Political Party Institutionalization: Why Kenya is getting it all wrong!

“No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent” – Abraham Lincoln.


In the 1800s, America was looking West to expand both her territory and opportunities. And in her arrangement, was North who were majorly Whigs and the South who were the Slave owning Democrats. Expanding West meant that the Southerners could have more land for growing cotton, and this only meant that slave trade was to be expanded. On the other hand, the Northern Whigs were split between a group which was pro-slave trade and the other which was anti-slave trade.

The States joining America then, from the 1820 Missouri Compromise, categorized States as either free States, or Slave States– to maintain a balance of power between the North and South. But in 1854, as Kansas and Nebraska sought admission into the Union, a crisis loomed as some members of these States were allowed to use popular sovereignty to determine the nature of their States, which was in direct violation of the Missouri compromise. Thus, violence erupted in Kansas between the pro-slave and anti-slave Americans. Bearing in mind that some compromises had already been made while California was seeking admittance into the Union.

It is at this moment that a group of anti-slave Whigs from the North met at Wisconsin to look at possibilities of forming a new Political Party that will prevent the spread of Slavery into the Western territories. And in 1854, in Jackson, Michigan– a new Party came to life. The Republican Party- The Grand Old Party (GOP).

Now, the basis of this Party was to fight slavery, And in just one year of existence, a Republican had already been elected speaker of the Senate. In 1856, the Party made a stab at the Presidency but lost. But in 1860, they had their first President- Abraham Lincoln.

Lincon’s talking point was clear, that “No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.”

Christians were roped in into this party because they viewed that Anti-slavery was not just doing what was right, but also what was Godly. And more than 150 years later Republicans are still predominantly Christians- Those who today believe that God made Adam and Eve and not Adam and Steve!

So, in a nutshell, the Republican Party was formed from bottom up. And the people organized around an ideology which was “Free men, Free labor, Free soil, Godly deeds” As opposed to Democrats slavery and slave trade.

What then is the problem with Kenya’s approach on Party Institutionalization?

The Jubilee Party is soon to be officially launched under the guise of “institutionalizing” a party that will stand for an “ideology” and introduce issue based Politics for the unity of all Kenyans. Looking at the list of Political parties forming the Jubilee Party, it is only TNA that has ever declared that they subscribe to “Liberal Democracy” ideology. From URP going downwards, Kenyans have never known what they stand for.

In the opposition, it is only ODM that has ever declared that they subscribe to “Social Democracy”. From Wiper going downwards, Kenyans don’t know what they stand for.

So, it is safe to argue that if both TNA members and ODM members were US citizens actively engaged in Politics, they will most likely both be members of the Democratic Party.

That aside…..

A system of ideas and ideals which form the basis of a Society’s Economic and Political policies is what is referred to as an ideology. So, in the Kenyan context, an ideology should focus on the Economic, Social and Political challenges. For instance, an ideology should focus on ANTI-CORRUPTION. It should focus on UNEMPLOYMENT. It should focus on MARGINALIZATION- REPRESENTATION,EQUITY, EQUALITY, PATRIOTISM, UNITY.

These should be Kenya’s immediate ideals- irrespective of the academic names of list of Political ideologies. Because, if Kenyans were to concentrate on “liberal democracy” for instance, they will find themselves debating issues of atheism and LGBT- which are “non-issues”, at least at the moment. (And I’m sure even TNA that has declared subscription to Liberal Democracy will contradict itself on these issues)

Kenya’s real ideology is anchored on the Kenyan Constitution and Vision 2030. The ideals being Prudent leadership, Integrity, Equity and Equality, Patriotism, Representation, Unity, Devolution and Sharing of Resources.

Jubilee, which has been given the mandate to govern this Nation and to uphold the Country’s ideals, should simply unleash her score card on fair representation, Anti-corruption, Employment, Economic growth. These are the ideals that Kenya subscribes to. That’s the ideology that Kenyans know.

Putting together a number of Political parties to form one outfit in the name of upholding ideals yet the Government’s Cabinet and Parastatals neither meet the two-third gender threshold , nor the required ethnic representation. – While at the same time, the same members of Parliament forming this new outfit are the very ones not committed to ensuring fair gender representation in Parliament. This in itself is simply a mockery to Kenya’s ideals. –Let’s not even talk about corruption.

Just the same way, a number of individuals decided to organize around anti-slavery, free labor, God’s values and later women representation to form the Republican party, Kenya needs a group of brave men and women who will organize to uphold the Constitutions ideals to form an ISSUE BASED Political party/ parties and Systems.

The best Kenya can get out of the current Jubilee and CORD arrangements is not Institutionalized Political Parties, but Institutionalized Party SYSTEMS. Where you can talk of ONE or TWO dominant parties- irrespective of their ideals. This is not any different from the already existing TWO dominant Coalition arrangement, is it?

While as at the same time, the Republicans organized themselves from bottom up to uphold their ideals, Kenyans can ONLY realize an ideal oriented Politics the day the Citizens themselves agree to focus on Kenya’s ideals. The values as enshrined in the Constitution. – It is high time the Kenyan Citizenry stopped feigning ignorance.

The Politicians know too well that they are in a Market place, and when the buyers- who are the Citizens, want to buy mediocre, they will in turn sell to them mediocre!

Myself, as an independent who doesn’t subscribe to any current Political Party, but actively involved in Political Processes, hence submit, that the current Jubilee and CORD arrangements on bringing “issue” based Politics are purely their way of tactfully  initiating the 2017 Campaign rhetoric- nothing more, nothing less. There is NOWHERE in the World where a Government, with all the instruments of POWER, forms a new Political Party to fight corruption!- NOWHERE in the World where a Government, with all the instruments of POWER, forms a new Party to ensure fair representation!- NOWHERE in the World where a Government, with all the instruments of POWER, forms a new Political Party to ensure Government appointments are Constitutional!

So why then does the Jubilee Government insist on forming a Jubilee Party?  Believing that Jubilee Party is being formed to start an issue based Politics is being simplistic. Any serious Government- with all the instruments of Power, can achieve this without going back to forming a new outfit.

My thinking is that all these excitements are just for 2022 purposes. Boxing individuals together post 2017, and whoever wishes to leave, will thence leave as an individual- without a Party.











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