The Audacity of Hope: Karua, Tuju and Post-2012 Kenya

“Hope – Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope! In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation. A belief in things not seen. A belief that there are better days ahead.” – Barack Obama.

About two years ago, Martha Karua made no secret of her presidential ambitions and after wilfully resigning from Kibaki’s Cabinet, she has been hard at work campaigning and drumming up support for her bid.
About two weeks ago, Raphael Tuju resigned from his cushy job as Special Advisor to the President and declared that he is offering his candidature for President of Kenya in 2012.

These two are among the growing number of Presidential hopefuls seeking to challenge the two descendants from the two big political dynasties Kenyatta and Odinga, along with the rest of the candidates vying for CEO, Kenya 2012.

As far as political campaigns go, I’m sure that the hopefuls are hoping their new faces and fresh ideas trigger an Obama effect that will inspire wide-scale, cross-boundary support from the electorate. Although Kibaki is certainly no Bush, presidential aspirants will target the failings of his two-term administration and hope to sell themselves as the Change Agent that the voters and the country seek. They will promise to slay the twin-headed dragon that is corruption and impunity, they will have you convinced that once they’re elected the economy will be revitalised, jobs will be created and basic services will be improved for all Kenyans.

That said, the Obama effect as we know it, is unlikely to work here in Kenya.

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Who Am I Voting For in 2012?

Vote For Nobody Graffiti

Someone asked me the above question and I told them ‘Nobody’.

They laughed.

I didn’t.

I don’t expect much of the government. I expect even less from the president as an individual. As far as I’m concerned, the majority of politicians seeking office aren’t competent enough to operate a smartphone, so why trust them with a country in the 22nd century? Continue reading

The Politics of Kenyan Lawyers

In my freshman year at Law School, I remember hearing the phrase: ‘law is politics and politics is law’, which later made sense to me since the ruling party of the day has a hand in both the enactment and implementation of any country’s laws. It is therefore a widely accepted fact that most lawyers are drawn to politics, particularly to the floor of the elected House as members of the legislature and then the executive.

In the US, for instance, 26 out of the 44 Presidents were lawyers including the incumbent Barack Obama. Here in Kenya, our President and Prime Minister may not be lawyers but we have a Cabinet littered with legal practioners starting with the Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka. By willingly accepting the unenviable role of the President’s special envoy on the deferral of the ICC trials of the “Hague Six”, many have questioned why the V-P failed to advise the President both as a lawyer and a former Foreign Affairs Minister, on the contents of the Rome Statute.
In Kalonzo’s defence, his boss, the President has not been a shining example of good leadership either. And as far as flip-flopping and opportunism goes, who can forget when Kibaki, one of the world’s longest serving MPs, once infamously said that to try remove Kanu from power was to cut the mugumo tree with a razor – only later to leave Kanu and form DP.

But I digress.

My thesis is simple: for as long as our country will continue producing lawyers, there will no doubt be a fair number of them who cross over from the corridors of justice to the annals of political power. So allow me to briefly canvas a few of your legally-inclined politicians.

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Engineering a New Breed of Kenyan Women Politicians

Disclaimer: The letter below is meant for diasporadical purposes only. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.

To whom it may concern,

Even as we will endeavour to attain the 33% minimum female representation in future Parliaments (as enshrined in the new Constitution), I believe there must be a shift of focus from just considering the numbers to a closer examination of the calibre and character of the women political representatives themselves.
Not to understate the importance of this 33% critical mass but it is crucial we start examining the specific women vying for public office, considering their educational and professional training, religious views, family and social background, temperament, other idiosyncracies and overall personality. All these other variables will assist Kenyan voters and taxpayers alike to determine what qualitative impact a particular woman candidate will make once she sets foot into parliament or any other public office in the land.
The required 33% of our current number of 222 MPs comes to about 73 women MPs. So the question which I ask is: would you want 73 Sally Kosgey’s or 73 Charity Ngilu’s or 73 Martha Karua’s or 73 Esther Murugi’s?

I’m sure the majority of you would obviously say none of the above and would opt for a mixture of these women politicians based on their individual strengths and weaknesses so as to arrive at a well-rounded and suitable woman politician, if it were possible. In the animal and plant kingdoms, this selection of attributes from various species is known as ‘breeding’.

So allow me to suggest, hypothetically, two possible “breeds” of Kenyan women politicians.

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