Saturday, 8 February 2014

Do us a favour Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). 
Let Kenyans see a post-Moi tyranny party last a decade

Listen Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party. Do us a favour, conduct credible elections, allow Kenyans to see a post Moi tyranny political party last at least a decade. This nonsense about some Luo MPs angling to form a new party because they have been boxed out of the March 2014 party elections must be condemned and stopped forthwith.

Our problems as Kenyans (and indeed many Africans elsewhere) in many instances cradle from the lack of effective institutions and (where we have established them) the lack of respect for them and effort to protect and sustain them. Quite often we create institutions, make laws or implement policies when they suit the demands of our immediate political, economic or ethnic expediencies. We nonetheless dishonourably dump them, undermine and destroy them the moment they begin to act against our whims.

That is the reason the Constitution of Kenya was amended 27 times between 1954 and 2011 (just 40 years), while the USA had only 27 amendments between 1789 and 2011 (220yrs) and the UK had 29 amendments between 1911 and 2011 (110 years). That is the reason why Kenya had over 300 registered parties (only 2, KANU and KENDA established before 1989), nearly 117 nominating candidates to the National Assembly in 2007 yettoday only 47 parties are legally registered.


Institutions, laws and policies exist to serve our common good; to assure order, fairness and to ensure prosperity thrives amongst us. They cost colossal amounts of money to establish; be it a constitution, some subordinate piece of legislation, a political party or state organ. Institutions must be allowed to survive the test of time. They must be respected in order to earn their legitimacy. That’s why the basic football rules that governed the game in the 19th Century still govern it today. That’s why it is less likely to see Americans, Britons or Japanese slaughtering one another with machetes after an election. Because they established strong institutions, they depend on them and thus made the deliberate decision to respect and protect them.

ODM has lasted nearly a decade now. ODM must set an example to Kenyans. The party must demonstrate to Kenyans that it is possible to establish political parties, hold elections, manage internal party affairs without motivating party members to splinter off and destroy it. ODM must seek to remain a nationalistic party. It must allow internal democracy to thrive. It must ensure that its members contribute substantively in order to meaningfully keep it accountable and prevent cabals of rich politicians from hijacking party agenda and future because of their resource investments or other contributions.

TO those distraught ODM MPs who have assumed the moral high horse, now invoking tenets of democracy while threatening to form a new party. Give Kenyans a break. You are the same fellows who perpetuated the dictatorship and hegemonic tendencies within ODM when it did favour your appetites.

TO Raila Odinga and your cabal of party tyrants within ODM – yours has been the loudest prolonged noise about democracy, justice and fairness. There is a generation of Kenyans who almost equate you to that. It is disappointing and unacceptable then to keep hearing of your inability to nurture and foster internal democracy within ODM. There is evidence of the many parties you have established and destroyed due to a lack of commitment to internal party democracy – Ford Kenya, NDP, LDP, KANU, ODM-Kenya. We cannot continue that way sir. Kenyans deserve a tad bit of some ‘walking of the talking’ that your political career has specialised in.  

TO ODM party members and followers – you must insist on establishing and respecting strong party structures and systems that can allow the party to effectively play its role in providing a platform for citizens to participate in political activity and to influence the country’s leadership. If you ever aspire to win an election; outline a distinctive party ideology that people can identify with – not ethnic, personality cult-ish driven ‘ideology’. There is NO two ways about it.  

And like the old Swahili saying goes – “Ukiona mwenzako akinyolewa, chako kichwa kitie maji”, let the other parties learn their lesson from ODM. Let Kenyans, members of other political parties learn their lesson as well. Otherwise we shouldn’t complain next time another of those clowns with dodgy credentials flaunts their money, buys or establishes a new political party, contests a presidential election and assumes public office a few weeks later.


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