8 December 2012

Kenya: Pre-Election Pacts Have Little to Do With the Welfare of Citizens

December 4 was the deadline for political parties to deposit their pre-election coalition pacts with the Registrar of political parties.

So far, Lucy Ndung'u, the Registrar of Political Parties has received five pacts. They bring together politicians hitherto known to subscribe to vastly diverse, as well as divergent ideologies.

Unlike in the past when political parties entered secret Memoranda of Understanding that were, most often than not, later dishonoured - culminating in political acrimony - this time round the Political Parties Act constrains parties to abide by their pre-election pacts. These pacts are legal documents that should be strictly adhered to. Kenyans will be watching to see how the issue of honouring these pacts unfolds.

But amidst the rash to concoct coalitions, the question that seems to have eluded the attention of many Kenyans is, what informs the establishment of these pacts?

To any keen observer the formation of these pacts has little to do with the welfare of Kenya and Kenyans but a lot to do with the political survival of politicians behind them.

All that one needs to do is look at the people coming together to form coalitions. Hardly a year ago, some of these people were sworn adversaries who could not see eye to eye. Their penchant for hurling insults at each other was in a league of its own.

One may argue that there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics. But when people who apparently held each other in the utmost contempt turn around and start singing each other's praises, it is obvious that they are actuated by their own selfish political interests.

The reform mantra they are now harping hardly makes sense. Some of them have been on the national stage for decades but can scarcely account for the positive outcomes of their long tenure in public office.

Kenyans should, however, come out and take these people to account. The time for empty promises is long gone and what we need are men and women who will put in place measures that will take this country into the league of middle income countries.

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