I must quickly warn that my ideation today might cause finger-clicking, head-shaking and cursing. Thus says the political heavens: The political honchos will laugh all the way to power should BBI pass. Thus, Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and other politicians who might be eyeing premier positions, including the prime minister position, will have to vie for MP.
The fact that our kingpins will have every good reason to start as MPs is a political relief. Assuming that the BBI copies, released in October 2020, haven’t undergone political transfiguration in the background, we will have the prime minister’s office should the BBI go through.
Courtesy of the BBI, precisely seven days after assuming office, the president will be required to appoint the premier. The BBI proposes that the premier will come from among the Members of Parliament. He will be the Leader of the majority party or a coalition of parties in the National Assembly.
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In my layman’s interpretation of this provision, to qualify to be prime minister one must first be an MP. In short, the prime minister will be the leader of the majority in Parliament.
However, the two deputy prime ministers will be picked from among the Cabinet ministers. As such, the kingpins must do their math on the table if they want to get hold of these prime political seats after 2022.
Since the launch of the 2010 Constitution, it has been hard for political kingpins post-election. There is no place for runners-ups and leaders of the minority are sourced from Parliament’s elected members. This forces the heavyweights to work through proxies. Sometimes, the brokers are disloyal and sell them out, triggering members’ sacking in the party’s leadership.
Moreover, the 2010 Constitution’s rigidity makes the kingpins broke, vulnerable and politically malleable. Since the bigwigs lose touch with the people, they lead while outside politics, they are easily deflated to beggars’ positions.
We have seen them rely on well-wishers to finance the running of their parties. Sometimes they fund-raise through pay bill numbers to enable the smooth running of their politics.
Moreover, the political honchos suffer shame if they want to vie for lower positions since the 2010 Constitution does not allow them to try various positions simultaneously.
In the previous constitution, they could comfortably contest for parliament seat, as the entry cadre to more senior positions such as the vice presidency, ministerial positions, and leader of minority for the runners up. The 2010 Constitution has denied them this political luxury.
Moreover, the 2010 Constitution placed a high firewall for the kingpins if they lose elections; our brothers and sisters have suffered political cold. That is why they must support BBI. The kingpins such as Kalonzo, Raila, Mudavadi and Wetangula have suffered. Their wailings have been heard, and BBI comes as biblical Moses to get them out of the ‘pharaoh’ stranglehold that they created. The BBI will thus redefine and return the river to its course.
Apart from Raila who has devised ways of sailing through turmoils, the rest have agonised political depreciation. Kalonzo has, for instance, been abandoned by his own; he has suffered humiliation especially from lowly politicians such as Johnson Muthama, governor Alfred Mutua, sometimes Kaluki Ngilu and even ‘small league’ politicians like MCAs.
This time around, he will be lucky if BBI passes because he can vie as MP without feeling debased or suffering from such a stigma.
The same shock has rocked Wetangula; he was almost ousted from the party that he leads. He has had his fair share of chagrin.
BBI allows him to vie for MP without the false feeling of demotion—he will either go for it or get assured that he will be appointed Cabinet Minister, thus having the potential to be deputy premier.
To conclude, the politics that goes round comes round. We are likely to go back to where we started—whether the BBI goes through or not, the conversation on the constitutional amendment will endure. Political honchos must come back to power!
Dr Ndonye is a political economist of Media and Communication