Saturday, January 05, 2008

Alternative solution for Kenya election stalemate

The police are tired, protesters are tired, and many displaced people are stuck and starving as they contemplate rebuilding their lives. The citizens are ready to get started, but the government is not ready to get back. Citizens are out today wishing their banks would open to enable them to start school shopping for next week's re-opening, but the government is the government is still on halt. The presidency is in doubt, and there is no cabinet in place.

Kenyans want to get back to ‘normal’ life and citizens in Nairobi are pretty much trying to do that. Solutions are being worked out, diplomat are talking to politicians, there are peace campaigns in the media – and some of us are fiddling and thinking at home while the fires cool outside.

what are some solutions? Some are not constitutionality possible

government of national unity - this seems to be thee consensus among bloggers and the diplomatic community – But no! We have had that since 2004 and it was about the business of government, not about national unity. Forcing two sides who don't agree, and can't stand each other to sit for an interim period is not going to work

interim government followed by new elections in a few months. These however cannot be overseen by the electoral commission of Kenya. In fact, after the 1982 coup attempt, the air force that instigated the coup were disbanded, and replaced by an 82 Air Force which ran for the next dozen years. Same thing should happen with the ECK. Also what will happen in those few months? Who will coordinate the government? Kenya’ can’t afford to remain in limbo for six months.

my thoughts: In primary school we learnt that there's the executive (president & cabinet) judiciary, and legislature (parliament). Other bodies are the citizens (who voted about 4 million votes each for either Kibaki or Raila) and remain polarized, as are the media and religious leaders. The judiciary is universally seen as not being partial in this debate.

One institution we have intact and legitimate is parliament – whose members were gazetted this week. Parliament to be reconstituted – and they can then vote for the president.

The MP's are our elected leaders and all (but 3) of the countries 210 constituencies have duly elected their representatives for the next five years. There elections are not in doubt for the most part and they are a legitimate group of people, many of them new to parliament for the first time. The vote can be in public or by secret ballot. And surely it will be easier to tally 210 votes than 10 million votes. This can be done in a week at most and will result in a legitimate president for the country.

With about ½ of parliament this would appear to favour the Orange side, but the race is open to all MP's gazetted –not just Kibaki and Raila only. Any MP would be eligible, provided they meet other requirements so potential successors such as Mudavadi, Kalonzo, Saitoti, Uhuru, Karua, and Bifwoli could all run. The election would take a day, be under the full glare of media, and not require the electoral commission of Kenya.

The president elected by parliament - will then form the next government and appoint a cabinet of his liking. His first task of business will be national healing which will include resettlement of displaced persons, rebuilding small businesses affected by riots, relief efforts, rebuilding infrastructure, peacekeeping operations, mending international relations, etc.

The idea stems from novel I read recently, (can't remember the title). Anyway, I'd dearly like to get back to posts on banking and stories like these, but until the politic is sorted out, they are not very useful to write about;

- Diamond Trust Bank: Taking regional banking to Uganda at no extra cost for cross-border transaction

- NIC desperate to go into stockbroking even with an imperfect deal - paid a lot, but don't have full control over stockbroker

-Safaricom extended their cheap calls offer which expired on New Year’s Day to January 15. Many people are still on holiday, some unintended and will benefit from the extended period of ‘cheaper’ calls.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would love to see the parliament coalesce around Kalonzo run and trounce both Raila and Kibaki, I have lost faith in the ability of either one of them to deal with national unity.
I think an independent international commission (UN maybe) should be set up to look into the past elections is needed. It will report on what happened and develop new standards and procedures for future elections. After a year when tempers calm down we can rerun the presidential elections under the new structures. Is a presidential election possible without a parliamentary one?
I would like to see the issue of hate speech addressed in not just campaigning but in the media especially the tribal radio stations. The fact the leading up to the elections all manner of hate speech was allowed to fester and polarize the nation is a large reason for the tribal violence we have witnessed.

Anonymous said...

Banks you said:
"One institution we have intact and legitimate is parliament – whose members were gazetted this week. Parliament to be reconstituted – and they can then vote for the president".

Odinga has a clear majority in parliament and kibaki knows it and he will never agree to this; he would lose outright.

I just don't know what the solution is. After all this bloodletting, kibaki and michuki can't give up power - too many people will come after them now.

Silaha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Silaha said...

Banks:

What you are advocating is in effect a Parliamentary system of governance. It has its merit it is creative, but I don't know how we could do it legally.

What this crisis has made clear to me is the genius of a multicameral legistature and the separation of the head of state from the head of government -- there would have been a mechanism for dealing with this fiasco.

One other thing, is that we should not hold our presidential election at the same time as our parliamentary elections.

Thanks for the posting.

-Silaha

Anonymous said...

Why your idea will not work.
1. You got it from a novel.
2. It is unconstitutional.

However, it is a good idea if the issue was political governance and democracy.But Raila and Kibaki are after power for powers sake.
They can never agree to something that they cannot control.

Anonymous said...

the problem here highlights -- the genius of the framers of the US constitution. the electoral college has its demerits but it was created to dela with especially close polarised elections. - to think it was proposed 300yrs ago.

Anyway whatver solution is proposed we should adopt a no victor no vanquished approach simply replacing kibak w raila will not work. it would signal to
kibakis folks that they have been vanquished. similarly mainatining a kibak presidency will signal a vanquishment of the other side.

similarly a pur parliamnetrary system using our electoral setup will not work - some regions in kenya are over represented proportional to the population -
specifically in terms of population western,nairobi,and central are underrepresented compared tto north eastern and rift valley (mois legacy).

one of the commentators noted that we should separate the parliamnetray and presidential election. i agree. 2. we need a bicameral legislator. i dont support he ida of a prime minister
since it still concentrates power in one branch of govt. but i think we could consider a one term presdient scenario like mexico or peru (one 7yr term) strenthen the judiciary - i think every executive decision or parliamentary decision needs judicial overview. for example before the presidential or parliamnetary elctions is accepted
we need a period wher the judiciary(clean one) has to certify it to be constitutaional same with any executive order.

last but not least whatever the outcome - the youth unemployment needs to be priority one. i dont care if they have to dig holes and cover them a solution needs to be found - texpand the police the army etc i dont care buut something needs to be done URGENTLY...

Anonymous said...

also before i forget we need to allow for independent candidates our party systems forces candidates into ethnic straightjackets

toiyoi said...

At least you are suggesting ideas. First, why this obsession with the constitution allows/does not allow this/that, yet the nation's future is at stake? Should we serve the constitution or should the constitution serve us?

Why i think this will not work:
-MPs appointing president: can not work, even all those ODM MPs just need 1 billion each and they would appoint me

My suggestions: ( see http://toiyoi.wordpress.com)
-let the military take charge
-let there be n (say 8) appointmnets from the Military ranks to form a ruling committe, each representing each of the major Kenyan tribes
-let them run the country for 0.5/.75 years, then either:
--order a new election OR
--carry out a referendum on what people want: one suggested referendum item that i believe will have a long term solution and ensure the security of every group is either:
(a) divide the country into 2 and let people choose where they want to belong OR
(b)divide the country in n self governing states with one very weak central government.

All other solutions are just band-aid to a mortal wound.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of separating presidential elections from parliamentary ones (presidential elections come first).

Anonymous said...

Do we really want to go down the path where we define how resources are allocated based on ethnicity? What a terrible idea! I would laugh at the absurdity of the idea if it was not so tragic and ingrained in the Kenyan mindset.
The idea the poor Kyuks, Luos, Kales in the slums of our cites or in rural areas etc have shared economic, social and political in common with their rich relatives in their mansions in the leafy suburbs is preposterous. It is this mindset that makes our politics issueless and tribal based . The only people that benefit from tribalism in Kenya are the tribal elites.

Anonymous said...

Banks,
Thanks for all the updates on the Kenyan situation. Honestly, the idea of Parliamentarians voting on our behalf makes me rather uncomfortable. First of all, let us remember what is at stake here - our democratic right as Kenyans to vote for our leaders. Kenyans and the world at large know that the election process was flawed and unless we correct what went wrong, we might as well give up our right to vote. I think Mr. Kibaki should do the right thing & acknowledge that there were irregularities in the tallying process. Furthermore, Kibaki should allow for a re-count of ballots to establish who is the rightful person to be in office. We all want nomalcy to return to Kenya but at the same time, we should not settle for less than what we deserve as a nation. In my view, how the Kenyan situation is resolved will set the trend for what happens in future elections in the country.

Anonymous said...

To Anon. @ 6.45: Kalonzo's lacklusture performance during this entire crisis makes him unworthy of the honour you are giving him.

Kalonzo failed to come out and definitively condemn the rigging. In the crisis that has followed, he has failed to step up to the plate as a passionate and impartial mediator.

To most Kenyans, he has already proved them right: HE IS NOT PRESIDENTIAL MATERIAL

MainaT said...

Banks, tx. You right about cops being exahusted. Most have worked for almost 3 months without rest in fairly stressful situation.

How about a national govt that excludes both characters?
That way we solve to issues at once-the need for new sort of leadership and remove two very stubborn men from the current impasse.
Or another one, Kibz rules for 2.5yrs and Raila rules for the other 2.5yrs?

Anonymous said...

Any attempts to forestall Kibaki or Raila as presidents of Kenya should be put behind us. I was fanatical about Kibaki at one time, but my tune has changed. Raila and Kibaki have confirmed that their selfish interests and egos are more important than the lives of Kenyans. As a way forward, my suggestion would be presidential elections to be held soon. Of potential candidates, Kalonzo seems to me as the best alternative. No Kibaki or Raila crap please!

Anonymous said...

Just a quick comment on what Bwana toiyoi had to say. Once the military marches out of the barracks into our lives as rulers, we can forget civilian gava for a very long time. Cannot think of one instance where the army gave up power after just a few months. Power corrupts the most saintly at heart..absolute power backed by a big gun?? Not in my Kenya please!!

Kips said...

Banks,
I don't know if I'll be taking us back. My concern is the lack of insight into the mistakes committed by ECK. The whole problem started with the ECK even after the smooth running of the elections in the grassroots - polling stations. The inflated figures were obviously the work of some corrupt ECK officials. Who are these people? Why do we seem to be forgetting all about them? Isn't that the origin of the whole mess? Shouldn't these people be taken to court and prosecuted? Where is the anti-corruption authority? We saw some ECK officials speaking out on what was going on at ECK during the tallying process, so witnesses are there. Kivuitu, whom I fail to understand his TOR, have confessed to have been put under pressure, by whom? Shouldn't we get him in the dock explaining to Kenya who the master minders of the whole fiasco were?
Sorry, I am already thinking loudly, but perhaps, we will never get to know the truth.
Kenyans went to polls, some very early; Election officials in polling stations did their work – in some cases excellently. Results were witnessed by agents from the then contesting parties and approved. Results arrive in Nairobi and somebody went into the orgy of impregnating figures wildly. The rest we know, we don’t have to think about it because we see and tears keep streaming from our eyes. Now people have been left homeless, hungry, angry and helpless. Where are these guilty ECK officials? Happy now?

Anonymous said...

why the fascination with democracy? sheik al-maktoum in dubai and lee kuan yew in singapore definately didn't think it important to be democratic,merely to have enough [money] to make and execute personal decisions.
the problem is, where will we get leaders of that calibre? definately not from parliament.

coming back to earth,the presidential and parliamentary elections should be seperated.with the parliamentary polls being managed as those of the US congress,where there's always someone making laws even as a third go to the polls.

JohnofScribbleSheet said...

Thats a really good idea. But its unlikely Kibaki's supporters will agree to it without undue pressure.

Clearly the ECK is responsible for a lot. They cannot officiate an election again. They should be disbanded.

cynic said...

Anon @ 12:04 I agree completely, we in seem in Kenya to have mistaken democracy with economic development. A quick look at most of the countries that have become middle income or developed countries in the past 40-50 years, one will notice they were in many cases less democratic than Kenya.
Our tribal based politics exist purely as mechanism for extracting money from the treasury. There is very little discussion of putting money there in the first place. This talk about dividing up the national cake is laughable because we have to bake it first. We are not Nigeria or Angola where all the government has to do is dig a hole in the ground to get money. We are going to have to do it the hard way in Kenya.
While we have been obsessed in the past 15 years with elections, ethnic cleansing, vote rigging, MOUs, something for nothing politics; look at what Dubai has achieved without “democracy”.
http://blog.miragestudio7.com/wp-content/uploads2/2007/07/dubai_changes_rapid_comparison_growth_now_then_back.jpg
What rights are more important property rights or voting rights? When folks have no economic stake in the system they run amok and do the things we saw in Kisumu with the looting. The problem with our democracy is that it assumes that because the head of government or a public institution is from my tribe I benefit economically. This would not be further from the truth. The only person that benefits is the Tribal chief.

kunde said...

@ cynic and anon 12:04 - if what you are telling us works for Kenya, Kenyatta and Moi would have accomplished it. We all know how they did.

Anonymous said...

Parliament does not have that mandate. If it had that mandate the dynamics of parliamentary elections would be very different. One reason there are referendums is to address issues that require national opinion but for which the parliament is not mandated to represent. The only option is another election.

Anonymous said...

kunde,

Both Moi and Kenyatta focused on tribal politics as opposed to economic development.

Anonymous said...

What stalemate? There is only one man in statehouse as far as I can tell and that is the president of Kenya - Mwai Kibaki.

Anonymous said...

I think a real shift in the political players could really benifit us. Get away from the old boys, who have clear links to different groups. We have a lot of good talent in this country, with modern educations, so why not bring them in? Get rid of the two mzee and put Banks into Statehouse! A shift in the players and generations could really help.

One comment on the parliment electing a president. It would make parties stronger and reduce the jumping of MPs to the highest bidder, as there would be more at stake and longer memories. Parties based more on ideals of how to govern might see a few changes around here...

Anonymous said...

sounda like a nice idea.........to avoid the race to be too crowded and make the win easier lets just do a rerun: raila and kibaki.... no secret ballot, we have to know who is thinking what and who are the greedy ones who will switch because they know the other side will win.

bankelele said...

In response to several of the anon comments,
(i) This proposal is a one-time only solution to resolve the current stalemate. The next elections of 2008 or 2012 should be handled by a new electoral commission - with all Kenyans voting for president.
(ii) I am opposed to staggered elections, or separating parliamentary from presidential. Our history of mini-elections show that the government side (whether KANU, NARC, ODM, PNU) always has the upper hand as they target & shower the constituencies with goodies. Better the current one day model where each candidate fights for themselves and little chance of outside assistance

Silaha: Only this time, future elections should be decided by the people.

Toiyoi: I am opposed to any sort of military intervention. Even if MP's get a billion, they vote in secret ballot, and they will vote as they wish.

MainaT: the 2.5 year solution will guarantee the country remain on hold for 2.5 years as we wonder if the agreement will hold. We need a decisive leader by March 2008

Kips: agreed, some anti-corruption investigation should be done at ECK. On results day, columnist Mutahi Ngunyi even called some of the actions there as 'treasonable'.
So far Maina Kiai has been the most vocal on what happened went wrong at the ECK - commissioners in charge of home area, the use of temporary staff to do the counting, then there's the EU report

JohnofScribbleSheet: Unlikely, they will agree, but someone should float the idea to them.

Cynic: our democratic model has served us well, but the vote counting was corrupt.

Anonymous said...

I respectfully disagee with all your solutions as they implicitly reward the use of violence as a political bargaining tool.

You loose an election start a cmapaign of violence and mass murder and negotiate yourself a position at the high table.

Election law is clear that those unsatisfied with the process need to go to court.

ODM also has the numbers in parliament and can file a vote of no confidence and bring about a new election quite legally if they wish to. They have instead resorted to violence and mass murder as their weapon of choice and should not be appeased.

The acts of mass murder in Kenya are not new and take place only because they are tolerated. The purpetrators are never prosecuted; they have in the past appropriated the land and property of those they illegally expel.

The crimmes have been extremely gruesome and have included rape and sodomizing of women and small boys.

In 1992 and 1997 Moi and his securocrats planned and executed mass killings, arson and displacement of Kikuyu peasants in the Rift Valley using Kalenjin and Masai youth sheltered by the security forces. Over 1000 people died and more than a million were displaced and lost in excess of $2Billion in terms of property and land, yet incredibly not a single person was proesecuted. The story being that they voted for Kibaki or Matiba.

Moi's ministers for example ole Ntimama made very public and inflamatory incitement against the Kikuyu peasants who they found vulnerable as rural minorities and could be bullied.

Moi socialised his tribesmen that it was OK to bully and kill vulnerable Kikuyu peasants, rob them and eject them from their land as long as it was around election time. The crime was renamed "land clashed" and "political violence" to mask the simple fact that it was pure and simple genocide. The present violence has nothing to do with elections but is simply an expression of entitlement developed during the 24 years that Moi was president.

The matter of the disputed election as well as the genocide need to be dealt with as distinct and separate matters with the latter being more urgent and important as the right of life is infinately more important than democratic freedoms.

Raila Odinga publicly told a crowd in Kisumu, during thier funeral service less than a week ago, that they should not kill and expel Kisii people from kisumu because the Kisii voted for ODM except "the election was rigged". The truth is that the Kisii actually voted for all parties including ODM and PNU. What Raila was in effect saying was that it was okay to kill those who did not vote for ODM and/or chase them from Kisumu as well as destroy their property. This was in public and reported by the print and electronic media. I do not think any further evidence would be required in a genociide tribunal esspecially taking into account that most of those who were attacked claimed that thier attackers were annoyed about their voting for kibaki and PNU.

The pholosophy set up by Moi wereby violence and genocide have been used as political tools will only end if this genocide is dealt with and all perpetrators are made accountable.

Moi needs to head the list of those to be put on trial unless he is somehow able to explain why he did nothing as president to prevent mass murder and why he tolerated inflamatory incitement from members of his cabinet.

A civil suit on behalf of the victims of recent violence against ODM and all its leaders is urgently required. The leaders of ODM needs to include the so called pentagon, all its MPs, councillors, all its candidates in the recent elections and any one who perticipated in their primary election, all officials at the secretariat etc etc about 15,000 people.

This is in my opinion legally justifiable as ODM has clearly demonstrated that violence against people and destruction of property to further political aims is part of their methodology and anyone who actively belongs to such a body in a leadership capacity is answerable.

Such a suit can be filed in a local court in Kenya without to much delay.

Damages would be in the tune of $5billion and would render the lot bankrupt for life, end their political careers and pass an important message that violence and genocide are NOT viable political tools.

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