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The political parties’ amendment act 2021 was passed a few weeks ago and assented to by President Uhuru Kenyatta, based on whichever side of the divide one was speaking from, the amendments were either progressive and best for the country or they were retrogressive and an attack to the constitution. Or what many like to say unconstitutional.

Members of the National Assembly engaged passionately in the debates and when reason failed, we saw some throw a few unprintable words here and there and others threw bottle water at each other while inviting their opponents for a fist fight. 

As this went on Kenyans were lost in the whole issues regarding the importance of the amendments or their lack of. An observer noted that that the passion displayed in that debate should be replicated to the debates concerning the cost of living, cost of healthcare, affordable education, creation of a conducive environment for investment and wealth creation.

The proponents of the amendments quipped that political parties needed to live up to their pre and post-election agreements with each other as they seek to win the election and form government. And that the country should not sit and wait for a political crisis, loss of lives and business to happen for them to come together to find a political solution. 
That now a coalition of parties can be registered separately as a party and their agreement enforceable by law. Mr Imbali, my business law lecturer taught us that one of the key essentials of contracts and agreements is that they must be enforceable by law.

Granted, the country has suffered or benefitted as a result of political deals that were either implemented or ignored by political parties that formed government and their owners. Since the merger between KANU and NDP to the NARC coalition, the Grand National Coalition Government, JUBILEE coalition and recently the handshake. 

Kenya has been trying to find a working political formula that can help her solve her political problems. Political stability is the most important ingredient towards the social and economic development of any country. Recently the registrar of political parties communicated that there are about 84 political parties in Kenya many Kenyans myself included cannot name ten of them. 

At the start of the clamor for multiparty in early 90s, we had less than 10 political parties. Every election cycle new ones come and old ones are rebranded. Media and marketing campaigns are engaged to show that this party is better than that one or this color is better and brighter. As the marketing continues critical issues such as capability of individual candidates, integrity, are lost.

Political parties in Kenya can and have the potential to give Kenyans leaders of Integrity, non-corrupt and individuals who will dignify Kenyan people, legislative and executive institutions. They can contribute towards the stabilization of the political environment in the country by seconding and nominating individuals who are dedicated, patriotic, respectful, diligent and informed. 

Political parties have a fiduciary duty and responsibility to ensure duty of care for the Kenyan people, by conducting due diligence on those seeking to vie on their tickets, and denying tickets to people with questionable issues and history of corruption and crime.

Recently we have seen a convergence of different parties on different issues of concern. Some have even been holding joint National Delegate Conventions. This is a welcome move, but more work needs to be done in the areas of fight against corruption, inefficiencies in government operations, sound policies and legislation to address inequality and resource distribution, inclusivity and underrepresentation. More needs to be done in the areas of agriculture and food security, climate change, affordable insurance and healthcare, water and sanitation, education and infrastructure.

Parties should not just work together because of the conveniences of winning an election, they should also work together in addressing many of the daily challenges Kenyans continue to face.

They must work together to present Kenyans with credible candidates who are patriotic to this country and not individuals whose track record of crimes both social and economic extends all the way to Timbuktu. They must ensure abundance of caution even when it will not be popular to do so.

Margaret Chance Smith, an American politician and a member of the republican party once said; “it is high time we stopped thinking politically as Republicans and Democrats about elections and started thinking PATRIOTICALLY as Americans...”

This year, in this election political parties are called upon to hold themselves to a set of high values and measure them against the dreams of our founding fathers and the hopes of our future generations. 

Kenyans must not just look at the parties and their colors, but must analyze the individual candidates in the political parties. We must not lose good leaders because of less popular Political parties and we must not choose bad leaders even if they hide in popular political parties.


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