Raila has come under intense criticism from various quarters over his suggestion that our country adopts a rotational presidency.
The critics feel that this is purely undemocratic.
Here is my two-cents’ worth of opinion:
For a very long time the presidency has been alternating between two communities in Kenya: The Kikuyu and the Kalenjins. For over half a century, we have had only four presidents, and those presidents have always come from two communities in Kenya.
The current president is a Kikuyu, and most likely the next president will be a Kalenjin. It is an open secret that Ruto is earmarked to succeed Uhuru based on an an agreement (ad hoc or otherwise) that Ruto supports Uhuru in 2013 and 2017 so that Uhuru can endorse him in 2022 and 2027.
After Ruto is done with his time, their sons (Uhuru and Ruto’s) will have come of age, and will be jostling for their fathers’ positions. And probably the sons are catered for in that agreement. It is an open secret that it is Moi who pulled Uhuru Kenyatta from obscurity and gave him a national stage that he would use to ascend to power. And he did that as a way of returning a favor.
Therefore, from the foregoing, it is easy to tell that for another century, as a country we might not be able to break the tyranny of numbers jinx that has kept other ethnicities from the presidency.
It is with this information and concerns in the backdrop that Raila suggested we have a rotational presidency. Undemocratic as it may seem, that is probably the best bet we have for attaining regional balance and equality.
It is very difficult for another person, save for a Kikuyu or Kalenjin linchpin, to ascend to power in the current scheme of things. Whenever Kalenjins and Kikuyus come together, then they hold sway and their decision always carries the day.
What Raila is suggesting is that we have an affirmative action. An affirmative action realizes the inherent inequities in a society and appropriately rectifies them. The constitution of Kenya 2010 introduces a variety of affirmative actions to cater for certain demographics- women, the disabled, etc. There should also be an affirmative action to cater for minority ethnicities. Those crying wolf that Raila’s stance on rotational presidency is undemocratic are palpably quiet on these other affirmative actions that reserve special seats for particular kinds of people.
And let us for once be honest with ourselves. In Kenya, nationhood is a mirage. It might be a long time before a Kikuyu can learn to have the interest of a Luo at heart, and vice versa. That is not to deny that there are a few wonderful people whose kindness and love transcends ethnic identity. When a Kikuyu takes over power, there will be a flurry of development activities in his backyard and none in areas perceived to be in opposition. Appointments to plum positions also reflect this grim reality.
The other day you heard the president lampoon residents in Mombasa that they did not vote for the Jubilee regime and therefore should be glad that the Jubilee regime was being gracious to start development in the area despite all that.
A few months ago you saw a number of leaders troop to the deputy president’s home in a bid to invite development to their regions.
You all know that little in terms of development is going on in Luo Nyanza because of the entrenched perception that that is an opposition area.
You all see the kind of people who sit at the helm of key institutions in this country are from one community. The Presidents community. Despite the fact that we have 42 tribes in Kenya, and there are probably more qualified people from those areas.
You can therefore see why the presidency means so much to any particular region.
Devolution could have been the answer to the question of regional development, but the powers that be, with their megalomania and quest to have power centre around the presidency, are wringing every inch of life from this novel concept. Remember they did not support the new constitution, which entrenches devolution. And it is rather weird. It brings to mind a scenario where a man had two wives. One of the wives conceived. The other wife was seething with envy. She was opposed to the pregnancy. She tried to induce the co-wife who was pregnant to miscarry.
However, through grit and determination, the pregnant wife gave birth at the right time, but died during the childbirth. Would the father leave the infant in the hands of the envious wife? I digress. Anyway, the point is that these two gentlemen who lead us were opposed to the new constitution and therefore cannot be trusted with its implementation, and that is why they are stifling devolution. So, those who say devolution blah blah blah should remember that devolution will only work under leadership of good will.
Let people quit hiding behind the concept of democracy now when they support and cheer undemocratic ideals. Most of those who are opposed to a rotational presidency are comfortable with the MoU between Uhuru and Ruto to rule for 20 years. How is that democratic?
Besides, Raila is not forcing the rotational presidency idea down anybody’s throat. Probably Kenyans might have to go to a referendum where they will elect whether to adopt the idea or not. Isn’t that a democratic process?