KENYANS are moving away from bloc voting

Editor, Kelvin Odoobo’s article on the Kenya tribal electoral politics (Kenya’s Tribal Equations in the search for a new constitution) made for interesting reading but he failed to put into perspective five important factors:

Editor,

Kelvin Odoobo’s article on the Kenya tribal electoral politics (Kenya’s Tribal Equations in the search for a new constitution) made for interesting reading but he failed to put into perspective five important factors:

The influential Kenyan Diaspora: Old politicians cultivated voting majorities by playing on the biological affiliations of “back home”. However this predictably reliable audience has changed as more Kenyans migrate to various parts of the country and the world.

Therefore it has become increasingly harder for politicians to control the “market composition” in their own constituencies.

Cross-tribal alliances among younger Kenyans, who now form the voting majority, is another reason. The moderating power of “mixed”

Kenyans will certainly grow and produce positive results in future elections.

Mutuma Mathiu wrote a powerful article two years ago in the Daily Nation entitled “Tribe of the Marquee” where he observed that urban migrants are recognizing that the most practical affiliation is the neighbor next-door.

This phenomenon has created layers of “new tribes” that will have a larger impact on national issues.

The old boys and girls network is no longer relevant: The primary purpose of holding democratic elections is to allow a nation to gain new blood and new ideas.

New blood certainly does not mean replacing Moi with the Kibaki or with the Raila, Uhuru, the Kalonzo, the Karua, Saitoti and Maringa.  These folks are all children of the same mindset and style of governance.  New wine must have new wineskins.

Therefore the under-thirty (30 years) Kenyans must now seek better leadership.

Kenyans need to remember the negative results of Mobutu’s game- where folks became so busy protecting their tribal enclaves that they cannibalized their national assets. When war broke out in 1995 the nation quickly crumbled like a pack of cards.

Margaret Maringa

Margaret.Maringa@carefirst.com

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