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Just how many presidents do we need?

By Peter Nguli | September 6th 2012

By Peter Nguli
With just about seven months to go, Kenya's presidential candidates are increasing in number. The number of political parties is growing faster than the wildebeest migration in Maasai Mara. What irks most is that the names of some of these political parties are so complicated that even my grandmother can never pronounce their initials, yet she is so eager to vote.

I was counting the number of those who want to occupy the house on the hill come 2013. At minimum I got a minimum of ten. Am still counting and am sure they are more than that. While it is their democratic right, it is interesting to note that some are just known within their villages; they have never bothered to criss-cross the country and get themselves known. If an election were to be called today, I guess some will only be voted by their wives, their mothers and their siblings.

What is even more intriguing is that some have severe criminal backgrounds. Majority have corruption background. Others cannot even speak clear English. And others have their supporters in parliament who have been mentioned in drug-trafficking.

Just how do these presidential candidates take us for a ride? Do they think that Kenyans cannot think? Or are they playing about with our minds? How do you vote for someone who has been implicated as a mastermind of tribal clashes, with blood in his hands? How do you vote for someone who is or whose fellow friends include members of parliament implicated in drug-trafficking, Anglo-leasing scandals, Goldenberg, maize scandals, cemetery scandals and land-grabbing? Which sober Kenyan will elect a president whose area of specialization is providing funds for making bows and arrows, machetes and rungus to kill people, even by burning them alive in a church?

I fail to understand why some are still running for presidency, yet opinion polls cannot even put them above one percent of national votes cast. We all know that the constitution demands that any winning president must gather 51% or more of the votes cast. So why do you run for presidency slot yet you are not known beyond your village? I guess some are just spoiling votes for others or aiming to be chosen as running mates of their masters.

Kenya is well known to vote on tribal inclinations. So the only two leading contestants will go for a run-off. That means out of possible ten, the remaining eight will merge to one of the two leading candidates. So why are some of these presidential candidates raising a lot of money yet they very well know that they will never win? Are they misusing the opportunity to raise money for themselves? Is running for presidency becoming a form of business to raise money for retirement for our desperate MPs? Majority of candidates are raising over twenty million shillings in their 'plate' dinners. That is fine. But what happens to this money, what happens if someone does not win? Where does the money go?

In western countries, there are at least three major parties in any country. It is the time Kenya started to think of amending the constitution in order to make sure that presidential candidates in Kenya do not take advantage of their democratic rights to run for presidency in order to raise funds for their time in retirement or to start new businesses after losing in the elections. In my view, presidential elections are becoming a booming business and a thriving multi-million industry worth of taxation.

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