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MUTAI: Why Kenyans should take responsibility of their choices

We like to blame our misfortunes on the politicians. The politicians who get the greatest part of the blame are the ones deemed to be running the government of the day. Mostly the presidency and the cabinet. 
President William Ruto (centre) greets pupils at Ciampiu area, Tharaka Ward, Kitui County on July 13,2023. He is flanked by governor Julius Malombe, area MCA Muthengi Ndagara among other leaders present./ FILE

In this country we got three independent arms of government who are expected to work together for the benefit of the citizens. The parliament, judiciary and executive.

The Executive is headed by President William Ruto who chairs a Cabinet that is supposed to be composed of people from outside parliament. The legislative powers are vested on the Parliament that consists of the National Assembly and the Senate. Besides legislation members of parliament are supposed to oversight the executive and represent their employer(voters).

The Judiciary is supposed to be independent from both Parliament and Executive. The Executive enjoys considerable powers and other arms have limited means of checking that power.

Chance to make things right

Every five years, Kenyan have a chance to choose new leaders to occupy the elective offices from members of county assembly to the president. There are 1,450 wards that must be represented by an elected MCA each. The governor and the deputy governor from each of the 47 counties. 

The National Assembly has 349 members out of which 290 are elected to represent the Sub Counties of Kenya. 47 women are elected to represent each county. 47 senators are elected to represent each county in the Senate. Cumulatively, there are 1,640 elective seats from the MCA to the President which Kenyans have powers to change every five years.

Fruits of our labour

After every electioneering period, you start hearing complaints from Kenyans of all walks of life regarding how useless their government is. Ironically, it is the same citizens who put those leaders in those positions. There are genuine allegations that the president chooses the people from his tribe and close family members into most executive positions. But the same president was chosen by majority of Kenyans. 

In the previous election, there were more than 22,152,144 registered voters. Out of this number, President Ruto got 7,176,141 votes, followed by ODM party leader Raila with 6,942,930 votes, Mr. Wajackoyah garnered 61,969 votes while Mr Mwaure settled for 31,987 votes. 

The remaining 7,939,117 registered voters chose not to participate in the presidential elections or some voted but the votes got spoiled. As from IEBC, only 14,213,027 votes were valid and were shared among the four candidates above.
So even if there was a fifth candidate in the ballot and all the people who never turned up to vote chose to vote for the fifth imaginary candidate, he/she would still have emerged on top of Dr William Ruto who attained the majority votes among the 4 candidates. Instead of Kenyans crying that every politician is the same, why don’t they vet their own presidential candidate and from him/her against the purported bad politicians and vote for them overwhelmingly? It does not always to be the big names with ethnicity backing carrying the day after every general election. The power is with the voters not the tribal kids born with a silver spoon who always got the entitlement of inheriting their forefathers fame, wealth and ethnic support.

Make The Devolution Work for You

If the national government positions are so competitive for Wanjiku voice to matter, there still is the county governments. In majority of counties in Kenya, the inhabitants belong to same ethnic group. So the ethnic card isn’t that strong here. Why is it hard for the voters pick the best out of their own to become their county chief executive officer? The trend in most counties is that the governor and senator have that come from the regional political party who party leader is mostly the ethnic kingpin. The majority of MCAs also come from such parties. 

It is the role of MCAs to oversight the county executive, represent their voters and make progressive laws to the benefit of the county residents consisted with the supreme law of the land. 

Why are the voters incapable of voting for a fresh person who isn’t fronted by any tribal chief? You must be unreasonable to expect a party leader to give someone a nomination ticket and not have interests in how such a person will operate in the assembly. Since the voters will only have power of determining the fate of this guy in the next five years, it is the party leader who controls how the MCA, governor or whoever was given the ticket exercises their powers and mandate and to whose benefit.

Be Smart

If we expect to have functional institutions such as quality public primary and Junior Secondary Schools, public secondary schools, working quality public health care facilities, clean and safe water and sanitation, standard quality transport infrastructure, we must start by having the right people in the offices that make those policies. You don’t elect someone of questionable character and expect them to become saints after assuming such offices. Kenyans must make informed decisions. Start by making the right choices at the ballot. When an elected leader does not perform, vote them out; choose a new one.


Cephas Mutai is a Geospatial Engineer with interests in survey and politics.
Twitter: @nava_surveys

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