrow. In short, the next five years will be a transition, burdened by the uncertainty of newness, and we can create a firm foundation for tomorrow or drop the gains time has given us. The next five years, have no opportunity of stagnation, we will either succeed or fail as a nation.
These must be the central question as we determine who to elect as our next leader. My readers will appreciate, that I have variously disapproved of the two leading contenders in the Kenyan presidential race. Yet, today I concede with reluctance that I will cast my ballot for one of them. Has my own choice been whacked into submission by the noise of masses, I doubt that, or rather, I choose to state that I accord my choice to our reality. A reality that betrays the hopes we hold, yet we hope that from that despair, a spring of certainty may arise.
The two leading candidate are Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta. I realize they have unique similarities, including the fact that all their middle names are not on their national identity cards. One is a son of the founding President and the other the son of the founding vice president. God, rest the souls of the two old men, they certainly gave us two graves to which we have been beholden as a nation and we continue to, and God liberate us.
What has been my consistent view on the two, On Raila, I believe he has a deficiency in his organizational capacity, in the last five years, the office of the prime minister has offered this country glimpses of epic inefficiency and sometimes mismanagement. In my opinion, it functioned as a disjointed unit, perhaps riddled with excitement than purpose. http://lonefelix.wordpress.com/2012/04/08/caged-by-ambition-why-odingas-presidency-might-not-offer-much/
Uhuru Kenyatta on the other side; from the start, I do not believe that a bold construction of our legal instruments and value systems would have allowed his candidature, that fact has been defeated by our opting for expediency and holds no value in the moment. He has consistently demonstrated the absence of a person Uhuru. I am incapable of underpinning a value or a philosophy that defines him, in fact, his temper and flares when his person is critiqued makes me strongly believe that he needs to fix himself first, before addressing national problems.
The premises for my disapproval of each balance, it is just as sad to choose a poor manager of an institution as it is to choose a poor manager of self. As such, to determine who truly is a lesser evil, we need to take a further step beyond the person.
The two questions we may need to ask ourselves is who between the two can best mediate our past and present and who can best steer our national ambition?
As regards the first question, I would go with Raila. We are a nation scarred by weak institutions and riddled by impunity. The law is respected or disregarded by the might at will. And we should not lie to ourselves that the constitution assures us the rule of law, if it did, President Kibaki would gazette the National Land Commission or we would not be having County Commissioners in utter disrespect of court orders. We would not have IEBC allowing Jimnah Mbaru to vie after being a TNA member beyond 18th January; we would not witness the ODM disregard of the will of the people through handpicking its nominees.
Our institutions are weak, and even the judiciary cannot bite, it is barking, and sometimes the barking becomes a nuisance and we give way, but it cannot claim today that it is not beholden to executive dictates albeit minimally.
This does not spell doom; respect for institutions is a new thought for Kenya’s big men, and newness attracts resistance, naturally.
We therefore would require a person in president who respects the law, or has demonstrated that he can be true to the rule of law.
In a recent interview, on KISS TV, John Sibi asked Raila if this election is a matter of do or die, his response espoused statesmanship: It can never be a zero sum game for me. What I represent, the struggle for inclusion will ultimately win, and I hope I represent that win he said.
Indeed, Raila has something he represents. The man has been caged five times the say in the dark years of Moi. I have heard various naïve arguments that this was informed primarily by his hunger for power, well, one thing I know, many men and women want power, but certainly few get imprisoned for it.
In an excerpt from an interview in August last 2011 he was asked why he chose to join liberation movements instead of enjoying the warmth of privilege: he said, I deeply respect my father, and drew a lot of values from him, one thing I learnt, is that life is more about what others feel, than what you feel. My own contentment is drawn from knowing that my struggle assures our freedom.
One would be convinced that this goes beyond lip service. Kenyans would appreciate that he resisted Kibaki’s convenient appointment of Justice Visram as CJ insisting on following the constitution. That process gave Kenya Mutunga who continues to do a relatively admirable job.
Uhuru seems to have a propensity to disregard systems. We can draw contrast using the very scenarios highlighted above. When Raila opposed the unilateral appointments that were a disregard of the law, Kenyatta banged the table insisting the process was credible.
When Raila recently rejected the appointment of Ndegwa Muhuro as the CID director over concerns raised by the Independent Police Oversight Committee, Uhuru saw it as a non issue. I would understand, he chose to vie for the presidency while accused of the most heinous of crimes.
Uhuru’s inability to assure us of a respect of institutions is seen by his inability for instance to urge the president to gazette the National Land Commission, no one in his camp realizes that this is adjudication of constitutional responsibilities and worse still a disrespect of the court order.
It is further compounded by the fact that absolute independence of many institutions may work to a substantial detriment of his personal interests.
For instance, Uhuru may not assure the independence of the police or the NSIS for that matter. If the ICC for instance would require evidence in its custody, and that evidence is to his detriment, he certainly cannot allow that cooperation.
Finally, mediating the past and the present may require injury to certain powerful forces embedded within the system. It is my opinion that Uhuru owes his career more to the system than Raila does.
The Second Question regards who is better placed to steer us to our ambitions as a nation: Kenya has an ambitious plan to translate into economic independence and into a country with a certain value system.
This is almost a foregone matter. In my opinion, Uhuru Kenyatta has a personal ability to deliver a much better performance when it comes to economy than Raila.
This is because of many reasons, Raila’s propensity to social democracy leans more towards spending than production. Indeed, Uhuru in my opinion seems to emphasize production, or to target to stimulate production.
A case instance is, the two accept that the Kenyan Youth and women require access to capital, Uhuru goes with interest-free loans, and Raila goes with grants. We know, money given without any obligation of refund is susceptible to misuse than when you know you have to refund.
Secondly, the refundable loans will ensure the program becomes self sustaining, as opposed to grants which will perpetually rely on the government as a source.
Under Uhuru’s tenure as minister of finance, credible results were seen, the impressive economic stimulus package and relative tightening of the fiscal management processes in the government.
Raila has never given me any reason to believe that he can achieve such and his career screams of lack of any credible delivery.
As a manager of an extensive empire, Uhuru certainly brings to the presidency a way with wealth. Raila certainly is not a pauper; But Kenyatta has more to suffer if the business environment plummets than Raila and may be propelled to safe guard it.
In my opinion, none of the two candidates can assure us that we will translate into a country with a better value system. All their camps have baggage from the past, either in their own selves or in their cronies and Kenya will have to wait for the next five years, to realize if it can be bold enough to elect someone is.
The ultimate question then becomes, who, of the two is a lesser evil?
A change done by Raila may be genuine, but it certainly will excite passions and ethnic tensions may escalate in his regime. A choice to the contrary would be ultimate retention of the status quo which is impossible. A change by Uhuru is unlikely at the first instance, but if it occurs, it may be on a false premise of justifying himself.
That is the certainty of the evil we face, chose the lesser one.