The Kenyan Flag Flying High Photo by/Property of Mutua Matheka
On the 4th of March 2013, Kenya will be heading to the polls. Something that should have happened this year but that’s a discussion for another day and by someone else!
The Presidential aspirants are (at least those I know or heard of):
Raila Odinga, Uhuru Kenyatta, Kalonzo Musyoka, William Ruto, Martha Karua, Charity Ngilu, James ole Kiyiapi, Kingwa Kamencu, George Wajackoyah, Peter Kenneth, Raphael Tuju, Musalia Mudavadi, Cyrus Jirongo, Eugene Wamalwa, Moses Weteng’ula, David Maillu, Omingo Magara, Dennis Nzioka
So, who will I vote for?
This is a question thrown my way quite a number of times.
Before I tell you who I’ll vote for, allow me to clue you in on the criteria I used/I am using to come to a decision.
1. Criminal record – By criminal record here I mean whether the candidate has a history with the law – whether they were found guilty guilty or were/are just accused. Right here a number of the listed candidates fall heavily for me. Since many can’t read between the lines, Uhuru kenyatta & William Ruto are accused of a serious crime. I can’t ignore that. Even if innocent, I can’t imagine a president who will be taking trips to attend court cases every so often. This is wrong on so many levels but let me highlight one. If, for example, an accused individual is made the Safaricom CEO, what would happen? The obvious is confidence in the brand will fall drastically and this has nothing to with whether the individual is guilty or not. Being accuses is enough. In the same way, if the president Elect has been accused of a crime, mind this is a crime against humanity, no other country will have confidence in the country as a whole! Who would blame them really??
Another candidate to fall here is Omingo Magara. Won his seat with irregularities and lost the petition. Winning the petition wouldn’t have made it better by the way. Why would we vote for a candidate who’s accused of winning in a way that is a proven spark for the fire of unrest?!
Charity Ngilu – from KNH scandal to Water Scandal … errm, sorry. She’s out too!
2. Integrity – This is a tricky point seeing that all MPs fail by virtue of them consistently increasing their salaries & non of the candidates have turned down the pay rise. So it boils down to working/in office integrity. Who can & has stepped down because of either poor working conditions, for investigation, diversion from office goals. Moses Wetangula showed a glimpse of this when he stepped down albeit only under pressure to do just that following the Tokyo embassy scandal. Musalia Mudavadi on the other hand did step aside but only partially – stepped down from his Local Government Minister post but not as Deputy PM – following the cemetary scandal. If he had stepped down even from the Deputy PM, it’d have made a better case for integrity. The gold star goes to Martha Karua who even without being pressured but out of the famous “inner voice”, resigned her position as Justice Minister citing “anti-reform forces” cutting down her efforts. Something evident today. In summary, being associated with a scandal automatically rules out an aspirant for me. So Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetangula, are out!
3. Track record – past responsibilities. I’m a firm believer in this Confucian Philosophy: “The superior man acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his action.” so a speech is only good for me if it’s grounded on what you have done which in essence testifies to what you can do. Here I give the Gold star to Peter Kenneth for his work with CDF. Ranked top more than once!
4. Principles/strength of will – this could mean sticking by & taking responsibility of wrong decisions. Let me say it outright. Kalonzo Musyoka fails on this for me. He tries too hard to be neutral. For a president, I can’t take this as a quality. The fact that he has a party called “Wiper”, a mechanism that works on the principle of wavering from one side to the other and his continuous search for another party to hitch his wagon to just goes on to prove he’s an unreliable character. So he’s out!
When it comes to Strength of will, Raila has that. Hate him or love him, you can’t take that away from him. Having experienced Nyayo house of horror, coup – he earns a level of respect from me. But that’s where it ends. I find his seemingly principled stand to be more of being stubborn than being principled. I know I’m walking a fine and blurry line in distinguishing the 2. I think he’s too focused on being the President he forgets he can be just as influential not being one. This blind focus has made him not to take responsibility for his part of the PEV. The least he would do and that would place him as a true political enigma in my book would be for him to just come out and say, “I may have not called for the violence but I did play a role in it and so I’m dedicating my influence in aiding the IDPs resettle and restart their life. I am, in essence, saying I will not run for presidency in the next election ie 2013!” This would earn him respect across the board, I believe. I know his ego can’t allow him to do this … ergo, he’s stubborn and NOT so much principled! So with this, Raila’s out!
Gold star here goes to Martha Karua. After the 2007 elections, she stood by role despite the view that there might have been irregularities. All respect her strength of will and principle on this even though not all see it is having being a right stand. I doubt I need to repeat the point of her stepping down on working principles as Justice Minister.
Point of note here, being principled is more than just talking of being principled. It has a whole lot more to do with actually being principled. This is why I haven’t mentioned Peter Kenneth here. He speaks the good game but I haven’t quite seen him playing it.
Just so we are together, so far who I’m voting for is NOT Uhuru Kenyatta, William Ruto, Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi, Moses Wetangula, Charity Ngilu. That said, they play no further role in my post.
5. Policy understanding – In this I mean the ability to understand and grasp of the policies necessary to govern a country. Again here, Martha Karua has shown me enough to have given her the gold star. Why? How? Well, she has over the years been able to actually contribute to various motions and debates. Her weekly interactions with social media users in a bid to tackle different issues with her #AskMarthaThursdays speaks volumes to me. Given the hype around peter Kenneth’s speech during his launch, I guess I have to address the fact that his speech was issue based. I have to say, Kudos for that. But it’s not convincing to me to bring this out at a speech. Aren’t speeches written by a team? So yeah, that’s not enough for me but it IS a good start. The reason why Martha Karua takes it for me is because she has a grasp of this anywhere anytime! She knows her stuff, simply put!
6. Constitutional knowledge, understanding & desire to implement it as is – Goes without saying that Martha takes it here! And her stepping down as Justice Minister surely speaks of her willingness to see the constitution implemented the right way. I expect Eugene Wamalwa to be knowledgeable being a lawyer but he fails for me in his desire to implement it – lack of it that is! His endorsing Uhuru Kenyatta & William Ruto, suspects of crimes against humanity, doesn’t scream “Trust me to implement the constitution” to me! So, Eugene Wamalwa is out!
7. Education, intelligence, articulate – As far as I’m concerned, education is a basic requirement. Luckily those in the running currently are sorted in that. So we go over to intelligence which has something to do with education but not necessarily defined by it. When I say articulate, I don’t mean when giving a speech because I know many will point me to Peter Kenneth’s speech. That’s not what I mean. I mean the ability to properly express thoughts as they come and especially when they arise. I think Peter Kenneth and Martha Karua are both equal on this criterion. So gold star to both of them.
I have not put policies as a criterion I follow because this is what I believe: “Policies are more or less the same every election so an election is more about who you believe & trust can implement the policies.” Someone can have the most elaborate of policies but if they have no integrity or are not principled to see anything done or to stand by a decision, they are just blowing hot air.
What about the other aspirants you haven’t mentioned or ruled out yet listed in the intro?
Thank you for pointing that out. I have to confess, I pay no attention to these aspirants: Raphael Tuju (because I honestly don’t know what he stands for), Cyrus Jirongo, Kingwa Kamencu (this lady needs to see a doctor! Underwear free Africa?!! Lady, if you have beef with Victoria’s Secret that’s your problem, not Kenya’s or Africa’s, for that matter!!), David Maillu. I honestly don’t think politics is where they belong.
As for Dennis Nzioka, I think he just wants to make a statement for the LGBTI community. That’s not happening, not in Kenya!
The following aspirants I think need to start small, something in the region of Governor: George Wajackoyah, James ole Kiyiapi. Barrack Obama served 3 terms a Senator before being President & even running unsuccessfully for the United States House of Representatives! I’m not going to be ashamed to say that info I got from wikipedia. I hate plagiarism. I think these candidates have something to offer but they need to “mature” in this politics and civil servant-hood before being considered worthy of the role, at least by me.
Time to answer the question, “Who Will You Vote For?”
At this point, it’s clear my top contenders are Martha Karua & Peter Kenneth. But judging by my criteria ranking it’s clear my choice is MARTHA KARUA.
Why not Peter Kenneth? Well, granted, he is an impressive candidate and would be considered and outsider or a new face and voting for will be a change, but isn’t voting for any of these aspirants a change in one way or another? “What about his great CDF management?” I think that’s a GREAT & COMMENDABLE achievement. I however don’t think that qualifies him to be a President. CDF management is a matter of getting money and ensuring it’s used well right? That, to me, is stellar qualification for a Finance Minister. A president handles policies, requires principles, strong will, firm hand – traits he falls behind Martha Karua by a mile or 10! Let me put it this way, if the Migigngo saga pops up again, I trust Martha Karua to be firmer in position than Peter Kenneth. He says many nice things hardly takes stands or positions that might be viewed radical or controversial. To be fair, Martha Karua leaves a lot to be desired in light of the CDF issue.
That said, A Karua – Kenneth presidency would be a winning ticket for me! But since Peter Kenneth has launched his solo ticket and we all know Martha Karua is too principled and in this case justifiably stubborn to even consider a coalition, this won’t happen!
So there you have it, my answer. And for the record, this is Just One Man’s Opinion (or #JOMO for those of you who prefer social media lingo or hashtag). Feel free to counter my points.
As a sidenote: “Who will you vote for?” is a question that assumes I’m voting! If you are to ask this question, I suggest you first ask, “Will you be voting come next election?” Many are still hurting and fighting guilt over voting the last time and still need to be convinced to vote. And saying “Voting is your right!” is, forgive my language, a stupid and insensitive reason to give someone who was told that exact thing that last time and it led to the violence. Be sensitive to their doubts and hurts. To be honest, I vowed never to vote again after last election, which happened to be my first time voting by the way, and I’m still not entirely convinced I should vote! Mainly because non of the so-called leaders who are still the same names put out there to be voted back in have taken a hint of responsibility for what happened.. 5 years later!! – and I’m not talking about “lip-service”. I’m talking ACTION. Anything less means nothing! And I’m sure very many are probably where I am.
Objectivity demands that I direct you to other posts that may be taking a different view so … I found this to be an interesting take on the aspirants “Tunawesmake” By moderatekenyan (http://moderatekenyan.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/tunawesmake/)
For the record, the Presidential Debate is a good idea but like I said, they’ll be all prepared with points prepared by teams so don’t use it as the only yard stick – consider it too though because I doubt all teams will be that well prepared. But look for how articulate they’ll be.
Make sure you pick your choice objectively.
Alffie is my name.
And I don’t particularly like politics!