The post-election debacle in Kenya has taken centre stage, diverting us from an instructive analysis of what exactly led to Kenyans voting the way they did, especially going by parliamentary elections.
One key influential factor in the run-up to the election was the new generation of Kenyans, seeking a decent society for themselves and a secure future for their children and grand-children. Two generational groups were very instrumental: MOPA and UMOJA PAMOJA.
Bringing together young, middle-class professionals at home and abroad, MOPA (Movement for Political Accountability) seeks to make politicians accountable to the electorate, the ordinary mwananchi. Self-financing and reporting to no power, local or foreign, MOPA came up with a charter, outlining major issues of interest to the citizens. Any candidate seeking election, once nominated, had to read, and sign the charter, as a commitment to accountability to the people, once elected.Refuse to sign and MOPA decampaigns you. This applied to all nominated candidates, regardless of political affiliation.
The next stage now is meeting the speaker of the new parliament and related organs, to make the provisions of the charter binding on the elected MPs. One key provision in the charter is the resignation of any MP who signed the charter but fails to fulfil his commitments!
I have attended two MOPA seminars.As people talk, you see a new Kenya being born. Forget the tribal talk that is dominating the post-rigging mayhem. MOPA is a totally new outfit, with a new vision,whose leadership and membership cuts across the tribal divide. They see their mission as creating a new Kenya, the wazee having messed up theirs. Indeed this is the message my friend, an executive of MOPA, told our former head of department, when the latter invited us to see his new pig farm, his retirement outfit.
As MOPA debated and argued in hotel conference rooms and live talk-shows, UMOJA PAMOJA was busy gatherings the 'sheng' generation, through songs and comedy kits in stadia and other open grounds. Led by singer Eric Wainaina and Comedian Njuguna, they delivered a similar message in the language palatable and appealing to the 'sheng' yankies. At the heart of their message was an appeal to the voters not to fall prey to bribery. ' Hi pesa ni yako, wakileta, kula, lakini mchague yule atajenga Kenya'
ran the message.
It was this, inter alia, that saw ministers and other 'vigogo' losing parliament seats. Even in the presidential, this accounted for the huge margin between Raila and Kibaki, prompting Kivuitu to kill an otherwise glorious career at the last minute!
Any lessons for Africa’s 'young turks'?