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We (Kenya) have a long way to go | Blog


Farage left and Clegg Kenya severely lagging democratically
Nigel Farage (left) and Nick Clegg (right)
(Image Source: express.co.uk)

My eyes were glued to my TV screen a couple of weeks ago when a debate that pitted Nigel Farage, the Party Leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), against Nick Clegg, The British Deputy Prime Minister and the Party Leader of the Liberal Democrats. LBC radio the debate organized and the subject was whether Britain’s future lies with the EU.

Nigel Farage’s party is Euro-sceptic. They believe that UK, as a member of the EU, is losing out by declining its economic status which is- historical and a political powerhouse. He argues that the UK has given up its sovereignty to bureaucrats in Brussels and has lost the ability to take legal and political decisions towards Britain’s best interest.

On the contrary, Nick Clegg, who is resolutely Pro-EU, argues that Britain has more to gain being a member of EU. With the growth of international trade and expansion of free market internationally, the British would have their economic prospects better served as a member of EU.

Polls after the debate presented Nigel Farage marginally defeating Nick Clegg. A week later saw a tantalizing second round where Nigel Farage had a convincing victory. His victory is a reflection of a popular trend in Europe, where the electorate is increasingly shunning the mainstream centrist parties and turning to right wing parties.

On to my point of argument; why are we light years in the wake of UK and other established democracies?  This debate wowed me!  The candidates were judged not based on their ethnicity and differences but on their ideologies and what they stand for. Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, did not mind being grilled about their government and its policies. This fact speaks volumes of the political maturity of the society where the government understands that it is accountable to its citizens. They must justify the policies they administer are for the public interest.

We have a progressive constitution that the current administration does not believe in.  All our institutions of government are in a state of disarray. Our houses of parliament are caught in a supremacy battle. The first ordeal from the Members of Parliament and Members of the County Assembly was to demand for an increase in their salaries as well as perks irrespective of the effect this would have on the economy. Court orders are routinely disobeyed. The country's security apparatus is incapable of ensuring our peace and security. Corruption and impunity is still rife. The media does not ask the hard questions and keeps the public focused on irrelevant issues. It is careful to only highlight issues that do not contradict the government.  In reference to a line from the film Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, a comment on the changing role of the media states- "instead of telling people what they need to know, why don’t we tell them what they want to know.”

Kenya is to warped in ethnic and tribal politics for us to talk about real issues. All our politicians ever talk about is “we need to have one of our own come 2017.” For instance, the Presidential debates were supposed to provide a platform for the electorate to engage with the candidates in order to understand their ideas and philosophies. However, "Tyranny of numbers" was all that mattered. There is a genuine lack of issue based politics in our country. The consequence is that we are perennially disenfranchised by the political class who only seek to serve persona interests as opposed to public welfare.

It is vital for us to stand and make a difference on the society we want to be in.

photo credit: arbyreed (featured image) via photopin cc


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