By Okech Kendo
Idealists claim there is no such a thing as negotiating democracy. To think of it, they say, is to manipulate the will of the majority to accommodate public perceptions.
Perception is everything for a political party posing as a future engine of governance. Managing public perception determines whether a party and a presidential candidate loses or wins.
Democracy, on the other hand, takes care of the minority, even as it respects the will of the majority. Since it is not possible to keep your ugali and eat, some concessions are necessary for the common good.
Any other way would be a losing strategy: Democracy could easily give you Embakasi MP, Ferdinard Waititu, as Governor of Nairobi County, Makadara MP Gideon Mbuvi as Nairobi County Senator, or former councillor Opete Opete of Kibera as Governor of Nairobi.
Democracy needs to be tempered with reason so that parties place individuals where their special ‘talents’ can best be exploited.
There seems to be no better way of serving clashing party, ethnic interests, while respecting the rights of individuals to seek offices of their choosing.
The National Alliance party, and the Orange Democratic Movement especially, should confront these issues in their nominations for various seats, especially in Nairobi County.
Raila Odinga, a Luo, and Uhuru Kenyatta, a Kikuyu, are targets because they are opinion pollsters’ front-runners in the presidential race. The two will win or lose the contest depending on how they manage public perceptions and negotiate democracy.
As the capital city, Nairobi is a miniature Kenya, with 42 or more communities seeking political representation. More, Kenya advances only if Nairobi works because it is the engine of the national economy. If you cloud Nairobi with ruffians and tribal allies then you flop the perception test.
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