Five-year terms good enough for president

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei.  [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei has made a proposal to increase the term the president serves from five years to seven. That is within his right. 

In the gentleman’s mind a president needs to serve seven years for him or her to fulfill his manifesto. He further postulates that because five years is such a short time it has made the elections a do-or-die affair. The panacea to all this, according to him, is to add two more years and Kenyans will witness a revolution. 

Whereas that is his opinion, talk on extension of the presidential limit has been around for some time. Fafi MP Yakub Salah wanted the country to do away with the term limit so that one can vie as many times as they may want- his only caveat was an age limit for candidates which capped it at 75 years. 

In his thinking, why would the country want to limit someone who is delivering from contesting. The two leaders have stirred debate with their proposals with critics saying they want to entrench a president for life, a prospect many politicians would grab with both hands. We however feel the reasons given for such a push are flippant. 

The talk of extending the term is coming exactly one year after the current regime, which both leaders support, ascended to power. Kenyans are struggling to put food on the table which is a basic need. The Opposition has said the government’s performance in the last 12 months has been a disaster. 

In other democracies, presidents run for four years and are held to account by the electorate. In these countries, structures and political philosophies transcend personalities such that what a party stands for is what will guide its leaders.

If a leader needs seven years to find the right people to appoint to deliver a manifesto, then such a leader should not be trusted with the instruments of power. UDA has dissociated itself with the memorandum. 

Not only should the memorandum be ignored, the idea ought to be banished from debating halls or the bipartisan talks table. Let us entertain thoughts that will help us grow as a society.