Independent candidates are an overrated, non-ideological, greedy lot

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By David Onjili

I am a proud member of a political party, which I joined on my own volition as a young Machiavellian mind in the year 2006 and not out of hot air and razzle-dazzle politics. It was one of the greatest moments of my life, to be affiliated to a political party. It still is my joy to date.

Kenyan politicians change their positions just like your ordinary wind vane, and this was confirmed when, to my utter dismay, one of the senior member of my party – who also happens to be the person that truly sold me (us) the ideals of my party – jumped ship due to the tribal and regional tendencies of Kenyan politics. Despite his departure, I remain in my party as a proud member, cognizant of the challenges (mainly underfunding by government and over reliance on individuals for financing) that political parties, mine included, face. In brief, I have subscribed to the ideals and policies that my party fronts. I may not love all of them but I am largely content by the agenda that my party and its leadership champion. I believe that institutions need to be strong and made to outlive individuals, and that members should hold the leaders to account within party structures.

Cases of parties having their blue-eyed boys is not new phenomenon; it is interesting that even our current president has himself changed political parties (KANU, TNA and currently Jubilee over his political life) not to mention other leaders of the opposition, like Raila Odinga. Kanu, the independence party, had to rebrand itself or risk the possibility of being extinct.

Others like ODM and Ford-Kenya have all had their challenges as well. In South Africa, The Africa National Congress (ANC) has faced one of the toughest revolts in its lifetime time. However, the solution has never been in folding the parties, but rather for the party organs and members to address the said challenges immediately, and to be careful not to lose touch and base with the citizenry.

What is, what works

Kenya is an episodic country, as once described by Senior Counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi. And the in-thing now is being an independent candidate. News and political talk shows are all analysing this phenomena like it is very new, yet I honestly think that their numbers will be insignificantly small to warrant the attention they receive. While I might have once entertained the idea of Nairobi County being governed by an independent as Governor, who could take a bi-partisan approach to the issues affecting the capital, the tokenism and bidding tendencies loved legislative assemblies make this an unattractive idea. Such a governor would find it very difficult to carry out his/her mandate, as s/he would be hostage of small-minded MCAs eager to ‘eat’ – our politics is about…

…to read more please purchase the Nairobi Law Monthly Magazine July 2017 Issue at only Kshs 350

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