After a tumultuous year, nothing has changed politically, and nothing will unless…

Forget what the politicians are saying…2017 was a good year for democracy in Kenya. Just. True we were tried, we tittered then we triumphed. We were not short of prophets of doom. Even an over-enthusiastic rather juvenile Senator had warned of Armageddon. The world held its collective breath, some sent their reporters, well briefed and even with elaborate evacuation back-up plans. They warned, they watched and they waited.  It never came.  The naysayers had lost, and Kenya had triumphed.

As we enter 2018, despite the triumph of our democracy, nothing has changed politically in Kenya and nothing is likely to change in the foreseeable future. Jubilee is in power, legitimately or illegitimately depending on who you ask. This is not new. It has been in power for the last five years legitimately or illegitimately depending on who you ask, and even the category “who you ask” has not changed. Those who thought that Jubilee was in power illegitimately five years ago still do, those who didn’t, still don’t. Welcome to Kenya!

NASA are in the opposition, as they have been for the last five years, only beaten, broken and bitter.  Both Jubilee and NASA are trying to redefine their roles in the eyes of their supporters and detractors, and two different dispensations have emerged.

Those in power are talking unity and development. Again, this is not anything new. In fact, it is the oldest KANU song in town. I am sure those of my readers who are old enough remember the umoja na maendeleo clarion call of Moi’s KANU. It took us nowhere. Those in the opposition have a new clarion call, “resist” and they have called for “people’s assemblies” and secession. The bigger question however is, how do we the people fit in all this.

Comparing Jubilee’s and NASA’s post-election dispensations, I am inclined to explore NASA’s position for progressive possibilities, since honestly speaking, umoja na maendeleo is so old and tattered a clarion call, it tells me that Jubilee is seriously suffering from a dearth of new ideas. They have been in power for 55 years, and we are neither united nor developed.

I particularly like the concept of the “peoples’ assembly”, but for completely different reasons from which it has been proposed.

Like I have said, nothing has changed. And nothing is likely to change unless we the people realize that electing politicians and releasing them to rule and steal from us for five years has not worked for the last 55 years, is not working and is likely not to work for us. We must rise to the new reality that we must continuously and vigilantly be involved and engaged in governance to hold to account those whom we have elected through every second and every minute of the next five years.

We have to realize that Kenya has moved from the era of subversion and agitation to the era of participation and accountability.  My problem with the “people’s assembly” as conceived by Raila is that he bases it on his old politics of subversion, agitation and “reforms”. Do we need a people’s assembly? Yes. But its major purpose must be to enable people to participate in governance and to hold their elected leaders accountable. The first business of the “peoples’ assembly” must be to give life to the mutilated constitutional provision for recall of politicians. As easily as they were elected, we the people must have the power to as easily recall them tomorrow, if accountability calls.

And then there is the small matter of secession. If I lived in a country where I felt, rightly or wrongly, that my rights and opportunities were curtailed, I would want to have the right to explore other options, secession included. I therefore see nothing wrong in whoever is talking secession. We must realize that all over the world, secession and talk of secession are legitimate avenues for those who feel marginalized in all sorts of ways. Though it is a fairly new way of engaging in Kenya, it is common throughout the world from Uganda, Sudan, Nigeria, Chad, Libya, Spain, Britain, Eastern Europe, The balkans,  Russia, China, Papua New Guinea, Canada and the list goes on and on. I feel that those reacting negatively to the call are doing so more from fear of the unknown. After all, the call for unity is as democratic as the call for secession.

I am always for new ideas. There can never be progress without them. Looking at the political landscape, we have the same actors, occupying the same positions and our post-election disposition is not far different from our pre-election one. For we the people, nothing will change unless we rise up to our role of engagement and participation in politics and holding our elected leaders to account every minute and day of the next five years. In realizing this role, NASA has proposed a workable participatory model. For it to make sense though, it must be divorced from Raila Odinga’s diminishing political fortunes and outdated politics of subversion.

Post-2017 election, I am more enamored to the NASA ideas for the possibilities of engagement, participation and accountability that they offer we the people.  The last thing I want to hear is the old umoja na maendeleo KANU nonsense. The lesson for 2018 is that nothing has changed, and nothing will change unless we the people engage our political space to structure our participation and demand for accountability.

I am wishing all my readers, supporters and critics a prosperous 2018!!

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65 comments

  1. professor, you had a very good slogan that was noy umoja na maendeleo, how many votes did it fetch?? siasa iko na wenyewe. You and me can only ask for an environment to be able to work and feed our children. moreso ask for good health from God.

  2. Sounds good but iko the smallest hint of desperation and some expectations perhaps a reward for your efforts!
    Clarify what you like about People’s Assembly more on how an illegal animal will replace public participation!
    Our constitution has NO SPARE PARTS!
    Am not a lawyer perhaps we will ask SC Githu Muigai

  3. What has happened Prof. I thought you were comfortable with Jubilee’s win and you even did a post to that effect, why the change of heart? I think as an intellectual you should stop sitting on the fence and give people direction

  4. In all these does devolution have a role to play. Can we use devolution as a pillar for our economic powerment. Our politicians seems to talk about liberating us but they never seem to talk of they can empower us. The narc govt of 2003 seemed to have gotten the “economic stupid” right however it ignored the politicians who pulled it back. Thus my take is lets strengthen the devolved units make them deliver and stop this clamour that its only when one becomes a president that economic emancipation can be achieved

  5. you are just a storyteller youngman. i had a lot of hopes in you but later on i learnt that you are just seeking tribal recognition. i expected you to remain standing after you saw what happened on the 8th august.
    learn politics first and stop taking people for a ride.
    you are too good for nothing.
    enda ulime shamba

  6. Kenyans of your like are rare,so enjoy your uniqueness.You plant your seeds for our future generations.Remember the democracy enjoyed by other nations is a struggle of long gone heroes.

  7. The part of your article that states “For it to make sense though, it must be divorced from Raila Odinga’s diminishing political fortunes and outdated politics of subversion” is in bad taste. Raila Odinga is a leader of so many people. Belittling his efforts cannot be taken lightly.

  8. You have put your thoughts in writing. Some will of course dismiss you, others will applaud you, while others will remain nonchalant. At the end of the day, we all have a right to voice our opinions.

  9. On this professor I agree 100%..you are right nothing has changed…. The question is how do we bring about a disired change…. Sometimes back I thought democracy was the key this is when Kenyan went to the streets to demand for change which moi granted….. But looking back it all started with mzee Jomo Kenyatta at independence then Kenya was full of expectations…but no change came…. Then Moi came and the nyayo philosophy of love peace and unity came but we ended up more divided…… Then Kibaki came and democracy was chanted…. we Believed that our economy was in safe hands but after ten years we had not changed for the better…. Then Uhuruto came…. We thought new brooms sweep better… The younger generation was full of optimism….five years are gone and we are no better….. Kenya is pregnant with hope but we are yet to come to birth….. The NASA promised Land is now another dream but do we expect change would have come……hope we live to see a better kenya. Happy new year Kenyans.

  10. You are just triggering a conversations , but you got to much imaginary literature in your text., You are too much in theories , other than actionable,let as say just like the girl with a twisted future in Gordon Oluoch short stories , you fit well to be labeled an opportunist or watermelon as we say down at the Estates …

  11. He had to name raila and quitting politics to be seen relevant. You are just a kikuyu, just support jubilee and be honoured. Why are you concerned by others? They fight alone, burry themselves, feed themselves, who are you calling upon to support your agenda?

  12. I like some of comments on people assembly and Secession , these comments are purely from Michael and not Wainaina . In Kenya unfortunately Prof, can achieve not these changes without a National figure who is truly committed to these ideals, Raila Odinga may not. We either solve these problems or secede.

  13. I agree 80%…. However, NASA cannot and will not separate itself from Raila if it intends to stay alive, we want him as our president… If we do secede, he will be the first president of our new republic,if we do not, he remains our president, we don’t care how that goes. There is no moving on with uhuruto for us, we refuse to let the blood of Msando, baby Pendo, Mutinda and the hundreds more go in vain.

  14. you lost man, you triumph in nothing and your political opinion is pathetic, stop generalising camps on your brains, we different entities and our stand on “democary” still diverse like Jew, Jewish and The Jew

  15. well said prof. but now my problems is,can we teach and old dog a new trick. what if, just what if we say enough is enough. we do away with all infected politicians and bring on board a new blood. then here comes ths fear of unknown, will we trust that the newly reared politicians will not be infected? what if they become worse?shall we sing the oldage song of the devil we know?.. life is full of uncertainty. should we venture in the leadership of vampires as we escape that of mosquitoes

  16. One wonders,even if secession becomes successful for them that are advocating for it,will there be unity within the duo,I only agree with you nothing has changed.

  17. The Kikuyu in you is bigger than your academic achievement…… You’re a Prof in kikuyuism……..shame on you…you’re in the same league with Moses kuria and waititu

  18. Long winded article with no way forward. You lost your credibility when you threw your hat with our tormentors. We had so much hope until you showed your true colours.

  19. Good thoughts. True, 2017 was a good year for democracy in Kenya. Yes, we may have tittered, but we are slowly getting out of it stronger and more knowledgeable. How l wish we all learn from it to avoid history repeating its self as is usually the norm. And to you Prof, you may not have gotten the ultimate prize, but you did many of us proud. But more importantly, your message of a ‘new narrative’ was heard loud and clear. As they say, it is not the number of times you fall down that matters, but how many times you are able to get up and proceed. 2022 is coming.

    May your wishes for 2018 come true, and may God bless Kenya.

  20. How did the murder of the IEBC IT Manager so close to the elections improve our democracy?
    How did IEBC refusing to comply by the Supreme Court order to give full read only access to their server improve our governance Prof?! You are just another jubilee youth winger.

  21. Welcome back prof. from the detour you took last year. Am always delighted to read and react to your engaging political discourse. I agree with you. We the people need to take charge. But not the NASA way. How I wish someone would run away with the idea away from the RESIST brigade and grow it into something to benefit Wanjiku.

  22. Prof. you can give a good platitude for democratic norms and principles but when contempt of court orders are selectively allowed for some to use againest others, know we are going nowhere as a nation

  23. You should be worried that only your tribe are supporting your shallow ideas. I really respected you,I could copy your posts and save them until you decided to become stupid

  24. Part of the problem ailing Kenya are people like you. People who hide their selfish interests behind call for change and they have nothing in their past record to prove their worth. You joined presidential race with message of true change that Kenya has been longing for only to turn your back and support the order of the day,the thieving, tribalistic and ever marginalising jubilee administration. You went to the court as an interested party to support them. To some of us you are just one of the other candidates that they put in the race to help them in rigging by distributing votes across to make it look less evil.

    You ate your share of the brown envelope and kindly chew it in peace. Or is it that you’ve depleted the account and is on another attention seeking mission to get some more envelope. If that is the case then you better forget because by now they have nothing to loose, ask Eugine Wamalwa and Mwangi Kiunjuri. They are now feeling their wrath after being used to insult other leaders with hope to appease the powers that may be.

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