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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

One-Term President... a solution to Kenya's political crisis?

We should limit Kenyan Presidential terms to ONE TERM... yes... perhaps the term might be a little longer...

Proposal: A 7-year term that enables the incumbent to concentrate on Kenya & Kenyans. Not on his/her re-election bid & political power games!

  • Fairly good presidents can get sucked into bad political schemes that tarnish even otherwise decent presidents e.g. Kibz, who seems to have done a fairly decent economic job, has re-appointed most of the ministers tainted by anglo-fleecing!!! Perhaps this is a result of the desire to bring in votes from various tribes... fronted by these politicians?
  • Politicking by incumbents wastes time & money e.g. Most of 2007 has/will be spent politicking by kibz especially if he wants to stand for re-election.
  • Limiting the term to 7 years will encourage presidents to leave (good) legacies. They could remain out of the pig-sty since, well, they are already at the top of the dog-pile!!!
  • A one-term president has greater immunity (or a thicker skin) to political kingmakers & manipulators.
Fears or Concerns:
  • There is the fear that some presidents will rig the elections to elect their proteges but this is no different from the current suituation e.g. Nigeria's Obasanjo favouring Yar'Adua.
  • No fear of not being (re)elected provides a sense of hubris but the parliament retains the power to impeach.
  • If the president dies or resigns without completing his term, they can be replaced by the Vice-President pending new elections &/or some mechanism of succession. We can use the USA model where the VP becomes the prez for the remainder of the term. An alternate is to have pre-set limits depending on when the transfer of power takes place.
  • We might lose a competent president who we want to run again but there are many smart competent Kenyans. We need new blood, new ideas & accountability.
  • Too many presidents on our payroll! But this is mitigated by fewer presidents serving a mere one term lasting 5 years! Hopefully, some of these presidents will take up international roles e.g. UN appointments, etc. Kenya should lobby for these positions on condition the presidents so appointed/elected to these bodies "give" up their GOK salaries/pensions for the term of employment with the UN, etc.
I hope we enact a one-term model that enables "better" presidencies. As the saying goes...
Politicians are like nappies, they need to be changed often or they start stinking.


MainaT said...

A good idea but i fear if he/she was too popular (or as is currently the case was able to bribe a good enough number of wabunges), peeps would try to amend the constitution so he/she serves two terms then we end up with same guy for 14 yrs. Too long....

Odegle said...

i find nothing wrong with our presidents. they are only a magnified case of our (african) corruption, incompetence, tribalism . to change the kind of presidents we get we must change the kind of people we are. the things African presidents do are no different from the things our bosses do at their own local and lower levels. presidents aren't born , they are made from among us!

MainaT said...

Od, presidents do not equal leaders and that is where we are going wrong. Leaders as opposed to presidents take lead in creating change that allows society to move forward or change direction. Kagame in Rwanda, Lee Kuan in Singapore, in Gorbachev in Russia, Maggie Thatcher are all leaders who transcended societal norms to bring change. We suffer from a dearth of leaders.

Anonymous said...

Mr ColdTusker Sir,

My 2 cts worth, 3 years, 5 years, 7 years, does not make no difference as long as there are no IDEOLOGY Driven parties. lets stop looking at this mambo of 'president' and look at his party, what the party stands for and what what policies the party implements.
Ken T

coldtusker said...

MainaT - The term limits would be:
1) Constitutional.
2) Any change would require a "supermajority" e.g. 75% of parliament.
3) A Referendum requiring (at least) a 50% "yes" vote would be required.

So unless the jamaa was super-popular, in which case, he might deserve to return, it would be difficult to pull this off.

The US has a 2-term limit & no matter how popular a president, it is unlikely that the constitution would be amended for an individual.

Obasanjo tried but failed even after bribing numerous peeps!

coldtusker said...

OD - MainaT has given great examples esp Lee Kuan Yew of a "leader"... Of course, he is not a huge fan of democracy but he is one among many!!!

KenT - Parties are outgrowths of leaders. Ideologies can be very dangerous... well, so are personality cults...

Anonymous said...

great idea ..i think this is done in mexico and was also done in columbia.

having said that. i dont think kenya will have a new constitution anytime soon .. why? because either some groups dont wnat to loose privileges they have in the current constitution and other want the new constitution to give them privileges.

coldtusker said...

Mexico has one 6-year term for presidents. Colombia rescinded the term limit.

A 7-year term means fewer costly elections as well as putting most presidential elections out of sync with other elections thus redeucing political machinations between parties, politicians & presidential candidates.

Anonymous said...

ColdTusker Sir,

"Personality cults" is this not the bane of Third world politics and secondly its my belief that the term 'PARTY' needs to redefined in the Kenyan context. 7 year Presidential term is not workable our history proves it Kenyatta, Moi and what did we achieve? come on lets get real...and lets not use the excuse of poorly educated 'leaders' all these so called leaders have/ had advisers with a wealth of education.

Mr Odegle, I feel you...
The so called leaders are a true reflection of the people that elect them, so, I, a well educated, incompetent, greedy, tribalistic, narrow minded person with no vision will lead you into the future and will insist on a 7 year term (you must be crazy to elect me!!)

Ken. T

coldtusker said...

KenT: Only ONE 7-year term... not unlimited terms...

kenyatta died in office... moi had to be cajoled out of office...

Therefore NO re-election bids allowed...

Anonymous said...

Dear Cold Tusker Sir,
My personal view is still to abhor any form of personality cults, which do not in any way promote true political party ideology based politics...

And lets not delude ourselves into thinking that a seven year term will be effective even if written in the constitution. How may sub Saharan countries have amended their constitutions to accommodate the Man in power?? MainaT has already stated that.

All you are implying is to maintain the stats quo, before anyone gets touchy with my comment, PLEASE understand the basics first to put it simply, any changes in the constitution or any amendments through a referendum requires an very well informed electorate and not voter apathy.
Voter apathy and ignorance is what ails Kenya, the last referendum if scrutinized you will realize more than 80% had not read or understood what the hoopla was all about, we simply witnessed the ugly head of personality cults completely based on tribal lines. If one has really traveled outside Nairobi and truly observed what is happening you will realize how ignorant and poorly informed the common voter is as compared to the compatriot in Nairobi. A good test for those of you who will claim what I say if bull, talk to your poorly paid house boys/ girls/ Help and ask them to share with you their political views.

Seven year term, I think not…

Ken T

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