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Are political parties in Kenya mere vehicles to gain power?

COMMENTARY
By Yvonne Okwara | July 4th 2016

Political parties are undoubtedly supposed to be the pillars of the country’s political system. In the last week however, these key institutions of the country’s democracy have been in the news for only the wrong reasons. In ODM, the oldest parliament political party, outside KANU, some officials are unhappy and are choosing to settle their scores in the media.

The party’s vice chairperson, no less, announced his resignation at a political rally. The secretary general too is apparently considering quitting his post – and all this has been made known through the media.  

In TNA, the story has been about whether or not a nominated member of parliament can really speak for the party. Nominated senator Samuel Njoroge, was told be grateful for his nomination and not create what was seen as unnecessary fuss about the 2022 presidential race. 

All of this while the Registrar of Political Parties is yet to be vetted for her position since the law took effect in 2011.

It is not clear to anyone why, 6 years later, this crucial office remains the only one yet to be vetted under the new constitution. Does that mean this is just how the political parties like it? Why haven’t we seen any protest from them about this irregularity?

Parties have become somewhat of a big joke, not just because they don’t seem to pursue the concerns of the common citizen. Their very lifespans suggest they are nothing more than electoral machines that are quickly abandoned once they have done their job.

TNA came to the limelight less than a year to the 2013 election. It is now on the verge of oblivion with the formation of yet another one, Jubilee
Alliance Party, whose proponents have openly announced will be William
Ruto’s vehicle in 2022.

ODM was formed right after the 2005 referendum and is largely synonymous with its leader Raila Odinga.

PNU, the party that brought Mwai Kibaki to power is a pale shadow of itself.

And just where is NARC, the political juggernaut that ended KANU’s 40 year
dominance?

How different is JAP from TNA? What will it achieve that TNA has not? What is ODM’s promise for its supporters should it win the majority in 2017?

Please bear in mind that these entities are funded by you, the tax payer.

A political party is described the world over, as a group of people who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government. They then agree on some policies and programmes for the society with a view to promoting the collective good or to further their supporters' interests.

With the over 50 registered political parties in Kenya, how many speak to you and for you? That is the big question as yet another general election beckons. That is my take _ @YvonneOkwara

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