Kenya Constitution vs Tyranny of numbers

19 03 2013

Kenya passed a constitution in August 2010 which was widely rated as progressive. Among the changes introduced by the new law, is the requirement for a 50% plus one vote threshold for any candidate in a presidential contest to be declared winner. In the previous constitution, one just needed to garner a simple majority. In the new law, when none of the candidates gets the threshold of more than half of all votes cast, then a second round of voting must be conducted, whereby the winner is the candidate who gets the most votes. In Kenya, there are over 42 ethnic groups/tribes, with varying numerical strengths. Kenyans have over time voted according to ethnic affiliation. With the requirement of 50%+one vote, it is imperative that the politician with the backing of the most populous tribes will always carry the victory home. The most populous tribes are gikuyu, abaluhya, kalenjin, dholuo, in that order, as others follow. Do you think Kenya will ever have a president coming from outside these ethnic formations? Will Kenyans ever wake up to realize that it is they that suffer from this narrow kind of politics? Kindly have your say.




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